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Cover Design: Natasha Snow
Length: 95,000 words approx.
No more kissing a ghost…
A year after the sudden death of his longtime partner, Ben, Theo Anderson is still grieving. The last thing he’s looking for is a new lover, but as Theo discovers, sometimes life has its own plans.
The strength of his attraction to fellow gym member Peter is surprising. So is how compelling he finds Morgan, a new friend he makes online. Morgan is witty and fierce on the internet forum they frequent, while Peter is physically present in a way that’s hard to ignore.
Both men bring Theo closer to acceptance: he needs to lay Ben’s memory to rest if he’s to start afresh with a new lover.
Getting honest about the reasons for his yearlong isolation means confronting why he lost Ben… only just when he’s ready to commit, Theo finds he isn't the only one haunted by the past.
Whether with Peter or with Morgan, choosing to love again—after Ben—might not be Theo’s toughest challenge.
It’s always a funny thing to go back and read a book you first read years ago. One that you remember loving but some of the details might be vague but as you get further into the book, things start coming back to you. This is what happened to me when I read After Ben by Con Riley. Like many of you, I'm sure, I first read the book way back in 2012. A different time, really, when you stop and think about it. But Theo, Morgan, and Ben’s story still resonated with me as much today as it did years ago.
After Ben is the story of new beginnings. Theo lost his partner and love of his life, Ben, a year ago and the grief he feels from the loss is still more than he can bear some days. If it weren’t for his online friendship with Morgan, Theo might spend most of his days mired in that grief. As he begins to make more of an emotional connection with Morgan, Theo starts to heal. Sometimes it’s a one step forward, two steps back process though, so things are not always easy. The closer he becomes to Morgan; the more Theo hesitates.
There are a lot of flashbacks in the story, and normally I’m not the biggest fan of these, but in this case, Con Riley uses them beautifully to give us a very clear picture of Theo’s life with Ben and of Ben himself … so much so Ben is an integral character in the story. He never really takes over though, and I appreciated that fact. It was easy to love Ben, and I did, but I also wanted Theo to let go of the past and move forward. Morgan was endearing and their slow-build romance had me swooning many times.
As always, Con Riley’s writing is gorgeous. Flowing smoothly and full of evocative imagery, After Ben is a beautiful story of love and loss, of grief and the strength and courage it takes to move on and try again. I am so happy this book and the rest of the series to follow are out in the world again. If you missed this book the first time around, make sure you check it out now. I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series and fall in love with the characters again.
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