Sunday, March 19, 2017

Book of the Week: There's This Guy by Rhys Ford #Review

Author: Rhys Ford
Book: There's This Guy
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reece Notley
Publication date: March 17, 2017
Length: 200 pages


How do you save a drowning man when that drowning man is you?

Jake Moore’s world fits too tightly around him. Every penny he makes as a welder goes to care for his dying father, an abusive, controlling man who’s the only family Jake has left. Because of a promise to his dead mother, Jake resists his desire for other men, but it leaves him consumed by darkness.

It takes all of Dallas Yates’s imagination to see the possibilities in the fatigued Art Deco building on the WeHo’s outskirts, but what seals the deal is a shy smile from the handsome metal worker across the street. Their friendship deepens while Dallas peels back the hardened layers strangling Jake’s soul. It’s easy to love the artistic, sweet man hidden behind Jake’s shattered exterior, but Dallas knows Jake needs to first learn to love himself.

When Jake’s world crumbles, he reaches for Dallas, the man he’s learned to lean on. It’s only a matter of time before he’s left to drift in a life he never wanted to lead and while he wants more, Jake’s past haunts him, making him doubt he’s worth the love Dallas is so desperate to give him.

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There's This Guy is in Rhys Ford's own words, her attempt at writing a contemporary romance. I'm here to say that not only did she manage to write a fabulous contemporary romance, but it's done in her own unparalleled style of gorgeous writing, gritty and raw emotions, and characters you will fall head over heels in love with. Not to mention, you know in a Rhys Ford book, nothing will ever go quite like it's supposed to. There is some serious angst going on this book, no lie, but the darkness and the heaviness is rewarded with a love story that will melt your heart. Jake and Dallas, seemingly so opposite of one another, truly are meant to be together. 
In a way only Rhys Ford can manage, she's taken a man at quite literally, the end of his rope, and guides him on a path toward love. And not just the love for someone else, but love for himself as well. Jake is one of the most broken characters I've ever come across. His sense of self-worth is less than zero and his will to keep living each day is almost as low. After suffering years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of his father, he's barely more than a shell. Throw that in with some powerful conflicting feelings toward a deceased mother he adored almost as much as he feared and he's just a jumble of tangled emotions he can barely make sense of. Enter Dallas, who in all his giving glory, slowly becomes everything Jake needs and everything he's too afraid to want. Watching these two grow closer was something else. Dallas slowly and methodically, but with oh so gentle care and compassion, begins to break down Jake's walls to help him believe himself worthy of love ... and of a life lived the way he wants. 
I'm telling you guys, the feels this book evoked in me were so strong. From smiles to tears, I felt everything. Jake is so utterly broken and vulnerable but oh my god, I wanted to just give him a hug and tell him everything was going to be okay if only he'd just let himself be happy. And Dallas, gah, he's pretty much perfection, but not so much so he seems anything less than genuine. His family is fabulous (no one does tight knit families quite like Rhys Ford does) and Celeste ... well just wait until you meet her. She's something else and another person just waiting and wanting to love Jake. And we can't forget Evancho, Jake's boss and friend and the father figure Jake desperately needs in his life. 
There's This Guy is quintessential Rhys Ford. Writing that flows like water, imagery so vivid you can see, taste, smell every single thing, and a romance that while slow to build you can feel deep into your soul. There's no magic cure for Jake just because Dallas loves him. Ford never takes the easy way out with her characters and it's one of the things I appreciate most of all in her books. Her characters, lovable though they are, are always flawed and make mistakes. They're real people, just like you and me. I loved this book and I'm so SO happy Rhys stepped outside her comfort zone and pushed herself. From the welding that Jake does (which I found thoroughly fascinating) to the friendship between Dallas and Celeste, to friendship that morphs into a one of a kind love between Jake and Dallas, this book is firmly in place as one of my most favorite Rhys Ford books. That's saying something, isn't it? 

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