Review: Everything Between Us, A Story of Love and Chaos by Stephen Hoppa

Ethan is confused about more than just his sexuality the night he wanders into a white-trash bar after breaking up with his fiance. When he's dragged outside the bar and beaten by leather-clad thugs, he's rescued by the last man he needs in his life.

 Raw, dominating, and dangerously unpredictable, this dark stranger won't even tell Ethan his name. The enigma only draws Ethan in more as he finds himself unable to resist this man or the power he holds over him. Secrets are slowly uncovered. The bond between the two men deepens as scars of the past reveal themselves. But Ethan finds he's learning more about himself than he ever imagined as a new word finds it's way onto his lips: submission.

 **This is a 65,000 word stand-alone novel which contains intensely intimate scenes between two men, and a happily ever after with no cliffhangers.**

The author describes this story as a “dark” romance, I agree and disagree. It’s definitely not your typical M/M romance, there is nothing cookie cutter happening here, but at the same time there are some very charming and humorous parts plus some real feelings that evolve throughout. So, “dark” in this case definitely does not mean typical pain and angst that can run rampant in romance, but the story is grittier and rougher than most.

I would liken reading Everything Between Us to getting sucked into a great Indie film. It’s kinda surreal and the what-the-fuckery is acceptable because it just felt like it belonged there. The initial meeting between Ethan and Restricted Caller (more on that in a mo) made little sense in the real world but at the same time set an interesting tone. I was thinking, we’ll this will be a ride, let’s see where I end up.

I went a lot of places with these guys and it was more than just the kinky escapades, these guys really do get off on each other, but it was also a lot of Ethan figuring his shit out. I found that really interesting. His life hasn’t really gone to hell, no major tragedies, but he’s floundering big time and he’s gotten to the “fuck it” stage that really only works when you’re young. He rode that Fuck It Dragon hard and went with everything that felt right in his gut when he met Restricted Caller. 

Restricted Caller is our other MC and he’s a big mystery through quite a chunk of the book. But I found myself figuring him out along with Ethan as RC started leaving little crumbs of clues as he wove his way into Ethan’s life. They ended up being oddly dependent on each other without ever actually defining what they were.

As the story progressed, these seeming opposites were more alike than it seemed on the surface and their differences were very complimentary. So much of the story revolved around identity, protecting it, sharing it and the value of giving yourself to someone else. Ethan just handed it all over to RC as he explored his submissive side and RC gave up nothing. The relationship evolves and Ethan discovers the value of what he’s giving away and RC gifts Ethan with more trust and more bits of his life.
“The word that described him perfectly was almost. The word that described me perfectly was more.” 
The kink was pretty delicious and had a taste of sweetness to it. It’s during these interludes that RC let his guard down and Ethan lost his filters. It wasn’t just sex, it was discovery about themselves and each other.
“You can’t stop thinking about me. I fucking love it.” 
---So it really was the beginning of love. Sweet, twisted, fucked up love. 
“I know you love it.” I kissed him back, breathing in heavy gasps against his lips. “I’ve got you all figured out, poor little rich boy.”
As I said, the journey these two went on was off the path from your typical MM fare and I liked that a lot. I love reading a story that surprises me and takes me somewhere completely different. The author doesn’t let you get away without an HEA and while it was a little conveniently wrapped up, I needed that at the end. I would have liked a little bit more of them as “grown ups” to reconcile who they became with who they had been but I was happy with more than just than being together, I was happy with the men they became. And the delicious dirty bits, can’t forget those.

For more information on Everything Between Us, check it out over on Goodreads.

The author has kindly sent a freebie to along, he warns it's a real heartbreaker, so be ready with a cocktail of choice and tissue. I'll also be happy to give you a hug when you're done. I'm an awesome hugger:

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

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