Title: Ripping Off The Mask
Author: Harper Jewel
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Release Date: November 20, 2017
Genre(s): Gay Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 265 pages
Reviewed by: Tosha
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Can injured Sgt. Cooper Brandt, with the help of Dr. Westley James, rip off the mask he donned as self-imposed penance at the end of high school, or will fate determine a different path for both men?
Thirteen years after high schooler Cooper Brandt suffered a life-altering tragedy, Newark Police Sergeant Cooper Brandt suffers yet another earthshaking misfortune while on duty. As a result, he lets the mask he donned because of his first grief-filled setback slip. When overwhelming guilt consumes him for a second time, an unexpected, and oftentimes unwanted, helping hand tries to force him into making a choice: face his demons and rip the mask off, or continue living a lie while his facade stays put.
Upon his move to New Jersey, aqua therapist Dr. Westley James meets his toughest patient yet when a snarly police sergeant accuses him of duplicity at the start of their first session. When he discovers the reason for Cooper’s ornery attitude, an odd, empty feeling he’s lived with for as long as he can remember begins to fill in like missing pieces of a puzzle.
As a fragile relationship between Cooper and Westley grows, an unhinged sociopath threatens to ruin everything. Will fate force the emotionally bruised sergeant to fasten his mask on even more tightly, or will the couple’s blooming love and partnership be strong enough to help Cooper rip his mask off for good?
Wow, talk about a book that completely blew me away, broke my heart, put it back together again only to make me cry again before it was over. This is one of those books that if you do not read it then you are truly missing out on something amazing and so VERY SPECIAL. This is definitely a book that will stay with me long after I completed it. It was truly an incredible read that was beautifully written.
This is not your typical love story nor is it your typical mystery either. It is a bit of both wrapped up into a read that will just leave you speechless and not wanting it to end. Or at least that is how I felt when I finished it. Cooper is a cop. That has been his life’s passion. He hides a part of himself even from himself due to the fact that the one time he acted on his true feelings for another man his parents were killed in an accident. So he has always taken on the fact that he acted on those feelings that he was being punished for it. So needless to say he has never acted on it again. Well that is until he and his partner Silvio are on patrol and respond to a burglary from a bank. They pursue the suspects only to be caught off guard by one of the suspects and both are left shot and in danger. Silvio has only one request for his partner/best friend, to kiss him. I believe that Silvio knows that he is not going to make it and he wants this one request which Cooper gives to him.
When Cooper wakes up and finds out that Silvio did not make it, he of course blames himself for allowing himself to give into Silvio and kissing him. Cooper is heartbroken but at the same time determined. He is determined to get better sooner than the doctors give him and he is determined to catch the men responsible for his partner’s death but at the same time Cooper is starting to wonder if he is going crazy since Silvio keeps taking to him from beyond the grave.
Something that Cooper never expected is when he meets his physical therapist that he is the exact replica of Silvio with the exception of the eyes. Cooper believes that it is a coincidence that they look so much alike but when he and Wes start talking about the coincidence between the two looking so much alike Wes does some research to only figure out what it is that he has always felt he was missing.
Silvio knows that Cooper is attracted to Wes but he knows he is fighting the attraction. When Cooper can no longer fight the attraction and finally opens up to Wes, things will change forever between them. Not only are things changing between Wes and Cooper but the case that caused Cooper to lose his partner is also heating up and hits a lot closer to home then he ever would have thought was possible.
This book was such an incredible read. It totally blew me away. I loved everything about this book and I would not change a thing. This is definitely a highly recommended read. It is just that fabulous. I will definitely be looking for more books by Harper Jewel in the future.
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