Title: Out of Nowhere
Author: Roan Parrish
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 29, 2016
Page Count: 274
Reviewed by: Vallie
Heat Level: 5 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
The only thing in Colin Mulligan’s life that makes sense is taking cars apart and putting them back together. In the auto shop where he works with his father and brothers, he tries to get through the day without having a panic attack or flying into a rage. Drinking helps. So do running and lifting weights until he can hardly stand. But none of it can change the fact that he’s gay, a secret he has kept from everyone.
Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lie the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.
Colin was a character I despised from In the middle of somewhere. He was so mean to his brother, Daniel, and with what was revealed at the end of that book? I had no idea how the author would turn Colin into a sympathetic character. But she pulled it off in a magnificent way.
Colin is introduced as an anti-hero. He is depressed. He has panic attacks. He self-medicates with alcohol and uses exercise in an unhealthy way. He lies about who he is, mainly to himself but also to his dad and two other brothers who work with him at the family’s auto mechanic shop. Colin is a miserable person with anger issues who takes out his anger on people who remind him of all he feels like he is not allowed to have. He leads a very stagnant, lonely life, wasting hours away on a couch with his dad and brothers, drinking bear and watching football. Trying to be straight. Starving for affection and desperate for approval.
And then he meets Rafe. Rafe works with LGBT teens and gets Colin to volunteer at the youth centre. Their friendship comes with a lot of desire on both parts, which Colin struggles a lot to accept. They build a very solid friendship and as they become closer, Colin’s walls start crumbling down all around him. But all the denial and the self-hatred he’s experienced his entire life cannot go away with a few nights of sex and some sweet words. Rafe challenges Colin and that’s where Colin’s evil alter ego fucks everything up. Because Colin is not magically a good tortured soul in this book. He lashes out. He hurts Rafe repeatedly. But Rafe understands and he has had demons of his own to deal with, so he has more patience than any person could have when dealing with a Colin who’s out of control with the vitriol that comes out of his mouth.
The author truly did a fantastic job of bringing these two characters to light. Their journey came with a lot of obstacles on both sides and they managed to come out on top. I never once doubted that they would make it, no matter how angsty a situation they had to face –and it was a lot of angst, let me tell you! The sex scenes between them were wonderful, with a perfect combination of smut and feelz, and the dirty talk?!!!! Kudos, author, bravo!
Another thing I love about the writing style in this series is how real the dialogue is. It’s so convenient for people to say what they want, in the order that needs to be said, and in a coherent, logical way, all while listening to another person and addressing their points. Ha! Like that happens in real life. And in this book, the characters, not just the main ones, often try to talk to each other and fail to bring the point home. And it feels so authentic, the way they fumble around their words, while we get a running commentary of their inner monologue at the same time, like a snapshot of everything that comes through that character’s head at that moment, synapses misfiring in the characters’ fight to express themselves, and only a small proportion of that whole production that is the human mind at work actually making it out their mouth. It’s fascinating and it’s what made me absolutely adore book one of the series. I love introspective characters and getting into the deepest recesses of their mind, digging through layers and layers of life experience, stereotyping, fears, and hopes, and to see how that is presented to the world, only a glimpse of it really.
I highly recommend this gem of a sequel, especially to fans of hurt/comfort mm, because this is one book that will gut you. But it hurts so good! It’ all worth it.