Friday, February 23, 2018

Release Day Review: Perfect (Soulmates #4) by Felice Stevens

perfectTitle ~ Perfect

Author ~ Felice Stevens

Published ~ 23rd February 2018

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance

Rating

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Synopsis

Despite multiple degrees and business success, in his heart Jeremy Strauss feels he’s never measured up. While he hasn’t lacked for men or women to share his bed, Jeremy has yet to find someone who sees beyond his muscles and perfect smile. Taking it slow with a lover isn’t how he operates, but something about the shy accountant he rescues in a snowstorm makes him want this time to be different. So what if Blake drops little comments here and there about Jeremy’s pretty face? Their relationship is perfect.
Or is it?
Lonely most of his life, Blake Myers is as careful with his heart as he is with a balance sheet. The last thing he expects is for a man like Jeremy to fall for him, and he can't help but wait for the bubble to burst on their relationship. When the stress of a professional crisis turns personal, Blake sees the perfect relationship he and Jeremy have built start to crumble. Caught in an ever-tightening web of lies, rather than wait for Jeremy to leave him, Blake breaks it off and vanishes.
Perfection is an illusion.
Jeremy doesn’t know which way to turn and for the first time in his life, he’s lost and uncertain. Believing he’s no longer the man Jeremy needs, Blake sinks deeper into despair. Both men struggle with secrets, lies, and hurtful memories until they are forced to look inside their hearts and learn the truth—that love is perfectly imperfect.

 

Debra’s Review

While this is the fourth story in the Soulmates series it is a standalone, but it does have ties to One Call Away (Noah and Oren’s story). Jeremy is Noah’s brother and the timeline of this story begins before and flows into the events there. Other than that, there is no reason not to jump into this book even if you haven’t read the prior stories – although I highly recommend them on their own as well.

When Jeremy and Blake meet on a sidewalk on a snowy night, they seem as different as can be; Jeremy, the outgoing, muscled gym owner and Blake the shy, quiet, plain accountant. Something about Blake instantly attracts Jeremy and he quickly puts the moves on Blake, who is like nobody he has ever been with.

Jeremy doesn't believe in love and dates around. Blake rarely dates and doesn't get emotionally involved with people. He likes his orderly life as it is. Jeremy is tired of being judged as a no-brained gym rat. Blake sees him as a go-getter and smart businessman, even if he does occasionally comment on Jeremy's pretty face or blows off discussing his work. Blake fears he's too boring for the gorgeous, successful Jeremy, who is always commenting on Blake's prestigious job, and figures that it's just a matter of time before Jeremy walks away. What they didn't expect is how quickly they manage to fall into a relationship and how surprisingly well they fit sexually and emotionally - two imperfect men who just might be perfect for each other. With Jeremy, Blake feels safe and is able to be sexually adventurous and give up some control, while Blake brings out the romantic, protective side of Jeremy and makes him feel special, which is something new for him. Another first for both men is believing that love may just be a possibility.

While they both have wonderful siblings they each have big insecurities thanks to their parents. Blake's brought on by his father and Jeremy's by his mother. No matter how good things seem, neither can fully quell their fears and worries. Blake is holding back from completely opening up to Jeremy and Jeremy can't shake the feeling that Blake doesn't see him as an equal, but both men definitely want to hold onto the other as long as it can last.

This is another beautifully written book by Felice Stevens. Jeremy and Blake really bring out the best in each other and I enjoyed watching them navigating the relationship angle of things. Neither has had a serious relationship before and both men struggle with it quite a bit where communication is concerned. Neither is great at it, but Jeremy is more assertive than Blake and does his best to let Blake know what his feelings are. While Blake promises to be open and honest with Jeremy, it's not something that comes easily. They seem to be doing great together until Blake breaks that promise to Jeremy by lying to him when he should be seeking his support and everything spirals out of control. This is where the tension really built, waiting for Blake's house of lies and deception to come crashing down and, if you've read One Call Away, you know a little of what to expect when it does. Soon his emotional turmoil is manifesting itself physically as well, causing him to put even more distance between himself and Jeremy until he makes one more bad decision that completely guts both of them and also gutted me as the reader.

I’ll admit that Blake frustrated me so much at times. His father did a number on his self-esteem as a child and he still carries the emotional scars as a successful adult. He is passive and doubts his worth, not trusting Jeremy's declarations of love to last. He puts up walls and shuts Jeremy out and no matter what Jeremy says to him, he is always telling himself a version of ‘well you say that now but you’ll be gone when you see I’m not worth it’. Jeremy is a sweetheart and just wants someone to put him first and make him feel like he’s a priority in their life. The pressure they both feel to be perfect in the other’s eyes contributes to a lot of the worries and both men have a hard time putting that aside. Luckily they both have Jeremy’s psychologist brother Noah to try and help put things in perspective. I adore how they came full circle, finally realizing there is no such thing as perfection, but there is such a thing as two people being perfect for each other.

This is another winner for Felice Stevens fans or for anyone who likes stories where the road to HEA is a bit bumpy - and the tiniest bit kinky. Both men have to work hard for it but that just makes it all that much sweeter in the end.

Purchase Link

AMAZON GLOBAL LINK

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the arrangementMeet Carter in …

The Arrangement (Soulmates #1)

Carter Haywood lives for the weekends—specifically the one weekend every month when he escapes real life, with all the pressures of work and caring for his special needs brother, to do whatever he wants, with whomever he wants. Sex is only a release; he's not looking for love, a relationship or even a second night with the same man, until he walks into a bar and finds someone who makes leaving it all behind impossible. After one incredibly passionate encounter, he breaks his rule and goes back. He needs to see this man again. And again.
Damaged goods. That's all Reed Kincaide sees and hears when he looks in the mirror. Anxiety and ADHD define his life and he’s learned to keep people at a distance, never letting them get close enough to know who he really is. When Carter proposes a monthly weekend of sex without strings, it's the ideal arrangement for him. Or so he thinks. Every month, leaving Carter proves to be more and more difficult. It’s not only the intensely hot sex they have in their hotel suite; Reed wonders about the secret life Carter refuses to share.
As months pass and they grow closer Reed finds himself falling for Carter, but he needs more than hurried hugs and farewell kisses. He wants it all. Letting Reed into his carefully constructed family life could upset Carter’s whole world, but it might be the risk he’s finally willing to take, if it means keeping Reed. Once bodies are engaged, the heart is sure to follow, and Carter and Reed discover that holding on to each other is the first step in letting go of the past.

Review :: Amazon

one call awayMeet Jeremy in …

One Call Away (Soulmates #2)

When a brutal attack from a jealous competitor leaves Noah Strauss, darling of the modeling world, physically scarred and emotionally damaged, he quits the runway to become a psychologist. Using his contacts from his time in the spotlight, he creates One Call Away, a radio show dedicated to gay men looking for love, advice or someone to talk to. But with secrets of his own and a mother who refuses to understand the career path he's chosen, the one person Noah can't seem to help is himself.

On a drunken dare from the senior partner's grandson, Oren Leavitt calls Noah’s radio show, pretending to be gay. Only Oren isn't certain if he's pretending. He's left his strict Orthodox Jewish upbringing behind, but the guilt remains. Guilt that his actions have prevented his sister from finding a husband and guilt that he's failed his parents. Talking to "Dr. Noah" helps, and as he finds himself calling the man again and again, he knows he must be honest. But Oren is unsure if he's lying to Noah or himself.

For Noah, trust is paramount; he's been deceived in his personal and professional life and while he desperately wants to help Oren, he also finds himself falling for the sweet and tortured man. Oren is trapped: he risks losing his job and more importantly the love and security of his family but knows he can't hide if he wants to be with Noah. When unresolved heartaches from the past rise up to control the present, Noah and Oren discover that love often comes from the most unexpected places, and sometimes a call for help not only saves a life, it can be a new and beautiful beginning.

Review :: Amazon

don't i know you

Don't I Know You: An Arrangement Short Story (Soulmates #3)

It’s been a year full of love and learning for Carter and Reed. But marriage and caring for Jacks means less time for the two of them to be together. With Carter away on a business trip during Valentine’s Day, Reed returns to help out at the bar where he and Carter first met, so he wouldn’t be alone. Unbeknownst to Reed, Carter has a surprise planned for the two of them. One that will let his husband know exactly how much he is loved.

This is a 6,700 word short story in the Soulmates series about finding the one person who completes you and never letting them forget how much they are loved. It has not been published previously.

Amazon

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Meet Felice Stevens

felice-logoI have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending just around the corner. I started reading traditional historical romances when I was a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that my interest in romance novels became renewed.

But somewhere along the way, my tastes shifted. While I still enjoys a juicy Historical romance, I began experimenting with newer, more cutting edge genres and discovered the world of Male/Male romance. Once I picked up her first, I became so enamored of the authors, the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion of the books, I knew I wanted to write my own.

I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

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