Out of Nowhere by Roan Parrish (Middle of Somewhere #2)
Contemporary M/M Romance
Released: February 29, 2016
Reviewed by Mandi
(Pssst – if you click the “preview” button above, you can read the first three chapters)
Just last week I discovered this author and I’ve fallen in love with her voice. I was spoiled though – I read In the Middle of Somewhere and loved and then realized a second book was releasing just a few days later. Now I actually have to wait months and months (a year?? gasp) for a third book. The torture!
Out of Nowhere can be read as a stand alone but you will miss a little of the family dynamic. Colin and his three brothers have grown up working in their father’s car repair shop in Philadelphia. After their mother died, the brothers all had a hard time adjusting. Their father never showed a lot of love or emotion, and so they are all a little awkward with each other. Colin in particular, tried to do everything he could to get his father’s approval, all the while hiding a huge secret – he is gay. His brother Daniel, the only one not currently working in the garage (and hero of book one) is gay, and Colin saw how his father handled that news. Colin lashes out at his brother Daniel, making fun of him for being gay and saying truly hateful things. In book one, as the reader, you really hate Colin so I was so intrigued to see how this author would present him as a romance hero. She makes it work.
Colin gets into some trouble one night in an alley next to a gay bar, and Rafe, a stranger to him, fights off some guys and helps Colin home. Colin is ashamed of his secret lifestyle, and often turns to alcohol to get him through the day. Rafe stays away from alcohol and drugs, as drugs and fighting landed him in prison years ago. He is a changed man now, passionate about social work. He currently runs a youth center – where queer youth can hang out, learn work and life skills and make their way through their teenage years. When Rafe meets Colin in that alley – he knows he has to get to know him better. He comes to Colin’s repair shop and eventually convinces Colin to come to the youth center to teach the kids about cars. Colin reluctantly agrees and these two start hanging out. Then Colin has to start admitting to himself and eventually everyone else, his true feelings for Rafe.
Colin is such a tortured character – even to the last page of this book. His internal struggle with his emotions just makes you want to give him a hug. He lashes out at people, he has no self-esteem, he is terrified of rejection. And then there is Rafe. This gentle man (the author notes he looks like Jason Momoa so that doesn’t hurt at all) who has the patience of a saint. Rafe knows how deep in the closet Colin is. He knows one wrong look or touch could send Colin off the rails. But he also doesn’t let Colin get away with anything:
He leans toward me, and for one panicky second I think…I don’t know what I think. I can feel his breath on my face and see the thick spread of his eyelashes.
“You don’t have to talk to me,” he says, voice low and calm. “But don’t think for one second that I buy your bullshit.” One side of his mouth tenses in what I’m learning is his version of a knowing smile. “And don’t think I don’t know exactly what’s going on here.”
He leans a fraction of an inch closer and strokes my throat with his thumb. I hear my gasp before I’m aware it’s happening.
“Good night, Colin. I’ll see you Saturday.” He opens the door, then turns back to me. “Sweet dreams.”
Rafe talks with Colin. Soothes him. Shows him he can be part of the youth group without criticism. He starts to show him what love and friendship really is. Colin is like a stray abused puppy that has to learn trust and to be loved again.
The physical love scenes in this book are intense. Colin is nervous and scared to do anything with Rafe – and Rafe is super conscious of this fact. He makes him feel safe and lets Colin set the pace. But whew – they were pretty powerful scenes.
Rafe struggles with feeling worthy with having a criminal background. I didn’t connect with Rafe as much as I did with Rex from book one, but I admired how gentle and loving he was towards Colin. It made me smile.
For those that read book one, we get some closure with Colin and Daniel’s relationship as well. They become brothers again and it’s a nice ending to the book.
I highly recommend this author and I’m dying for the next book that will feature two supporting characters from this book.