Title: Breaking the Record
Author: Raleigh Ruebins
Publisher: self published
Release Date: 27th Jan, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, GFY
Reviewed by: PIU
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
“When will I see him again? And why do I want to so badly?”
Ben Lakeland owns a failing record store in small-town Welling, New York, and it’s the last place he wants to be. Everything used to be easy: watching football with his frat buddies, drinking beer, and being popular in school. But at 24 years old, everyone else seems to have grown up but Ben. Each day the same: work, run, eat, and sleep, all on his own.
Until he meets Julian.
Everything changes when the mysterious and intriguing new customer enters his store. Who is this man who looks like he walked straight out of a rock band, with his tattoos, leather jacket, and icy blue eyes? And more importantly, why can’t Ben stop thinking about him?
“Would you ever do something like that? You know… kiss a guy?”
Julian Hart just wanted to start fresh. Dumped by his last boyfriend in New York City, he thought Welling would be different – he could focus on pursuing his master’s degree without the constant anxiety of dating.
But there’s only one shop in town to feed his endless record collecting habit, and a friendly, muscular jock works the front counter. Why is he so nice to Julian? And why can’t Julian seem to stop his habit of crushing hard on gorgeous straight guys?
“Can you come home with me? I just don’t want to be alone tonight…”
The two men can’t stay away from one another, and as hard as they try, their feelings aren’t going away. Ben struggles to navigate what his attraction to Julian might mean. Julian knows he can’t have Ben—and that’s exactly why he wants him so bad.
Julian agrees to help Ben try to save the record store. But business and music are quickly forgotten when the two of them discover things they didn’t think were possible.
‘Raleigh Ruebins’ is a completely new author to me. After reading this book I have added her to my auto-buy list. The writing is very good with solid characters, beautiful display of emotions and a plot that is equally sweet, mellow and angsty. It’s a story about self-discovery, acceptance, friendship and love.
The MCs here are real and beautiful in their own unique way. They have both suffered from heartache and loss. After they meet a tentative friendship develops which gradually turns into love.
Ben Lakeland is a very lonely, young man who dropped out of college to take care of his dying father. Now he is the owner of his dad’s record store which is not doing very well business-wise. Ben does not have any girlfriend; he does not fit in with the college crowd and he is continuously harassed by his uncle to sell the store. Ben is a man without any specific direction or purpose in life.
Julian Hart is a grad student who has recently shifted from New York City to Welling. He is a complete homebody, painfully introvert and not too comfortable with people except for his best friend and roommate, Aya. After a bad breakup, Julian has sworn off trusting any guy enough to open his heart. Julian is a music nerd and his one vice is collecting vinyl records. And that’s what brings him to ‘Lakeland Records’ and thus to Ben.
This is a GFY romance as Ben is shown here as straight with Julian being the first guy whom he is physically attracted to. Ben’s sexuality is not labelled here in so many words. He was in love and that was the most important thing of all. Ben’s new and budding feelings for the first time towards a man very beautifully. He had his doubts and of course, he is scared but he goes after what he really wanted and that was, Julian. It was not too overdramatic but had the right amount of angst involved before a very satisfactory HEA.
Ben is unsure of his future and a little lost. He feels guilty that he did not love music like his father and now after his death, Ben is trying to make to make his father proud by taking care of the store with love and devotion. But deep down that is not what he actually wants out of his life. Julian gives him the direction as well as the encouragement to build a life he actually wanted for himself.
Julian is intrigued by Ben from their first meeting. With a little push from Aya, Julian finds himself building a genuine friendship with Ben. He opens up to him more than he ever did to anybody else in such a short time. At first he is sure that Ben is straight but later he gets hopeful of starting something real with him.
“And when his conscious thought returned to him, Julian knew all of his carefully placed walls had crumbled for good. Even if Ben was straight, even if he was just confused or uninterested in anything more, Julian was fucking crazy about him. He knew it would probably lead to him getting hurt in the end, but he couldn’t stop, couldn’t turn away.”
I loved the gradual pace of the romance. Ben’s realization about his feelings for Julian is very sweet and nicely described. Both the MCs are a little hesitant in pursuing their feelings for different reasons but they fall in love quite quickly. The story is not too heavy on the steam front but it perfectly complimented the romance.
The flow of the story is great. In addition to a solid plot this book has the required combination of strong and relatable characters, a good mix of well-developed secondary characters and lastly a blooming romance at its heart. So all in all this book has been a complete win for me. I would look forward to books from this author.