Finding Their Way, by A.M. Arthur (The Restoration Series, Book Two)
Publisher: Carina Press/Harlequin (July 20, 2015)
Word Count: appox. 84,000 words
Genre: Gay (M/M) Romance
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Summary: Thanks to an abusive father and a string of bad relationships, Riley McCage learned the hard way that people are not kind without a reason. Now, after landing a job at popular gay bar Pot O Gold, Riley is on the right track–until the night Boxer finds him drunk and drugged in the back room of an exclusive sex party.
Donald “Boxer” Boxwood wasn’t looking for anything beyond some casual kink until he peeled Riley off the floor and gave him a safe place to stay. But there’s something compelling about the guy crashing on his couch, and the two forge an instant friendship that eases into unmistakable attraction. Despite Riley’s hesitancy, Boxer knows one thing to be true: he needs Riley in his life.
Note: This is the second book in a series, but it does not follow the same characters as the first book (who appear in this one only as side-characters). Might help to read Book One first, but not essential.
My Thoughts: A lovely hurt-comfort story about a man who’s given up on finding someone who genuinely cares about him, and a man who wants nothing more than to find someone to care about. What seems like a perfect match is challenged by Riley’s inability to trust, and Boxer’s fear of pushing too hard, too fast. Overall, a really nice read.
Riley and Boxer have potential to be a perfect couple, if they can only overcome Riley’s abusive past. After almost being raped by his last boyfriend, Riley has given up on trusting another man. But Boxer is different… he seems to genuinely want to be friends, nothing more, and he doesn’t put any stipulations on the help he offers Riley. It’s a very well-balanced friendship, although slowly both men realize that there is attraction between them as well.
When Boxer reveals that he actually participates in the BDSM scene, Riley initially backs away. Riley is small and skinny, while Boxer is big and muscled, and he knows the stereotype there; Riley has no interest in bottoming… ever. But defying those stereotypes, Boxer then reveals that he’s actually a sub, and Riley might be exactly what he’s looking for in a Dom.
The sex is tentative at first, as Riley adjusts to this new dynamic in a relationship, but slowly blossoms into something truly beautiful. Arthur does a great job of writing the relationship from the perspective of both men, so the reader gets to see their worry and fears fade away.
Apart from the BDSM dynamic, though, I did think that the rest of the novel was pretty stereotypical. There were no surprises, and nothing that really jumped out at me as unique. It was very enjoyable, but just didn’t have that extra je ne sais quoi that I want in a hurt/comfort novel, to differentiate it from all of the other h/c stories.
Now that I’m done trying to sound
pretentious smart (did it work?), I’ll just say that this was a good novel, and I liked reading it, but it didn’t quite hit the spot for me. Give it a try if you like hurt/comfort and stories about men overcoming abuse, though!
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