Title: Stranded with Desire
Authors: Vivien Dean and Rick R. Reed
Narrator: Johnny Mack
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release: 27th September 2016
Length: 4 hrs and 54 mins
When their plane crashed, their desire took flight.
CEO Maine Braxton and his invaluable assistant, Colby, don’t realize they share a deep secret: they’re in love—with each other. That secret may have never come to light but for a terrifying plane crash in the Cascade Mountains that changes everything.
In a struggle for survival, the two men brave bears, storms, and a life-threatening flood to make it out of the wilderness alive. The proximity to death makes them realize the importance of love over propriety. Confessions emerge. Passions ignite. They escape the wilds renewed and openly in love.
When they return to civilization, though, forces are already plotting to snuff out their short-lived romance and ruin everything both have worked so hard to achieve.
Dreamspun Desires is an entertaining and light-hearted series. The various stories include popular tropes and, for many of them, you have to suspend reality to appreciate their almost soap opera style plots. This is especially true of Stranded by Desire. Two colleagues—the boss and his trusty assistant—miraculously survive a plane crash on a mountain and make their way to safety via an abandoned cabin.
Maine is a closeted CEO who is selflessly dedicated to his family’s wishes and their successful company. He may be strong and powerful in the boardroom, but he doesn’t have the confidence to admit he is gay for fear of ruining his father’s business. Instead he lives a lie and is engaged to be married to a woman. He’s not really concerned with his own desires and happiness. He planned to “pretend to be that guy the world perceived me as. Strong. Confident. Straight—a good catch for any woman.”
At work, Maine relies heavily on Colby, his very able and dedicated assistant. Both men are secretly in love with each other, but neither is prepared to admit their feelings. Colby thinks he’ll never get a chance with Maine because he’s engaged to a woman and therefore probably straight. Of course, we know better!
Escaping death and surviving a plane crash puts love and life into perspective. The two men are stranded on the mountainside and shelter overnight in a hut. Luckily they are not seriously injured and have a chance to confess their feelings at last. Being a Dreamspun Desires story the explicit scenes are restricted and the lovers share a hot kiss on the cabin floor. Could this be the start of a relationship they’d both dreamed about? Can Maine find the courage to admit he is gay and have a future with Colby if they return to safety? It seems not at first!
The two men are not stranded for long but face more life-threatening dangers before they are dramatically rescued. All exciting stuff, and mixed with their turbulent emotions.
This is a story of two halves. The drama doesn’t stop when they return from the mountain. There’s still more danger to face, although we are treated to a hot loving scene before reality continues.
Maine decides he can’t ignore his desire for Colby any longer and plans to break off his engagement. In a way, I felt sorry for Maine’s fiancée, although I suppose she had a lucky escape. It would have been a passionless marriage. Helen is a strong and supportive character and thankfully not the stereotypical female hag I was expecting. Yes, she is heartbroken, but she is a decent person and understanding of their situation.
And that’s not the only drama. There’s corporate intrigue and more tension due to another rival character. This additional plot feature adds more conflict and excitement to the story alongside their developing romance. More soap opera type machinations almost ruin our hero as someone tries to dislodge Maine. We even get a few chapters from the villain’s viewpoint.
Apart from their time alone in the cabin, I think my other favourite scene of the story is when Maine comes out publicly. It’s a triumph and I felt proud of him as he could have backed down even at this point.
This is a well-written and entertaining story, low in angst and heat, as per the Dreamspun Desires requirements. There’s suspense and excitement, as well as love and passion between our two hot guys.
The story was clearly narrated with good expression by Johnny Mack. His voice is strong and the pace is generally swift. He portrays the characters, their emotions and internal thoughts well.
Meet The Authors
Love doesn't care about gender. The one word that best describes Vivien? Geek. Book geek. Theater geek. Movie geek. All she needs is a story to get lost in. The rest takes care of itself. It all began in Michigan where living in the middle of nowhere forced Vivien to escape to stories and her imagination. High school introduced her to the joys of performing, while college expanded those horizons to include filmmaking. When she met her geek soulmate, a British expat who encouraged her to dream, she spent two years rediscovering the world before he whisked her away to the UK to get married. It was there, as they started their family, that Vivien turned to writing again. She hasn't stopped since. In 2006, Vivien teamed up with fellow erotic romance writer, Pepper Espinoza. Together, they wrote as Jamie Craig for five years. Vivien currently resides in northern California with her husband and two children.
Rick R. Reed
The R is for romance... Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love.
He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, "a writer that doesn't disappoint."
Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever "at work on another novel."