Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lie the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.
The cover of the first book in this series (In The Middle of Somewhere) drew me in and on reading I found a debut novel that I really enjoyed, so when the opportunity to review the second book came up I jumped at the chance. I am so, so glad I did. I think I actually enjoyed this book more than the first one.
Set in a timeline concurrent to the first novel, Out of Nowhere, could be read as a standalone. Colin is the brother of Daniel from the first book and while the two characters appear in each others storyline briefly it is not imperative at all to understanding the story. If you have read the other book however, it gives insight to events from two different perspectives. This I really enjoyed, and it served as a reminder that how we view things is not necessarily how others view things.
This story is about Colin (a character not to be loved in book 1) and Rafael. Colin, on the surface, is not a nice bloke - but his own worst enemy is himself. His actions are governed by a fear of who he really is. Does it always justify hos actions? No, not necessarily. He is hot headed, prone to fits of temper and pretty unaccepting. At least on the surface. He doesn't know how to reconcile the "two" parts of him; the tough, no bullshit mechanic and "the gay".
At times I was so angry with him, I wanted to shout just be you, don't hide. At other times though I felt insanely sad that he was so uncomfortable in his own skin as it is only because of the judgement of others that he felt he couldn't be true to himself. And frankly, that's bloody sad. Colin didn't change from the person he's always been once others found out he was gay but how others reacted to him did. Which really freaking pissed me off because why does someone's sexuality make an iota of difference to anyone else? It doesn't, Colin is Colin is Colin. And people have to deal with this crap - and so much worse - everyday. Okay, maybe writing a review at 4am after waking from a nightmare isn't the best idea, I get ragey.
Rafael was, on the surface, the opposite to Colin in many ways. Even tempered, he lives to help queer youths, to have a place where they can learn life skills without any judgment on who they are or who they are attracted to. It is only as the story goes on we see this as his way of redeeming a past he is not proud of. When he engages Colin to come and share his mechanic knowledge with the kids. it really is the start of a journey for them both.
I think the attraction of this story is being able to understand life from different perspectives, to be reminded that life is not black and white, and assumptions can be very harmful. Roan Parrish writes very engagingly, with a storyline and characters what are engaging and page turning. I cannot wait to read more from this author.
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