Title: There’s This Guy by Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Romance
Length: 200 pages/Word Count: 71,030
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by the Author
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 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 sweet, artistic 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.
There’s This Guy by Rhys Ford is an incredibly uplifting and extremely emotional journey of healing.
Jake Moore is an exceptionally gifted metal worker but his highly dysfunctional and abusive childhood leaves him feeling utterly hopeless and unable to accept every aspect of himself. He is heavily guilt-laden over his perceived role in his mother’s death and despite the horror inflicted upon him by his father, Jake cannot turn his back on the man now that he is dying. His life is at an incredibly dark place and when Jake meets Dallas Yates and his delightful friend Celeste, he does not feel worthy of love let alone friendship or comfort.
Dallas is Jake’s complete opposite in every way. He has a loving, supportive family who accept every facet of his personality and his life. He is quick to welcome people into his life and his heart and he is extremely upbeat and outgoing. His optimism is refreshing and despite his sunny outlook on life, Dallas knows not everyone can be fixed and he is well aware his relationship with Jake might not ever progress beyond friendship.
Although Jake is not ready to embrace his sexuality, his fledgling friendship with Dallas is a glimmer of light in his somewhat grim and rather hopeless life. Dallas respects Jake’s boundaries and his inability to talk about his past, but when he inadvertently stumbles onto one of his new friend’s most shameful secrets, he finally begins to breach his defenses. Quickly realizing the depth of Jake’s problems, he encourages him to seek professional assistance to help him deal with the trauma from his childhood. The changes in both Jake and the men’s relationship are gradual and realistic as Jake finally begins to come to terms with his haunting past.
There’s This Guy is an absolutely heartwarming romance but it is Jake’s recovery from his emotional wounds that makes the novel such an outstanding read. Rhys Ford handles difficult subject matter with a great deal of sensitivity. The storyline has an amazing amount of depth and there are no quick or easy fixes for Jake’s issues and his subsequent recovery from his traumatic past. The characters are richly developed and multi-faceted with realistic backstories and experiences. While there is plenty of chemistry between Dallas and Jake, it is their emotional connection that makes their relationship so believable. A heartfelt and moving novel that I highly recommend to fans of the genre.