Release Day Review: Hanging The Stars (Half Moon Bay #2) by Rhys Ford

Angel Daniels grew up hard, one step ahead of the law and always looking over his shoulder. A grifter’s son, he’d learned every con and trick in the book but ached for a normal life. Once out on his own, Angel returns to Half Moon Bay where he once found…and then lost…love.

Now, Angel’s life is a frantic mess of schedules and chaos. Between running his bakery and raising his troubled eleven-year-old half-brother, Roman, Angel has a hectic but happy life. Then West Harris returns to Half Moon Bay and threatens to break Angel all over again by taking away the only home he and Rome ever had.

When they were young, Angel taught West how to love and laugh but when Angel moved on, West locked his heart up and threw away the key. Older and hardened, West returns to Half Moon and finds himself face-to-face with the man he’d lost. Now, West is torn between killing Angel or holding him tight.

But rekindling their passionate relationship is jeopardized as someone wants one or both of them dead, and as the terrifying danger mounts, neither man knows if the menace will bring them together or forever tear them apart.

I’ve been waiting for this story for what seems like forever!  Ever since it was hinted in Fish Stick Fridays that West’s story was next I’ve been on tenterhooks.  I just knew it was going to be great!  And I was sooo right.  From the moment I opened to the first page I was caught up in the storytelling.  Rhys dug her claws in and did not let go until the very end.    

I fell in love with Angel almost immediately.  He’s worked so hard to keep his business, the Pizza Shack Bakery, afloat whilst taking care of his 11-year-old brother Roman who was foisted on him by their father a couple of years ago, plus managing the motel next door.  He works night and day, plodding along, just trying to keep ends met.  On top of all that he’s having to deal with some big company trying to get him to sell everything so they can tear it down to make way for some high dollar condos.  He’s so tired, just run ragged by life in general.  So, it’s no wonder that when some moron comes barreling into the bakery kitchen brandishing a gun that he gets a little unhinged.

“Are you going to get on with the shooting me?  Cause if you are, do it soon, because this is getting kind of heavy.”

Poor thing is so exhausted I wanted to lead him into a dark room, wrap him up in a soft blanket and just let him take a nap.  He just can’t get a break.  

Now West… West surprised me.  He wasn’t anything like I expected.  When I met him in Fish Stick Fridays I disliked him immediately.  Frankly, I thought he was a complete douche.  But, I have total faith in Rhys Ford as a writer so I was eager to see how she would redeem him.  He was still a douche when introduced into this story but as I got further into the story I began to see the caring, compassionate man hiding underneath all that pomp and circumstance.  For most of his life West kept everyone, even his own twin brother, at arms-length, never letting anyone in close enough to see himself truly.  That was, until Zig came along.  Oh, West has such a soft spot for his niece!  It was so heartwarming to watch as he interacted with her.  

For all the distance he’d wanted to put between himself and Lang’s new family, West simply couldn’t walk away from the little girl who dreamed of ruling the world but still hid tins of food under a pile of stuffed animals just in case her world fell apart… again.

This was a fast-paced adventure riddled with murder, mystery, humor and romance.  It was a book about second chances, not just in love but in family and life in general.  I started reading this two days before the election and being able to get lost in this story and forget about all the insanity for a little while really helped me get through the horror that was going on in real life.

Speaking of horror, this book has the vilest, most despicable villain I’ve read about in a while.  I’m trying to think of a good word to describe how I felt about the villain and what comes to mind the most is appalled.  Disgusted.  This character was absolutely revolting!  I could barely believe what I was reading.  To think that there really are people out there in the world who are like this is truly terrifying.

Once again, Rhys Ford has hit it out of the ballpark.  The writing was, as per usual, exemplary and every character, even the secondary and tertiary ones, were just full of life and, well, character.  My only issue was with the ending.  I needed just a little bit more out of the climax of the story.  I wanted to see what happened next but when I turned the page it wasn’t there.  Yes, it was explained in the epilogue and that was good but I wanted to see it.  Everything else about this story was pretty much perfect.  This was an intense ride and I can’t wait to see what Rhys does next!

Find it at Dreamspinner Press and on Goodreads!

ARC provided for an honest review.

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