Tour: Riley Parks – Bleeding Like Me

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Title: Bleeding Like Me
Author: Riley Parks
Release Date: November 21st 2017
Genre: MM Contemporary Dark Romance
Published by: Boroughs Publishing

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BLURB

Being gay in their neighborhood is perilous. Being gay in a street gang is unheard of. Being gay and in love with a man in a rival gang is a death wish. Through drug addiction, brutality, and seemingly endless peril, they remain; finding stability within each other that shouldn’t exist in their volatile world.

BEAUTIFUL CONTRADICTION

He didn’t paint people; the curves of their bodies and angles of their faces never interested him as much as cityscapes. The circumstances of his life had compelled him to create new worlds that he could get lost in rather than reflect the features of the people he ran from. He constructed buildings from their foundations, making them taller and stronger than he was. He adorned the edifices with countless windows, always left open or cracked so hope could pour in and fears could seep out. Tree lined streets reminded him how to breathe, pumping oxygen through the atmosphere, off the canvas, and into his lungs.

He didn’t paint people until the day he no longer desired the anonymity of his cities. The streets didn’t feel like his escape anymore, not like him. Cerulean skies gave way to pale blue eyes and bus routes to pink pouts. Evan didn’t paint people until he painted Jackson.

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EXCERPT

He’d never been to Humboldt Park before, but he heard it had a pretty good scene. When he was unaffiliated, he could get away with going to the gay spots on the South Side, but now that he was with the KKz, he had to be more careful. He disembarked and walked the short distance to the big rock where guys supposedly met. Sitting down on a bench, he pulled out a cigarette he had bummed off Luis and watched as a couple of queens made a connection and disappeared into the wooded area a few feet behind the boulder. He let the filter rest between his lips as he leaned back to stare up at the moon. It was a waxing crescent that barely glowed against the black expanse of the sky, making the already poorly lit park even darker.

He peered down at a man who took a seat on the bench next to him. They sat quietly, Evan’s head still thrown back and the guy smoking his cigarette as if he hadn’t just propositioned him.

“Nice night,” Evan threw out as if he was telling the moon rather than the guy beside him.

“Are you looking to chitchat or are you trying to fuck?” When Evan finally dropped his head, he noticed that the guy was peering at him with raised eyebrows. They stared for a moment, and without a doubt, a spark arced between them.

“Depends what you’re into I guess,” Evan replied, noticing that the man had a perfectly plump pout. He wanted to see what those lips looked like wrapped around his cock. “I’m not going to bend over.”

“Wouldn’t want you to,” the guy replied with a sniff, blue eyes dropping to momentarily study the grass before returning to Evan’s.

“That right?” he questioned, moderately surprised. Mr. Ready To Hook Up seemed to be tough as fuck, with his sleeve tattoos and muscular biceps that were perfectly displayed in his gray sleeveless shirt. Evan knew it was a stereotype that men who exclusively took cock were soft, but in his experience, more often than not, they had been. He’d fucked a variety of guys, and there was always some negotiating between him and a dude who was versatile. This hot motherfucker was clearly a power bottom, a fact that had Evan’s cock standing up to take notice.

“Need me to spell it out for you, Daywalker?” he huffed, eyebrows raised in challenge.

Evan shook his head and self-consciously ran his fingers through his red hair. “So you want to go—” he began.

The guy interrupted by saying, “Show me what you got.”

Without wasting another second, Evan tossed his cigarette to the ground and unzipped the fly of his jeans, arching his back enough to shimmy them, along with his boxer briefs, down his thighs so his hard cock could spring out. Instinctively, he moved a hand down to the shaft and started to pump it.

Blue eyes observed every stroke as full lips smacked subconsciously. “Yeah, I want to fuck,” the guy stated, seemingly impressed by what Evan was working with. Wordlessly, the hot-as-shit motherfucker stood up and started walking, leaving Evan scrambling to get his pants up so he could follow.

Review by Natalie:  This was a promising debut novel from this author, an enemies to lovers story with just a hint of “West Side Story”. Two rival gang members in Chicago unknowingly meet on the other sign of town, looking for fast, clandestine sex. No one can be found out as gay and stay alive in the gangs. Jackson has been in his gang for years, moving up in the hierarchy to distributor for street dealers. Evan has just joined after living on the streets for years and he’s also a coke addict. It’s a fairly gritty narrative, describing what’s required to obtain a place in the gangs, with depictions of stealing, killing and a lot of drug use. It certainly sounded and felt authentic in that respect. There was decent character building, dual POV’s and the setting created the right mood and atmosphere for most of the story.

There were a number of things that just hit the wrong notes to really draw me into the novel or the characters as a couple. Supposedly they “had eyes on them”, preventing them from leaving the gangs, yet Evan going to Jackson’s apartment every night for months was never noticed. There was building tension but not much payoff, with too much going too easily. There was some good internal dialogue from each of them but not enough to feel the love growing, mostly just sex and dirty talk, which started hot, but became tedious after the third or fourth time. When the story finally reaches a major crisis point, it has little direct impact after the fact, and no follow-up. The narrative seemed to lose some direction from there, winding down a little too gently to a soft landing and I wanted more catharsis. It simply didn’t match up well with what had gone before. I would read this author again, as the writing was quite good overall and had the potential to become more than it was. I’d still recommend it, as it was entertaining and comes with an HEA for an unlikely romantic duo.

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About the Author

RileyParksAuthorPhoto

Riley has always loved to write, believing that life has the possibility to be its most beautiful when it’s portrayed on the pages of a book. Feeling the need to create and liberate in the midst of the political landscape, Riley writes novels that focus on LGBTQ protagonists, wanting to honor a community that deserves better representation depicting lives, loves and triumphs in all facets of fiction.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for featuring the tour xx

  2. Pingback: #Tour : BLEEDING LIKE ME by RILEY PARKS Week 2 Round-Up #giveaway | Embrace the Rainbow Promotions

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