Release Day Review by Rafa: Dream, by Garrett Leigh

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dream-garrett-leigh

Dream, by Garrett Leigh
Series: Skins, Book 1 (Standalone)
Publisher: Fox Love Press
Release Date: January 23, 2017

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

summary

I can’t sleep…

When unrequited love leaves Dylan Hart sleepless and nursing his wounds, instinct draws him to the one place he’s found mindless respite in the past—Lovato’s. It’s a place for every fantasy — for crazy-hot encounters — where a night of insane NSA sex brings relief to Dylan’s fragile feelings.

It should be a perfect escape, and for one magical night it seems that way, but then worlds collide, and reality bites when his hookup desperately needs a friend. Surely Dylan can’t trust his instincts when friendship has bruised his heart so badly before?

It’s burying me alive…

The deck is stacked against former ballet dancer Angelo Giordano ever finding real love. At least visiting Lovato’s offers respite from a life defined by illness; a glimmer of light in the dull grey of his so-called life without dance. But then he encounters Dylan — a glorious ray of the brightest sunshine — who makes his heart pound once more with purpose.

Angelo’s mind is blown by this man, but the disease that ended his career won’t let him bask in new love. He’s drowning, and Dylan can’t save him while insecurities swamp them both. The only way to make it means confronting their demons.

If Dylan can turn his back on the past, and Angelo can face his uncertain future, maybe they can chase their dreams together.

tropes-tags

M/M Pairing
Bisexual/Pansexual Characters
Contemporary
Hurt/Comfort
One Night Stand
Illness
Sex Club
Exhibitionism
Threesome

So… Dream is like, PHWOARRR hot. Anyone who’s read Garrett Leigh is aware that fuck-hot sex is her signature, but Dream literally starts off with a bang. An anonymous, sweaty, no-holds-barred kink club marathon bang. Yes, I do realize I just spoiled the opening salvo for you but I regret nothing. Consider it a warning of sorts. To y’know, sit down and remember to breathe through it.

While the raw passion between Dylan and Angelo took my breath away, even the dark and mysterious club setting couldn’t mute the magnetic chemistry between them – yet another Garrett Leigh signature. Even though their subsequent encounters outside the club didn’t go as smoothly, their attraction was undeniable and I loved the way they kept gravitating to each other despite having more than enough on their plates in their busy lives.

Dream started off with Dylan, who had been pining for his best friend Sam for years, pulling back from their friendship in the hopes of finding his own happiness. Having been introduced to Dylan in What Matters (the author’s M/F debut under the pseudonym Gracie Leigh), I was very excited to read his story. I may have been intrigued by him in What Matters but I was a complete and total goner for him in Dream. He was an easy character to love from the very start – open and giving and so, so vulnerable – both in his complicated relationship with Sam and for his developing feelings for Angelo. I never really understood the term “cinnamon roll” until I met Dylan – I just wanted to cuddle him and keep him safe. I loved that he was not afraid to let his feelings show when he wanted to see where things could go with Angelo.

And who wouldn’t want more Angelo? Drop dead gorgeous with sultry looks and a dancer’s killer bod, his character was in many ways even more vulnerable than Dylan’s. But with the weight of the world on his once strong shoulders, Angelo seemed more like a wounded lion past his prime, too proud and too scared to let down his guard. It broke my heart to see him afraid to hope and take everything Dylan had to offer after barely surviving practically on his own for so long. This was a stark contrast to the persona he presented to the world, particularly at Lovato’s. I was especially fascinated by his transformation whenever he was in Lovato’s – it was probably reminiscent of his former carefree self, oozing confidence and sex appeal.

What I liked the most about the book was seeing the two of them attempt to build something together outside of the club. It was a slow and sometimes torturous process that required honesty and patience and the kind of trust both men were in short supply of. Angelo had to learn that it was okay to lean on someone else as he struggled with his family’s dying business, his own crippling health and debt to match. Once Dylan got over his own hangups (tied to his messy relationship with Sam and Sam’s girlfriend Eddie), I adored how present and supportive he was of Angelo. I also appreciated that despite his steady job, financial know-how and desire to help, Dylan did not in any way come off as Angelo’s savior.

It’s no surprise that I adored the bi rep in as seen through Dylan’s eyes as he struggled with letting go the fantasy of him and his best friend Sam. I also loved the bit of open play the two men indulged in at the club, as well as the possibility for more in their future together. There was some social commentary on healthcare, social and financial services and the general state of the world that resonated with me and I should note, did not come off as preachy.

Despite how much I was loving our heroes and the steady build of their relationship, the book sort of lost me after a shakeup well into the final third. The story was thrown into overdrive and unfortunately adversely affected what would have been a very convincing HEA for me. While logically I know that dramatic events spur people to grab life (and love) by the horns, something about the way this played out for them took me out of the story. I also questioned the unexpected change in Angelo’s fortunes and thought perhaps that would have been more suitable for the epilogue, especially seeing the way he was slowly getting his life together.

Despite the shaky end, I absolutely adored Dylan and Angelo and am dying to read more of this new series. Those of you who read What Matters will appreciate that Sam and Eddie are well featured in the book, and there’s even an easter egg for lovers of Misfits and Strays.

 

more-from-author

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.

Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with photographer Dan Burgess.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Patreon | Instagram

You can purchase Dream from:

Amazon

Or add it to Goodreads

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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