Author ~ D. P. Denman
Publisher ~ North Shore Press
Published ~ 18th July 2014
Genre ~ M/M Contemporary Romance
Book 2 of the Saving Liam series.
Sometimes the problem is the answer.
Liam Newman escaped his abusive past to start a new life with the man who saved him. Unfortunately, the old life refuses to stay buried. When a fan of his porn star persona appears, he’s forced to reinvent himself in a surprising new career. Will it give him the rebirth he craves or lead him deeper into the life he’s trying to leave behind?
Having just read and reviewed Saving Liam (book# 1) this was a very smooth transition into the follow up to Liam and Justin's story. All the drama from the original book was firmly embedded in my memory so I was able to snuggle down with my endless supply of cups of tea (and the odd nibble, Lol) and get straight back in to see how they were faring in their relationship, which was complicated more because of poor sweet Liam's past history at the hands of his horrendous, manipulative ex, Cord, who under the guise of false love had coerced him into a life of porn then pimped him to another sexual predator, a real shit who put him through a terrible ordeal that ultimately tipped him over the edge. Luckily Justin was there to help Liam through it all, first as just a good friend but later, after quite a few setbacks that included a tricky relationship for Justin...as a couple. Their romance tentative because of Liam’s deep issues with penetrative sex. Something, that even with Justin he can't reciprocate outside of a few kisses and cuddles, but still there's a bond between them which helps strengthen them as a couple emotionally.
The book starts six months after the end of 'Saving Liam' and they're now living together properly, working through the knots in their relationship because it's early days and even though they're happy together generally, things still aren't perfect. Returning Justin's love in the emotional sense isn't a problem, there's no doubt about his feelings for his understanding and patient partner, and vice versa, but physically they aren't quite there yet. However at this point of the story Liam is definitely in a better headspace, they're taking baby steps in bed—still no full on sex but foreplay is improving and personally he's taking extra care of himself; exercising and taking a bit more pride in himself, pride that had been lost during his time with Cord.
...The former wisp of a kid now had rippling bulges of muscle in all the right places.
He hadn't done it to attract attention. It was all about survival. Liam didn't want to be a scrawny, helpless kid anymore. The next time someone tried to dominate him he intended to give them a fight.
That is until Eric, a sleazy new colleague at the upmarket restaurant he works for, recognises him as 'Angel' and propositions him at work. It's the thing he's been dreading the most, the thought that someone would finally realise who he was and out him. He tells Justin about the incident, and they try to ride the storm together, Justin doing all he can to get Liam through it without causing him any undue distress, but panic, genuine fear and shame begin to take their toll, leading to a series of events that end with Liam out of a job again and pretty much back to square one in terms of skittishness and the low self esteem that had affected him before, but all the while Justin stands by him, gently encouraging, loving and tenderly comforting him and supporting him through the highs and lows that follow. Never once does he lose patience with his young, conflicted partner even though it puts most of the progress they've made,so far, back a few steps in their relationship sexually.
He held Liam close and let him cry, their bodies locked together. He supposed he should have expected things to go a little awry at some point. Sex was never easy for them, not even when it should have been.
Struggling to find a job that he feels safe in, Liam takes stock and decides that perhaps the only place he might feel a tad more secure would be in an environment where his porn background shouldn't be seen to be that much of a problem if he was to be recognised, even though it's not a scenario he ever wants to go through again, so on that note he applies for a position as a server in a strip club that caters to both women and gay men. He gets the job but later asks to be moved up the ranks to Go Go dancer, when he see that he can dance for the women's side and make more money. My first thoughts were that surely this couldn't be a great idea, especially as it was putting him in the path of more people who would only lust after his body and see him as a sex object, something he was trying to forget himself? But the strange thing is that as 'Damon' (the go go dancer name he picks out for himself) he sort of begins to take control of his own life and with it comes a touch of confidence that seeps into his and Justin's partnership as a couple. Even though it's not what Justin would have picked for Liam, he's still supportive and the two of them continue Liam's journey towards healing, one that certainly isn't without it's ups and downs as you'll see when you read it, because like the first book, DP Denman doesn't make this an easy ride for either of the two MC's. This is all about a slow and steady progression with no instant fixes or simple answers. Justin constantly fights the frustration of not being able to fully consummate their love even though he never makes an issue out of it and Liam feels guilty that he still can't give the man he loves deeply, that part of their relationship, but they weather each storm as they come and at the end of the book, even though it's still not a true HEA because they still have a ways to go, I still see it as far more than just a HFN. The one constant through this is the love they share which transcends all the crap that's thrown at them!
Justin had a way of making him feel like the most loved man on the planet, not that judgemental, conditional bullshit he was used to, but the real thing. Thanks to Justin, he knew the difference. Thanks to Justin he knew a lot of things.
As a character Justin is amazing. He's never judgemental, critical or disparaging with Liam and I loved how Liam was never frightened or ashamed of telling him anything, especially when it appertained to him taking the job at the strip club and the reasons he gave about his decision to go in that direction, because in most stories this would be the time for one of the main guys to keep something like that secret for fear of upsetting the other, causing the requisite 'big misunderstanding' to occur, the one that contrives to split them up until something tragic happens to reunite them. Nothing like that in this story. The trust that Liam places in his boyfriend and the acceptance he always gets back never wavers and I was so glad she didn't go down that route. I suppose Justin could come over as being too good to be true in some ways but for me he never does. There were times when I thought that Liam really should have been getting help from a professional angle because some of his reactions verge on symptoms of PTSD and I was a bit surprised that it wasn't brought into the story but it's not something I would pick apart minutely and again it is quite slow moving in parts but what I did get this time round was the chemistry between the two of them and even though the love scenes are still slightly muted in terms of content, they're actually quite sensual and tender. Now that I've become invested in their story, I would definitely see it out to its conclusion. I'm dying for the moment to arrive when Liam can finally love his gorgeous man the way they both so desperately want...and when it happens I'll be sighing like a lovesick fool myself! I'm rooting for them and I think you guys will too.
National Runaway Safeline - www.1800runaway.org
The Trevor Project - www.thetrevorproject.org.
Buy it Here
A Word from D.P. Denman
I'm so excited to be at Sinfully Sexy today! They've kindly given me an opportunity to talk about why I'm writing the Saving Liam series and the reality behind a story that is not a typical contemporary romance.
Liam's story is fiction in that it doesn't represent the life of a specific person but the details behind it are all true. It's a very kind retelling of a nightmare thousands of kids are living today in my city and yours.
In the States there are over 100,000 LGBTQI teens on the street. Canada admits their numbers are similar with only about a ten percent difference. What happens to all these kids whose parents failed them when it counted the most? What becomes of teens left to wander alone in the world without even basic food or shelter? Let's take a look.
Imagine you're on your own. Your home is gone and with it your family and friends. You have no money and only the clothes you can carry in an overstuffed school backpack that gets heavier with each step. There was a suitcase of mementos and other things in the beginning but you couldn't carry it anymore so you left it behind.
You haven't slept in days. You haven't eaten in just as long and hunger is an insistent gnawing pain in your stomach. You try not to think about it because the three dollars you had in your pocket when you left home is long gone and you can't bring yourself to eat out of trash bins. You could beg for change like you've seen others do but you don't quite have the nerve to ask strangers for help. Hungry, exhausted, scared, and broken hearted you walk because there's nothing else to do.
This is reality for kids like Liam. We like to comfort ourselves with the idea that there are shelters to take them in and soup kitchens to feed them but that's just a myth.
I live in Seattle, a city that has recently been labelled the most LGBT friendly place in America. The number of LGBTQI kids in the street here is in triple digits. The number of available shelter beds is in double digits. The number of transgender beds is less than 20. In other words, in the most accepting community in the States, these kids still have nowhere to go. Their parents' sentence is final and in many cases fatal. They die of starvation, exposure, violence, overdose, suicide, even the flu.
They eat out of dumpsters because soup kitchens are a nice idea but they cater to the adult homeless and that population is full of predators. In the Seattle area, there are two organizations that deal with feeding starving teens. Two.
It's a bleak picture, which explains why one-third of homeless kids end up as slaves within the first 48 hours on the street. A kind stranger offers to rescue them from yet another night of starvation and cold and they take it because they don't realize what they're getting into. They only know what they're getting out of.
Sexual slavery isn't just a problem in the States. It's a problem everywhere. There is a worldwide network of people like Cord buying and selling kids in your country and mine. Kids just like Liam.
It's an utterly depressing thought but it's also a story that needs to be told, so I wrote Saving Liam to give these nameless unwanted kids a face. As raw and gritty as the series is at times, it's still a very civilized version of reality. Somebody needs to save them and in Liam's case, that someone is Justin.
Saving Liam (Book #1)
You do what you have to do to survive. For eighteen-year-old Liam Newman that means living the life of a gay porn star, a job he loathes. He isn't a star. He's a prisoner and his warden is the man who saved him from the cold Vancouver streets.
Justin has been Liam's next-door neighbor for two years and has had a crush on him for just as long. Oblivious to Liam's porn career, he 's content to mind his own business about Liam's turbulent relationship until the truth stumbles drunk into his apartment one night and he realizes something must be done.
When Liam's boyfriend turned producer decides rent boys make more money than porn stars Liam's nightmare takes a horrible turn. Justin must find a way to rescue him before it's too late.
About the Author
DP Denman writes character-driven m/m romance about survivors. Her stories are real and intense but always resolve in the type of ending that makes readers want to start the book all over again. She is from the Pacific Northwest and bases all of her stories in Vancouver, British Columbia, a city that is dear to her heart.
In her spare time she is a dedicated gay rights activist fighting for those who have been marginalized and abused. To that end, 25% of the royalties from every book go to support LGBT charities.
D.P. Denman is gifting one lucky reader an eBook of Skin Deep. All you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win.
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