Author: Sierra Riley
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: March 18, 2016
Page Count: 262
Reviewed by: Gigi
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
“To have and to hold, in sickness and in health.”
“I can’t do this alone.”
Russ Callaghan knew he was going to struggle after his wife’s death. He just never realized how much. As a single dad, he’s tried to balance paying the bills with making time for his son, Ryan. He’s been treading water for a long time and right now, his best friend, Jake, is the only thing keeping him afloat. But when his son needs major surgery, Russ isn’t sure anyone can save him from going under.
“I’d do anything for you. You know that.”
Jake Larson has been in love with Russ since college, but he knows they’ll never be more than friends. Even so, he can’t seem to stop himself from coming to Russ’ rescue. With Russ facing bankruptcy thanks to his terrible insurance, Jake concocts his most desperate plan yet: A sham marriage to get Ryan on his policy.
“You’re the only thing that feels real to me right now.”
It was supposed to be temporary, but when an insurance agent questions the validity of their marriage, Russ and Jake are forced to get a whole lot closer. Jake knows that once their time is up, they’ll go back to being friends regardless of what they’ve shared. But after having Jake as a partner both physically and emotionally, Russ isn’t ready to let go. Can they manage to turn their fake marriage into something real?
Devoted is a steamy, standalone gay romance novel with a HEA and no cliffhangers.
I had just finished reading my first Sierra Riley book Guardian and was incredibly excited to read another book of hers. To add to the excitement, this blurb is absolutely killer, reminding me of Tere Michael’s Faith, Love & Devotion series. While I did enjoy this book, it wasn’t nearly as satisfying as Guardian and quite different from Faith, Love & Devotion.
OK, you need to suspend disbelief. Now. (Come on. You know that is sometimes necessary when reading M/M romances, especially when such strange circumstances are involved.)
Russ is a single father to 10 year-old Ryan. Russ’s wife and Ryan’s mother died in a plane crash during a routine flying run while on active duty with the US Air Force. She has been dead for 10 months when the story begins.
Jake is Russ’s best friend and college buddy. He knew Russ and his wife Carrie during their college years and always accepted himself as their third wheel. He has also been in love with Russ for almost 20 years.
After a freak accident during a soccer game, Ryan requires surgery. Russ is heavily in credit card debt and because he has his own business, he has terrible insurance coverage and Ryan’s surgery could bankrupt him.
Suspending disbelief #1: That the United States Air Force wouldn’t continue to cover the family of an officer killed in the line of duty.
Suspending disbelief #2: Jake is a doctor with his own practice and can afford to pay for Ryan’s surgery out-of-pocket. Russ won’t even think about it. He is too proud to ask and doesn’t want to be seen as weak and not able to take care of his family. Jake doesn’t even offer because he knows how strongly Russ feels about charity.
Suspending disbelief #3: Russ won’t ask his very wealthy parents (they drive a Rolls Royce) for help because he thinks it will be one more way his disapproving parents will try to run his and Ryan’s lives.
Suspending disbelief #4: Russ believes the best solution to his financial problems is to marry Jake so he can be added to Jake’s insurance coverage as a spouse.
The scene is now set up. Accept all of the above points to enjoy the story. Otherwise you will be irritated and not able to accept the marriage.
Jake is the poster boy for love-sick-puppy. He has pined after Russ for his entire adult life and believes he is the only one for him, even during all the years Russ was married to Carrie. He is sad and lonely and lives to be in Russ and Ryan’s presence. He is a bright, handsome, successful doctor and I felt terrible for him.
Russ has been clueless that his best friend has a mad crush on him, but values his friendship and support above all else. He leans heavily on Jake during his times of distress.
When Russ finally has his “lightbulb moment” and realizes how Jake feels about him, he begins to return Jake’s feelings. And that is where the fun begins.
Hot virgin gay sex, intense emotions, happy family times. Delightful.
Suspend disbelief and let yourself enjoy this tale of arranged marriage with a ridiculously joyous HEA. You’ll be glad you did!