Title: There’s This Guy
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Presss
Release Date: March 17th 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary, Hurt/Comfort
Page Count: 200 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
How do you save a drowning man when that drowning man is you?
Jake Moore’s world fits too tightly around him. Every penny he makes as a welder goes to care for his dying father, an abusive, controlling man who’s the only family Jake has left. Because of a promise to his dead mother, Jake resists his desire for other men, but it leaves him consumed by darkness.
It takes all of Dallas Yates’s imagination to see the possibilities in the fatigued art deco building on WeHo’s outskirts, but what seals the deal is a shy smile from the handsome metal worker across the street. Their friendship deepens while Dallas peels back the hardened layers strangling Jake’s soul. It’s easy to love the sweet, artistic man hidden behind Jake’s shattered exterior, but Dallas knows Jake needs to first learn to love himself.
When Jake’s world crumbles, he reaches for Dallas, the man he’s learned to lean on. It’s only a matter of time before he’s left to drift in a life he never wanted to lead and while he wants more, Jake’s past haunts him, making him doubt he’s worth the love Dallas is so desperate to give him.
If you like Hurt/Comfort with plenty of struggle before reaching a sweet HEA – look no further. This is a story about the redemption of a broken, shattered soul though love.
Be aware the story opens when Jake Moore has reached a point of such despondency and internalized anguish that he literally has the barrel of a gun in his mouth and is contemplating ending his life (I really struggled whether to put this in the review, but suicide attempts are triggers for some, so I after deliberation, I’m leaving it in). The irony is he’s waylaid from his plans by the same man who basically gave him the most reason to do it.
“I’m just tired, Dal. I just want to… be. I’m tired of… running, but there’s so much crap I can’t fucking deal with. Not now. I want to… fuck… I can’t… but I want to. With you. I just need someone to know. Someone I know won’t hurt me with it.”
“Then that’s how it’ll be, then. You’ve got me, Jake. However long you need me with you.”
Rhys Ford wrote a story that literally sent me into sobs, multiple times. I’m not kidding. This was probably one of the most draining stories I’ve read in decades. There were times when I wondered why I was still reading and I even had to put it down for a while and watch a comedy to recharge before coming back to it.
“Yeah, I want to wash away the filth that dick father of his smeared on him. I want to scrape off the stink and guilt he’d been raised in, but not because I need to but because he and I….
“It isn’t just for me. Yeah, I want him. I want to hold him and share a sunset without him tensing up with fear. I want him not to flinch when I touch him, and I want him to touch me without having to analyze it or look to see who is around.” Dallas paused, searching for the words he needed to describe the delicate furls of emotion Jake brought out in him. “God, you need to see his smile when he doesn’t care who is looking and how he scowls when he’s working because he’s beating the world into submission. There’s a beauty inside of Jake I want the world to see. That’s what I love, C. I love that beauty and those dimples and the rough of his hands on my shoulders when he feels safe enough to put them there.”
Jake is the product of horrific abuse and lives with immeasurable pain and grief. But after meeting Dallas Yates, he is drawn through Dallas’s friendship, and later love, through redemption and into the light.
You’re special, beautiful, sweet, talented, and so damned gorgeous you make my teeth ache…
I would classify this as heavy angst, with a lot of hurt/comfort/healing. It is a contemporary romance with a lot of heavy emotion at times – so be prepared to have your tissues handy. While it was well written, and the characters well-fleshed out, it was pretty emotionally overwhelming for me for more than half of the story, which, I’m not going to lie, did affect my enjoyment overall.
But, even though this was hard to read sometimes, and even though it almost broke me at others, I was so happy when I reached the lovely HEA.
“You peeled away the dark I lived in, and if I cry, it’s because I’m happy… so damned happy, Dal.”