Doll Baby - Kayleigh Sky
Length: 330 pages
Struggling to make enough money to buy a friend’s bar and grill to fulfill a promise, Todd Rifkin vows to let nothing stand in his way. Nothing, that is, until a friend’s call for help. Bailing his friend out of trouble might cost Todd his dream. Now he is scrambling to make up the loss and reluctantly takes on the job of errand boy for his boss’ spoiled ex-lover.
Bliss Busby has no memory of the attack that scarred his face. Scared and reclusive, he has no interest in Todd’s intrusion into his life. No interest, that is, until somebody starts scattering cinnamon hearts at his door. Now Todd is the only one standing between Bliss and a mysterious stalker.
Years ago, Todd lost the love of his life in a violent twist of fate. After a night with a knife-wielding maniac, Bliss lost everything. Thrown together by circumstance, Todd and Bliss must unite to battle a hidden force from the past. As Bliss struggles to remember the attack that wrecked his life, and Todd struggles to save him from an attacker that is closer than either of them realizes, their reluctant friendship becomes a passionate love that just might have the power to heal their wounded hearts.
If they live.
There really is so much about this book that I liked. The writing was well done and flowed with no stilted parts. I loved Bliss, in the ways that he is broken both physically and mentally, he works so hard to become stronger for the other MC Todd. I loved the stalker being hidden within the many people in Bliss’ life.
What I think went wrong in this story for me was the complications. There were too many. Todd had lost his love, Von, and the pain he felt from that was long and ran deep but what the author did by adding not only the complication of how he felt a certain protectiveness for Joop, his friend, who reminded him physically of Von; she also added the complication of how he felt a certain protectiveness for Bliss, who reminded him of Von in personality and strength. One would’ve been fine but both seemed a bit much. I didn’t not like Todd but I’m not sure I ever connected with him but honestly I blame the weaving of the story for that and not him as a character. My heart broke for him and his continued pain over losing Von and I understood where he was coming from but I like the hangs ups previously mentioned were above and beyond what they needed to be.
Then the twist of complication that revolved around Joop and Howie also felt unneeded, like there is another simpler way of “testing” Todd the way this other character said.
Then to further complicate the plot you had the weird and confusing story of Bliss with Sid who he once was dating but the world knew him as he nephew but he wasn’t, and Bliss with Cruz who watched over Bliss but suddenly stopped being his friend which I admit is explained later but really seemed also unneeded in the story to help it progress. Then you had Bliss’ neighbor (tenant) Irma and her son Wiley, etc who really were the only ones that sort of made sense in the all “people who helped Bliss” thing that this story had.
Also, I think if she were able to simplify and take out the part with Joop and his boyfriend, which felt unneeded, and made clearer the storyline surrounding the stalker, which like others said wasn’t much of a surprise but he did get his own POV shown so I’m not sure it was meant to be a secret. Some parts of the ending confused me in what some of these characters motivations were in the actions they took.
I know it sounds like I didn’t like the book, but it isn’t that. It’s more that it seemed overly complicated for a mystery stalker story and if it didn’t have so many moving parts I would’ve enjoyed it more. The setting was great and very well described in each scene with wonderfully written prose. The stalker was grade A creepy and dark which was perfect for scaring the bejesus out of poor Bliss. Good story but too complicated when it came to the weaving of all the parts together for me.
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Kayleigh Sky is a m/m erotic romance writer.
Kayleigh’s stories are tales of struggle and pain, loss and despair. Love is won in the battle to rise out of the depths of darkness. Victory is in the sweet bliss of happily ever after.
Once upon a time Kayleigh hid out in a cold dark garage reading a book her parents forbid her to read. She was nine years old. The book? Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin, a story of love between two men–well, actually the story was a little more complicated than that, but hey, she was nine.
In the dark of the garage, a light, a passion, a sheer joy for love in all its manifestations awoke.
And love between two men–Hot!
Kayleigh’s men are often broken, always brave, and always memorable.
You can find Kayleigh here.