Review: Calm (Tidal #2) by K. Evan Coles & Brigham Vaughn

A love worth the wait.

When Riley Porter-Wright comes out as bisexual and confesses his feelings for Carter Hamilton, it severs their friendship. Carter’s rejection forces Riley to move on and he’s shocked to learn Carter’s marriage has fallen apart.

Overwhelmed by his failure as a husband and father, Carter misses Riley, but feels guilty for disappearing after Riley’s coming out. After Riley extends an olive branch, the former friends agree to repair their relationship. Slowly, Carter pieces together a new life, admits his attraction to men and confesses his feelings for Riley.

Leery of Carter’s initial rejection, Riley turns his focus to a new man, Will Martin.

Disappointed, Carter fosters new friendships with men like Jesse Murtagh and Kyle McKee, while also navigating new waters with his ex-wife, Kate, as their children learn their parents are dating other people.

As they rebuild their friendship, both Carter and Riley draw strength from each other, hoping the choices they’ve made are for the best.

Reader Advisory: This book contains expressions of homophobia by multiple secondary characters, divorce, references to parental neglect, disownment, references to adultery and m/m/f threesomes.

In the aftermath of Riley’s revelation, and Carter’s personal decision to come clean to his wife, the friends are no longer speaking. Riley has come to terms with the fact that he is never going to be with Carter the way he wants, so he is moving on, and living his truth out in the open. He has found someone he wants to move on with, but unfortunately he still holds a flame for Carter, and it is causing him to hold back with his new man, Will. Will is trying to be patient, but it is difficult to fall in love while the object of that love is still pining for someone else.

Carter is getting divorced, trying to forge a new path with his ex-wife and children, and is exploring his bisexuality by dating. His easygoing personality is a little tarnished, and he isn’t as joyful as he was before. He has depression, and sometimes everything is just too hard.

Part 2 is both frustrating and well balanced. The stars have not aligned for Carter and Riley, and they are both in very different places in life. This part of their journey is inevitable as they clean up their mess, but the distance is also secured by their inability to communicate, and Carter’s resentment of Riley’s choice to come out and turn what Carter thought he knew on it’s head. Stubbornness is a good word for Carter. While wallowing in his own misery, he maintains the distance he created by ignoring Riley for a while. Thankfully they eventually get it together enough to get back their friendship but there is still a distance between them as their lives develop in different ways.

Kate is understandably angry in this story. I really felt for her. I think it was important for her character to not be as accepting and easy for Carter to just brush off. She deserves her time on the page, with all her fiery bitterness at the secret life her husband decided to keep. What makes her a hero in this story is that she tries. She tries not to let the anger consume her and turn her into someone bitter and twisted. Her life is a mess, but she is still going to make the most of her situation and not let her broken heart impact her children’s relationship with their father. She also does what most people wouldn’t, and tries to be okay with Riley.

I enjoyed this story as much as I did the first part. The additional characters are all well developed and bring something to Carter and Riley’s life. Everything is not all roses and soft landings. It can’t be. The decisions Carter and Riley made and continue to make impact those around them, and each other in a big way that is not clean, and requires work to move past.

Between the two parts of this story, it is long. Especially when factoring in timeline. But it is so balanced and there is nothing slow about it. Every part of the story is a part of the character’s development, and each point of view provides another part of the whole.

I still wanted these two together, but about halfway through I almost accepted that they would not be the couple they should have been. Almost. I mean what’s the point of all of this if they aren’t together right? But sometimes friendship is enough, and stronger than a relationship with so much baggage.

The authors did a magnificent job of making all the characters in this story loveable in their own way. It isn’t all serious and sad. There is a lot of joy between these pages, and some hard won happiness. I am in no way disappointed with any of this and I highly recommend this story for anyone who enjoys complex relationships and a good dose of feels.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion.

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