Friday, June 12, 2015

Release Day & Review Blitz: No More Hiding by Renee Stevens ~ (ARC Review + Excerpt)

Release Day & Review Blitz: No More Hiding by Renee Stevens ~ (ARC Review + Excerpt)


Phillip Jorgensen tried to live the straight life and ended up divorced. But he wouldn’t trade his two kids, Jacob and Samantha, for the world. His ex-wife has kidnapped them and he’s been searching for them for six long years. But he’s not giving up—never, not for anything. His twin brother has encouraged him to start living again, but how is he going to find romance with all his baggage?
When he meets Vance Pierce at the new gym, Phillip sees a chance to find some happiness.

Phillip has to explain the whole sordid mess to Vance and pray that he understands that he’ll never stop looking for his children. That’s easier said than done. Telling Vance might be risky. Is their connection strong enough to convince Vance to stay? Or will he think that Phillip is too damaged to love? This is Phillip’s chance at the life he never thought he could have. But is it possible?

“PLEASE THINK about what you’re doing.” Robert reached out and snatched Phillip’s tux jacket out of his hand. “You don’t have to do this.”
“Yes, I do.” Phillip took his jacket back and forced a smile for his identical twin brother. “You know how Mom and Dad are. They’re never going to give up until they have both of us married off.”
“How can you pretend to be something you’re not? You’re gay, Phillip. Just tell them. Put an end to this farce of a wedding.”
Phillip stopped in the act of putting on his jacket and smiled sadly at his brother. He wasn’t surprised Robert was trying to talk him out of getting married. This wasn’t the first time since he’d announced his engagement that they’d had this conversation.
“You don’t understand.” Phillip finished getting dressed and stepped forward until he stood toe-to-toe with his brother. “Mom and Dad will never accept me being gay, you know that. This is my only chance.”
“Your chance for what? Can you honestly look me in the eye and tell me that you’re ready to live a lie for the rest of your life?”
“You’re acting like I don’t love her.” That was one thing Phillip could honestly say—he did love Janice. Maybe not in the typical way a man was supposed to love his wife, but he was sure he could make her happy.
“I’ve tried. God help me, I’ve tried to understand, but this is wrong in so many ways. Stand up to them. Tell them what you want, not what you think they want to hear. There’s other ways for you to have kids. You don’t have to get married to do that.”
“I can’t,” Phillip admitted. “You’ve always been the stronger of the two of us. You’ve never given a rat’s ass what Mom and Dad thought of you. I’ve always envied that. This is what I have to do, and as much as I’d like to have your support, I’m doing this either way.”
“You’ll always have my support. I just hope you don’t end up regretting this.” Robert touched his shoulder and smiled sadly.

“I know what I’m doing.” He did. Phillip wasn’t going into this marriage half-cocked. He’d thought about it a lot, and marrying Janice was what he wanted. He headed to the altar to do just that, his brother trailing behind him.

Mari's Review:

*copy provided by author/publisher via Eyes On Books in exchange for an honest review*

I knew this book was going to wreck havoc to my heart as soon as I read the blurb and boy, if I wasn’t right!

The book starts when Phillip is about to get married to a woman, Janice, even while being fully aware that he’s gay, just to please his parents. His twin brother, Robert, asks him not to do it, and still, Phillip goes through with it. Fast forward four years and Janice and Phillip are divorced and sharing custody of their two children, Jacob and Samantha. Things were normal enough all things considered, until Janice’s mother saw him holding hands with another man in the street and told her daughter. A fight ensued and after a custody battle in court that Phillip won, Janice kidnaps their kids and disappears. Fast forward six more years and Phillip is only half-living, working and going through the motions as he tries not to give up hope of ever finding his children, until his brother and sister-in-law decide to meddle a bit and mentioning there's a new gay gym club he could check out.

Deciding it can’t hurt to try he goes to the club and after meeting Vance, he decides to join. Vance and Phillip become fast friends and meet every day at the gym to train together, until the moment Vance pushes for more. But is Phillip ready for that? And how will Vance react when he finds out all that Phillip has been hiding?

There’s a lot going on in this book, first with all that happened with Jacob and Samantha and then with Vance and Phillip and then integrating it all.

My heart broke for Phillip, but also for Vance. Vance was such a loyal, patient, caring character. He was just what Phillip needed, especially in the second part of the book. Phillip had gone through a lot, and even if there were times when I just wanted to shake him up a bit, I could understand the reasoning behind his actions.

All the secondary characters were amazing as well; especially Robert and Marissa and Phillip’s children, who tugged at my heartstrings so much.

This book was amazing and it must have taken a lot of research, considering the heavy themes it deals with: depression, child abuse and rehabilitation after going through something like that. And despite all that, there was always the underlying love and hope that shone all through the story.

Rating: 5 Heart-tugging Stars! 

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About the author

Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties. Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal. When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can usually be found working on in her capacity of admin and Anthology Coordinator.
Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters. Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works. When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts.
When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors. She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby. Once back at home, it’s back to writing.

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