Author: Ally Blue
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
[xrr rating= 4/5]
Nat Horn is almost living the dream. His part as a werewolf extra on the hit show Wolf’s Landing has somehow turned into a regular role. Beautiful rising star Solari Praveen has taken an interest in him. He’s even making enough money to think about getting out of Bluewater Bay someday. Except his retired dad’s dependence on pain medications seems to be getting worse, and Nat’s the only one around to take care of him.
When Nat learns that Solari’s interest isn’t romantic, his disappointment is surprisingly short-lived, because in getting to know her, he also got to know her assistant, Rafael. And Rafael turns out to be the kind of friend—and potential boyfriend—Nat never dared to dream about.
Distracted by his astonishing new life, new friends, and new possibilities, Nat lets his guard down, and suddenly his life goes careening out of control. Racked by guilt, he tries to push his new friends away, but the bonds he’s formed are already too strong. In fact, they’re strong enough to pull him forward, into the future he’s been longing for—but to get there, he’ll have to let go of the past.
I was very pleasantly surprised with my first story from this author. Set in the world of Bluewater Bay, Washington, this is another winner from Riptide Publishing. The series has been amazing in the variety of stories produced by a multitude of talented authors, and I highly recommend them all.
Nat Horn has finally found a job that allows him to keep food on the table and a roof over the head of his disabled father. A werewolf extra for the highly popular series, Wolf’s Landing, Nat’s joy in having a bit part that earns him money is exceeded only by his crush on Solari Praveen, the tiny, dynamic female lead. But when he gets a chance to finally go out with her, he’s stunned that they become immediate friends, and he no longer desires her romantically. In fact, within a few days, it’s evident that he desires Rafael Cortez, her personal assistant and would-be director, much more than he ever did with Solari.
Rafael is working as PA to both Solari and Carter Samuels, but it’s director Anna Maxwell that he’s most hoping to impress. He’s directed a few, short, independent films and is currently raising Kickstart funds for a new film. When he convinces Anna to allow him to shadow her, and he gets Nat to agree to star in his new film, he feels like his dreams are coming true. But Nat is hiding secrets, and his dreams are more of the nightmare variety. Pushed and pulled between his job and caring for his now prescription-drug-addicted dad, Nat despairs of ever having a happily ever after of his own.
This story delved deeply into the psychology of being the sole financial and emotional support of a dependent parent, one who gives voice to accepting his son’s bisexuality—but only theoretically. His physical and mental state are poor, but the man fights to maintain his pride at all costs, and the author sensitively portrayed both his and Nat’s struggles with their issues.
Raf was a beautiful person, inside and out, but when he fell in love with Nat, it was definitely for better or worse. His support and love were so heartwarming and sweet that he inspired hope where it would otherwise have felt hopeless, and his presence and support for Nat kept the story from bogging down in Nat’s anger, sorrow, and grief.
I’m so happy I read this one and definitely recommend it to all lovers of MM romance. And if you love a little angst mixed in with your romance, by all means, don’t miss out on this one.