Title: Out of the Shade
Author: S.A. McAuley
Publisher: S.A. McAuley, LLC
Release Date: May 21, 2019
Page Count: 332 pages (print), 103k words
Reviewed by: Bob-O-Link and Paris Dude
Warnings: alcoholism, mentions of sexual and physical abuse, mentions of drug addiction, mentions of rape, attempted suicide by a minor character, violence, homophobia, closeting
Jesse Solomona has always tried to be the perfect straight guy–a cocky sports fan capable of drinking more than he did in his fraternity days and an expert at one-night-stands. That he hooks up with just as many men as he does women is a secret Jesse’s been hiding for years, fearful of losing his family and tight group of friends. He’s a Kensington boy–a group of guys that grew up in the same neighborhood and somehow all ended up back in their hometown. They, and his family, are the only things that still matter in his otherwise soul-sucking life.
Chuck Dunn, a tattooed and pierced sports photographer, has refused to step back into the closet since he was disowned by his family, but he keeps choosing men who can’t fully be with him. Finally free from a long-term relationship he should’ve ended years ago, he quits his high-profile gig in favor of getting back to the art of sports photography–documenting a local boxing club that works with at-risk teenagers. He may not have the same swagger anymore, but he’s working to be happy with who he is.
When Chuck joins one of the Kensington boys’ community center sports leagues, Jesse’s self-imposed rules are systematically demolished. But there’s one barrier Jesse can’t find the strength to break through–coming out to the other Kensington boys. Chuck knows hooking up with Jesse is a bad idea. Falling for him even worse. But he can’t stay away.
Chuck is damaged by his past. Jesse is frightened about his future. But, together, they may just be able to come out of the shade.
Reader Advisory: Out of the Shade is a standalone novel with an HEA that carries the following warnings–alcoholism, mentions of sexual and physical abuse, mentions of drug addiction, mentions of rape, attempted suicide by a minor character, violence, homophobia, closeting
Buy LinksPublisher Amazon Amazon Global B&N Kobo GoodReads
Over the last few weeks, the Kensington boys had remained an ever-present presence in their lives—league games, nights at McLoughlin’s, and here at the club where one of the boys always seemed to show up. But he and Jesse were friends, and friends only, by silent agreement anytime the boys were around.
It didn’t sit well with Chuck; it couldn’t after so many years hiding his relationship with Adalric. But unlike Adalric, Jesse didn’t have an issue with them being in the same room together when other people were around. Chuck just couldn’t kiss him whenever he wanted to, which he definitely wanted to do when Jesse tugged at his full lips with his teeth like he was doing right now.
Chuck leaned on the door jamb and glanced at the pile of cash in front of Jesse. “Someone’s got an impressive stack.”
Jesse’s head snapped up and a slow grin spread across his face. “I don’t know why they try anymore. I’ve always been a grower, not a show-er.”
“I swear he’s counting cards,” Matt grumbled.
“Whatever you gotta tell yourself, Matty.”
“I’d say let’s pick this back up at Danny’s so I can win back some of my cash, but that leprechaun always finds his way to the pot of gold.”
“Speaking of,” Jesse said, glancing at his vibrating cell. He tapped on the screen and set it on the table. “Hey, Danny. What’s up?”
“Where the hell are you guys?” boomed out of the speakerphone.
“Sollie’s robbing us blind,” Ryan answered.
“Well pack it up and bring the game over here. Never too early to teach my kids how to count cards.”
“I told you!” Matt yelled.
Jesse smirked and leaned back in his chair.
“Is my replacement coming?” Danny called out.
“Yep. And I’m bringing beer,” Chuck answered.
“I like you already, Chuck. Hey, Sol? Lila has the guestroom set up for you. She hasn’t seen you in weeks and she won’t be home until late. Grab Precious and crash over here. No arguments.”
Jesse glanced at him. They’d been planning on spending the night together, but there was no way Jesse would say that out loud.
Chuck shrugged even as his heart thudded against his chest. How else was he supposed to react?
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ll head back to my place first then come on over.”
“Cool,” Danny continued. “Now get your asses on the road. The twins are asleep and I have the grill heating up.”
Jesse clicked off the call as the other guys started grabbing their coats.
“Mind if I ride with you, Chuck?” Matt asked. “You can drop me off on the way back to your place tonight.”
The boys piled out of the room, but Chuck lingered, hoping to get a second with Jesse before they were surrounded by everyone again. He’d been looking forward to a night with Jesse all week, but he didn’t know how to say that without making Jesse feel guilty, yet still letting Jesse know he would be missed. Before he could formulate the right response, he caught a sly smile tipping Jesse’s lips up.
“What is it?” he asked.
“I haven’t seen any of the boys welcome anybody into the group so fast.”
“Yeah? I’m charming.”
Jesse grinned as he stuffed his poker winnings into his pocket, then stepped up to Chuck. He leaned forward and brushed his fingertips over Chuck’s stubble, holding his gaze. “I’ll see you over there in a bit.”
Chuck didn’t move. He couldn’t.
If this was what bringing passion back into his life felt like—like one simple touch could liquefy him—he didn’t know if he’d survive.
But existing in this moment, and every moment like this, was worth the risk for now.
Chuck swallowed roughly. “I’ll see you there.”
Jesse slid his hand down Chuck’s neck and over his chest as he walked away.
Chuck swore he would feel the echoes of that touch for the rest of the night.
I sleep little, read a lot. Happiest in a foreign country. Twitchy when not mentally in motion. My name is Sam, not Sammy, definitely not Samantha. I’m a pretty dark/cynical/jaded person, but I hide that darkness well behind my obsession(s) for shiny objects. I’m the macabre wrapped in irresistible bubble wrap and a glittery pink bow, I suppose.
I have a never-ending-abyss-like secret love for poetry. Especially Rumi, Hafiz, and Neruda. You can predict (as well as change) my moods and my writing schedule by my playlists.
Insomnia is my greatest ally and my nemesis. I like my tv shows marathoned and I have to use internet blocking software to be productive.
If you’re in any fandom, then I’m probably already in love with you. I’m not joking.
I enjoy normalized chaos and I love hearing from readers. You’re my writing fuel. Hit me up anytime!