Safe and Sound (Crabbypatty’s Review)

Title: Safe and Sound
Author: Caitlin Ricci
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 18, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 84
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5


Twenty-one-year-old Mason has to get out of his mother’s house, where her boyfriend subjects him to unwanted advances—and won’t take no for an answer. Since she didn’t believe Mason when he told her about his uncle’s sexual abuse, Mason knows he’s on his own, and it’s up to him to raise the money he needs. He thinks he’s in luck when he takes a modeling job.

Oliver is a photographer, and getting guys and sex has always been easy for him. His current open relationship is no exception: more friendship and fun than anything. But when Oliver meets Mason, he can see the younger man is fragile and desperately in need of help. Before anything can develop between them, Mason needs to free himself of his terrible living situation and start on the road to healing. Oliver wants to stand beside him as he does. What surprises him is the discovery that he might need Mason as much as Mason needs him.

FYI – This book is part of Ricci’s Thornwood series, but can be read as a stand-alone. To avoid sexual advances from John, his mom’s creepy boyfriend, Mason is desperate to make enough money for an apartment security payment (since he lives with his mother and John) and takes a modeling job with 30-ish Oliver, a photographer he met online who is “looking to expand his portfolio of nude and semi-nude portraits.”

Reading this, it feels like Mason has jumped from the creepy frying pan into an even more creepy fire. Oliver pays him good money to pose … with an option to get even more money for removing his shirt or his pants, or reclining on a bed with some sheer sheets. As Mason (who reads much younger than his 21 years) ponders: “And it wasn’t like I was looking at porn either. This was like art with naked people in it. And they all looked really, genuinely, happy.” Umm, okay.

Oliver is interested in Mason but wonders if he should tell Mason about his boyfriend Chester, and his “strict policy against dating virgins. They were too breakable, and I wasn’t going to be the one to ruin them with my rather unorthodox views regarding sex.” Umm, okay.

And Chester? After seeing a picture of Mason’s body: “I can’t see his face or anything really about him and I can already tell he’s your type. And mine too. I want to shoot him. Please give him my card. I want him laid out across the bed in the staging room with his hands tied to the bedposts and his nipples under some clamps. You have to give me this. I need it.” Okay, just straight up creepy, amiright?

Because of the lack of character development for Mason and Oliver and their stilted and wooden conversations, this story did not engage my interest. So much of the plot was unbelievable and I give 2.5 stars to Safe and Sound. This book simply did not work for me.

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Galley copy of Safe and Sound provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend. My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh ... not in my wheelhouse, but I'm a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre. Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more. A few "badges" from NetGalley: 100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader