Tag Team Review: Out of the Shadows by K.C. Wells

Can he step out of the shadows and into love’s light?

Eight years ago, Christian Hernandez moved to Jamaica Plain in southern Boston, took refuge in his apartment, and cut himself off from the outside world. And that’s how he’d like it to stay.

Josh Wendell has heard his coworkers gossip about the occupant of apartment #1. No one sees the mystery man, and Josh loves a mystery. So when he is hired to refurbish the apartment’s kitchen and bathrooms, Josh is eager to discover the truth behind the rumors.

When he comes face-to-face with Christian, Josh understands why Christian hides from prying eyes. As the two men bond, Josh sees past his exterior to the man within, and he likes what he sees. But can Christian find the courage to emerge from the darkness of his lonely existence for the man who has claimed his heart?


Sara - 5 Hearts

Wow. This book blew me away and it blew me away because it was such a quiet romance. I know in this line, the books can be predictable but this really wasn’t. It was a super sweet delicious slow burn with the most respectful hurt/comfort romance… just, le sigh. Okay. Le sigh.

I loved how the book opens with Christian’s POV, our self-made recluse who likes watching the handyman/gardener of his apartment complex work in the communal garden. It’s something Christian gives himself when he needs a break and at that moment, after reading that there will be renovations made to his property and someone invading his private space. Christian doesn’t do people, though we don’t know the why immediately but having a nice long look at a handsome man doing physical labor seems to settle him and I was happy to ogle with him.

Josh Wendell is the go to man that the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation has come to adding on the new kitchen and bathroom renovations to his list of duties. Josh is fine with that as he has always loved working with is hands but when a few co-workers suggest he might see the mysterious guy in #197, apartment #1, who is rumored to never leave his place. Josh is more interested in the why of it than the way people talk and decides if he gets to work on that apartment, he’ll have a chance to find out.

Told in the dual POV’s of Christian and Josh, we get to know the men on a day to day basis as Josh does the needed renovations. On his first day, he is greeted by a thoughtful gesture of coffee/tea and a note that if he is needed, he can contact Christian at the provided number. When Josh blows a fuse in the apartment and needs to contact Christian, he gets a sense that the resident in Apartment #1 isn’t out of the house and instead, locked behind closed doors.

The first conversations between the door with Josh and Christian were so sweet. They seemed to click right away and were comfortable with one another. The offerings of food and drink between them was adorable but when Josh shows up early one day and Christian is in need of help, Josh sees the real Christian and the story get deeper. With Josh seeing Christian’s scars, we get to learn what happened to him that has made him live his life alone and hidden for the last 8 years. It was pretty heartbreaking that forgetting one thing could leave a man riddled with scars and shame about his looks. But Josh isn’t what Christian was expecting and Josh sees beyond the scars to the man beneath.

When Christian realizes that Josh, the guy he’s come to chat with on a daily basis while he works in his apartment is the same guy he’s been drooling over as his handyman, Christian lets his attraction unfold though only to himself as he thinks Josh is straight and Josh thinks Christian is straight. Thank goodness a love for Harry Potter and fan fiction lead them to a list of favorite movies so that their sexuality can be straight, or not so straight.

Goodness, but I loved this book. It’s so very much relationship centered on how the men meet, become friends through their daily chats as Josh works and then more. Josh is enamored of Christian from their first chat but when he sees him, his scars and learns how Christian has survived he knows that beauty comes from the inside out. Not that Josh doesn’t think Christian is sexy AF because he does and so want to get lost in Christian’s eyes. But as Josh gets to know Christian, he knows he needs to be patient with him and knows he has to make Christian understand it’s the man, the whole man he wants and sees beyond the scars.

Josh truly is an amazing character. He is so patient, understanding and thoughtful when it comes to Christian. His friends are great side characters as well with how much they want Josh to be happy and they can see how being around Christian is changing him because of how much he likes him. A movie night of Dune allows the men to move forward in oh so many ways.

Christian is such and strong man. I can’t imagine being where he was in life to go through what he did and make the decision to walk away from everyone and everything he knew to live life truly in the shadows. Only through the inclusion of Josh into his life who makes him want more than he thought possible does Christian ache to feel the light on his face, the smile on Josh’s and their hands entwined as they walk down a public street together.

Wow. I am rambling aren’t I? I have learned to take that as a sign that the book was good and this was really good. It was super fluffy but always with an underlying heat between Josh and Christian that aided to the delicious slow burn romance. Both men were stunning in their fondness for one another while being fierce in determination to get what they want.

Out of Shadows is an extremely sweet and fluffy slow burn romance with the best sort of hurt comfort that won over this hopeless romantic. I adored the story of Josh and Christian and can only hope the author is considering giving us the true story of Nate and Dylan because I agree with Christian, there is a little bromance brewing there.

SheReadsALot - 3.5  Hearts

After reading however many Dreamspun Desires, I've found the cracky fluff can fall into certain categories. Some could be action fluff, slightly angsty fluff, very fluffed out fluff and sweet fluff.

Out of the Shadows by K.C. Wells falls into the latter.

It's so sweet I got a cavity after reading the beauty and the beast themed slow burn romance.

Christian Hernandez (32) has been a self imposed recluse for the last eight years due to extensive burn scars he received on the right side of his face and torso. He lives in his Jamaica Plain apartment, working from home as his main source of social interaction. His highlight of the day is when he sees a young, trim handyman working in the communal garden outside his patio doors. A mandatory refurbishment to his apartment via his building association forces Christian to let someone into his home... his hot handyman.

Through many interactions via text and closed doors, the two men develop a friendship. Josh (25), the handyman is so full of life and sweetness, even Christian can't resist his pull. Christian slowly opens up to Josh, shares his self and expects ridicule. Instead, what he gets is something much more valuable: that he is more than just his scars.

Josh is dreamy. He sings, loves Harry Potter, has an awesome support system in his 3 best friends, and can fix things. Plus, he sees that Christian just has scars, that Christian isn't just his scars. He is very persistent and flexible into slowly re-introducing Christian to their town. This I think was my most favorite thing about this novel, time was given to Christian to say yes or no. And Josh never gave up nor did he pressure him.

Plus, the quiet slow burn was fitting for the characters. Everything within their relationship from strangers to friends to something more read natural and not forced. And when they finally enter the HEA and smexy times come into play, it was pretty sexy. (Yes, smutsters this one definitely fills the sex scenes limit of the house line with some hotness)

I'm not a fan of Josh's friends. Not because they weren't nice young gentlemen, because they are. They were very accepting of Christian into their fold. My issue with them is a majority of the time when they were on page, they spoke like middle aged women. I kept getting flashbacks of my older aunt and her friends cackling and gossiping. Not something I mind if I'm forced in their company, but it pulled me from the story. These guys were supposed to be in their mid-twenties and I wasn't buying it.

Also, the story is set in Massachusetts. And there is obvious research of Boston that shows in the novel. Josh sounded like a Bostonian tour guide he showed so much of the city. However, there were moments where a British turn of phrase popped up and threw off the American vibe it was going for.

I'm unsure what K.C. Wells writing style is. So I'd try another book by her again to see if I'm a fan or not.

If you're a reader who likes sweet slow burn in their cracky fluff, then I think Out of the Shadows is worth a try. It reads very quick and low angst, perfect addition to the Dreamspun line!

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