Friday, January 22, 2016

Review: Finding Peace (Finding Series #3) by Sloane Kennedy

51sgSpFoywL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Title ~ Finding Peace (Finding Series #3)

Author ~ Sloane Kennedy

Published ~ 28th December 2015

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance





"I knew it would be like finding something I didn't know was missing." --Luke
Author Gray Hawthorne has it all and he's on the verge of having even more. His bestselling detective novels are being turned into a movie series that will make him a household name and he's rubbing a lot more than just elbows with Hollywood's elite. Money, fame and good looks mean an endless supply of men, both groupies and celebrities alike, which suits Gray just fine. He's smart enough to know that his 5 minutes in the spotlight will be just that and he plans to enjoy every moment. Until he gets the devastating news that threatens to steal everything away...
Army Ranger Luke Monroe lives and breathes the military. They're the family he never had and a life without his brothers-in-arms is unfathomable. But the ultimate betrayal has Luke on the run and a twist of fate leads him to the small town of Dare, Montana to seek help from the foster brother who saved him once before. Only the brother he's searching for isn't the man he finds and he has no choice but to keep running. Until an encounter on the side of the road with a stranger changes everything.
The last thing Gray wants when he seeks refuge at his cabin in the secluded Montana mountains is company but a run-in with the mysterious and very straight Luke has Gray offering the damaged soldier a place to regroup. And since a physical relationship isn't even on the table, Gray finds himself enjoying something he hasn't had in a long time...a real friend.
But what happens when friendship just isn't enough? When a man who's only been with women begins to crave more?
With one man running from his past and the other running from his future, will finding each other be enough to bring them peace?
Note: This book contains M/M sexual content and is intended for mature audiences

***This is Book 3 in the series, but can be read as a stand-alone story - no cliffhangers.***
Book 1 - Finding Home (M/M/M)
Book 2 - Finding Trust (M/M)
Book 3 - Finding Peace (M/M)

Alan’s Review

This is my first Sloane Kennedy book, and I have no idea how I missed her before now. She’s a fabulous author of intense gay romances, with full-blown characters who grow before your very eyes. Thank heavens, she always seems to manage a happily-ever-after because, boy, was I invested in her characters from the very first page.

Gray and Luke meet when Gray almost hits a dog sitting in the middle of the road on his way back to his cabin in this secluded corner of Montana. Gray is not feeling well, and not too stable on his feet, but the beautiful man gets out of his car, nonetheless, to check on the dog – which keeps trying to drag him over to the side of the road. He finally acquiesces, his curiosity piqued, only to find a gorgeous young man unconscious in the drainage ditch. He bends down to help him up when the man, with surprising speed, knocks Gray on his butt with a single devastating punch to his chest. Even more surprising are the gun in Luke’s hand and the gentle way he helps Gray get up and get his breath back. Gray can’t stop retching and Luke is wracked with guilt at the damage he seems to have caused the man. But Gray assures him the retching has nothing to do with the punch. It’s the result of some kind of “stomach flu” he’s been suffering from.

Luke gets the dog up into Gray’s truck, eases the other man into the passenger seat and drives him back to his cabin. Gray’s cabin is no minimalist hunting lodge, it’s a well-designed and opulent rustic home nestled in the woods and fields on a beautiful piece of land, without a neighbor in sight.

Thus starts this remarkable adventure, a budding relationship between Luke, a soldier on the run; and Gray, the gorgeous mystery man with a lot of money and a desperate need for help he’s reluctant to admit. It’s pretty obvious that the nausea, dizziness, dehydration and weakness he’s suffering is more than a bout of stomach flu, but he’s not about to confide in a young man he doesn’t know, especially a young man with a gun.

Gray is an out and proud gay man. Luke, on the other hand, has always been straight, even though his many deployments to the world’s most dangerous hot spots haven’t afforded him the opportunity to form or maintain relationships. He’s not a virgin, nor is he a player.

The offer to stay at the cabin for a couple of days drags on into weeks, as the two men hit it off. No sex, just good conversation, Luke doing repairs and improvements on the cabin, and Gray battling whatever it is that’s taking him down.

Gray is a famous, best-selling author facing a terrifying future, hiding from the paparazzi and all the hangers-on who want to be close to his fame and money, but don’t particularly care about him. Neither does Gray’s wealthy family. His mother, the social dilettante, appears to despise both him and her husband, Gray’s father, the serial philanderer. His father is too busy to care.

Luke is a soldier on the run from the authorities, wanted for a murder he didn’t commit and pursued by the man who did. He’s come to Montana to enlist the help of his foster-brother. Neither ever had a family aside from each other. As soon as he sees Rhys in a sheriff’s uniform and patrol car, he heads back the way he came. Though innocent of the charges against him, he refuses to trap Rhys in a hopeless conflict between his sworn duty to enforce the law and his desire to protect his beloved “brother”. With no one to turn to, no help in sight, on foot in the heat, he collapses in a drainage ditch. That’s when he meets Gray.

If things work out, both men and the dog they rescued will end up saving one another.

Ms. Sloane writes about damaged men, and not just emotionally-damaged men. This book is the latest installment in her “Finding” series, and several of this series’ characters suffer physical damage, emotional problems, and major lifelong issues with family – or the lack thereof. Talk about angst! Though, at first blush, that sounds like it might be just another author relying on hackneyed themes to move the reader, it isn’t. Ms. Sloane’s superb writing, unique characters and propulsive plots make her books anything but trite. They are elegant, engrossing and often deeply moving. Think of it as a new take on old ideas, an engaging perspective on old themes.

To be honest, I couldn’t put it down. I fell in love with all the characters (including the dog), their trials, their challenges, even the “gay-for-you” relationship that blossoms without guilt or fear. I’m not sure Luke’s attraction for Gray is even “gay-for-you”. It’s more like finding home, discovering who he was meant to be, and experiencing love for the first time in his life.

But they do have each other, and as the relationship grows into something far beyond friendship, each comes to believe the other is home, the other is family, and no one else matters.

There’s an exciting, though violent, confrontation that forms the climax of the book. However, this heart-pounding scene only looks like the climax. The real climax comes much later, when the men have to find each other again, and give their love the space and time it needs to flourish.

This is an exciting, vivid, moving and beautiful book. What a great introduction to this talented author! I’ve already started reading other books in this series, and I’m so glad I discovered this wonderful writer and this wonderful book. If you aren’t familiar with Ms. Sloane’s work, this is a great place to start. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

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