Promises (Belen’s Review)

Title: Promises (Coda #1)
Author: Marie Sexton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 14th 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 228 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Includes the Coda series prequel novella, Meant to Be

Jared has simple goals for his freshman year of college: make friends, lose his virginity, come out, and maybe fall in love. He doesn’t anticipate getting caught between his friend Bryan and Bryan’s flamboyant ex. Through the awkwardness, Jared learns love doesn’t always mean sex and the most meaningful connections might have nothing to do with romance.


Can a man who loves his small hometown trust it to love him back?

Jared Thomas has lived in the mountain town of Coda, Colorado, his whole life. He can’t imagine living anywhere else. But Jared’s opportunities are limited—the only other gay man in town is twice his age, and although Jared originally planned to be a teacher, the backlash that might accompany the gig keeps him working at his family’s store instead.

Then Matt Richards moves to town.

Matt may not be into guys, but he doesn’t care that Jared is. A summer camping and mountain biking together cements their friendship, but when Matt realizes he’s attracted to Jared, he panics and withdraws, leaving Jared all too aware of what he’s missing.

Facing Matt’s affair with a local woman, his disapproving family, and harassment from Matt’s coworkers, Jared fears they’ll never find a way to be together. But for the first time, he has the courage to try… if he can only convince Matt.

Second Edition, First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, January, 2010.

Jared Thomas is lonely. Fear has him working at his family’s store instead of as a Physics teacher, and since the only other out man in town is his former high school teacher, the pickings are slim. He has a friends-with-benefits thing going with a friend from his college days that’s super occasional, but longs for something more.

Things change when hot as hell police officer, Matt Richards, moves to Coda. Matt and Jared have a great meet cute, get to know one another better, and begin to spend a lot of time together. As Jared and Matt’s friendship grows, so does the pressure from the guys Matt works with, and Matt distances himself from Jared even though it makes them both miserable. Does absence really makes the heart grow stronger? It’s up to Matt and Jared to put aside their fears and reach out for the happiness they could have – if they’re strong and courageous enough to grab it.

Promises was one of the first M/M romances I read about nine years ago and I remember this book very fondly, so when it came up on the review list as a re-edited second edition I was one of the first in line. I still love Promises but older me was a bit more protective of Jared, who was so lonely that he lets Matt get away with behavior I wouldn’t let pass now. There are some things I wished had been filled out with the second edition, like the ending, which feels a little abrupt, but in all I enjoyed re-reading Promises and I know I’ll read it again in the future.

Single POV, friends to lovers with medium heat, light angst, and a happy ending with a bonus short story set about fifteen years before Promises called Meant to Be after the final chapter.

Coda series

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Promises provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


I am an unapologetic book addict/lover. I'm happiest when reading and I spend most of my time with my Kindle, which is never far from my hand. I love to be told a good story! I mostly read fiction: Romance, Erotica, Young Adult, New Adult, Paranormal (shifters? Yes, please!), a little BDSM when I'm in the mood, and I love a good ménage story. I DEFINITELY PREFER A HFN/HEA! My biggest no-no's are cheating, miscommunication / misunderstanding plots, unnecessary angst, and cliffhangers.

A sampling of my "Favorite M/M" stories:

Carry the Ocean The Half of Us Red Dirt Heart Adulting 101 Tied Up In Knots
Shelter the Sea Manties in a Twist David, Renewed Ethan who Loved Carter Perfect Imperfections
Wolfsong Fight the Tide How to Walk Like A Man The Lightning-Struck Heart Forging the Future
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