Monday, September 11, 2017

Release Day Blitz ~ Living Out Loud by Nyrae Dawn & Christina Lee (Review)

Release Day Blitz ~ Living Out Loud by Nyrae Dawn & Christina Lee (Review)

Living Out Loud RDB Banner

RELEASE DATE: 09.08.17
living out loud cover
X-Potion Designs

Wander Aguiar Photography


Ben Emerson has lived by his minister father’s rules most of his life. Born into an ultra-conservative church community, he’s finally brave enough to break free and move to San Francisco. Distancing himself certainly helps create a new mindset, but living as an openly gay man takes some getting used to. When he reaches out to Xavier, a childhood friend who lives in the city, Ben isn’t sure how he’ll respond given their thorny history. Ben hopes the familiar connection will help him right some wrongs as well as provide the solace he’s been craving.

Xavier Ramos is who he is, and he doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks. Whether it’s eyeliner, nail polish, tattoos or his love of hooking up, he uses his body as a form of self-expression but doesn’t let anyone get too close. When Ben reenters his life, Xavier helps him experience the city and feel comfortable in his own skin. Seeing the world through Ben’s eyes, he begins to wonder if he’s also not living as freely as he thought.

When Xavier challenges Ben’s beliefs about sex, it becomes explosive—for both of them. Xavier breaks apart Ben’s sheltered world and shows him what it’s like to live out loud. The more time they spend together, the more Xavier begins to long for Ben in a different way—one that both surprises and scares him. But real life doesn’t fade into the background, so when Ben’s past comes knocking, old habits are hard to break. Testing the foundation of their deepening connection will take a trust that will either bind them…or tear them apart.

**Riley Hart writing as Nyrae Dawn

**Ben is from PAINT THE STARS and Xavier is from A HUNDRED THOUSAND WORDS, but LIVING OUT LOUD can be read as a complete standalone.

“Get your ass down here.” He frowns and I pat the floor beside me. “I’m serious, B. Get your ass down here. You can take it off when I’m done if you don’t like it. How do you know if something’s your style if you’ve never done it?”
I blow on my fingernails trying to get them to dry. Ben doesn’t move right away, but then he slides down to the floor beside me.
My pulse kicks up a notch. I don’t know why I want this so much for him.
He puts his hand on the table and I paint the first nail.
“I feel stupid,” he tells me.
“Do you think I look stupid with it?”
“Hell no. You look hot but—”
“But nothing. Be quiet and let me work.”
He chuckles. “You’re bossy.”
“You ain’t seen nothing yet,” I reply before getting back to work on his nails. His fingers are long, thicker than mine. His hands are beat up from his work, rough and abused with little scratches on them. “I can’t wait till you can touch me. I love rough hands.”
“Oh shit,” he says with a thickness to his voice that tells me he’s getting turned on again.
I finish the first hand before saying, “Now, the other.” He sets that hand on the table, but I grab it, suck one of his fingers into my mouth, even though I hadn’t planned to touch him again tonight.
“Fuck, Xavier,” he says and his eyes roll back in a way that really gets me hard.
“You’re trembling,” I tell him as his hand gently shakes.
“That’s because I’m really turned on right now.”

4.5 Stars

I absolutely love second chance romances, it's definitely my favorite trope and this was a really good one.

Xavier and Ben were best friends, but when Xavier realizes he thinks of Ben as more than just a friend and he kisses him, Ben, who is the son of the local pastor and has had it drilled into his head that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination, rejects him. After that day things are never the same between the friends, and eventually Xavier's parents move away from the small conservative California town. Now as an adult, Ben has finally broken away from his family and moved to San Francisco. He fights the shame that he feels trying to live as an out and proud gay man. He's only been in town for a few short months, but he hasn't ever stopped thinking of or missing Xavier, who is also now residing in San Francisco. It takes time, but Ben finally works up the nerve to contact him. Can they rekindle the friendship they once had and maybe find more?

Ben was so sweet and caring as well as a bit naive and innocent. My heart broke at learning his story. To escape the clutches of his family and their religion, just to be pulled back as you are finally starting to see what life could be like if you could be true to yourself. My heart went out to him.

 Xavier was definitely rough around the edges at first glance, but once you start to peel away the layers and see the real Xavier, you see how sweet and caring he really is. My heart broke for him. It's  hard going through life having family that doesn't want you and after having Ben, the one person he thought really cared for him, reject him, Xavier built up walls to protect himself.

Ben and Xavier have lead very different lives and are very different people, but their differences worked well together and complimented each other. While the sex happens pretty quick the romance takes time and I really enjoyed the progression of their relationship. I loved watching Xavier encourage Ben to come out of his shell and try new things.

The story is well-written and paced well. Xavier and Ben really fit well together and their chemistry was off the charts, and we all know just how hot a sex scene these two authors can write and there was plenty of scorching hot sex between Ben and Xavier. I really loved getting to see Ezra, Dae and Henry and I loved Xavier's relationship with his boss, Penny. She was an awesome lady! I wish I could work for her. Haha The story had some other great secondary characters as well that really supported Xavier and Ben.

This was an enjoyable story that I'd highly recommend!!

*copy provided by the authors/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Nyrae Dawn
Nyrae Pic
Nyrae Dawn can almost always be found with a book in her hand or an open document on her laptop. She couldn’t live without books—reading or writing them. Oh, and chocolate. She’s slightly addicted.
She gravitates toward character-driven stories. Whether reading or writing, she loves emotional journeys. It’s icing on the cake when she really feels something, but is able to laugh too. She’s a proud romantic, who has a soft spot for flawed characters, who make mistakes, but also have big hearts.
Whether she’s writing young adult, new adult, or adult you can always count on a healthy dose of romance from her books. She likes to tackle tough subjects, and believes everyone needs to see themselves in the stories they read.
Nyrae is living her very own happily ever after in California with her gorgeous husband (who still makes her swoon) and her two incredibly awesome kids.
Twitter: @NyraeDawn
Christina Lee
CL Pic
Once upon a time, I lived in New York City and was a wardrobe stylist. I spent my days shopping for photo shoots, getting into cabs, eating amazing food, and drinking coffee at my favorite hangouts.
Now I live in the Midwest with my husband and son—my two favorite guys. I've been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher. But it wasn't until I wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper that I realized I could turn the fairytales inside my head into the reality of writing fiction.
I write Adult, New Adult, and M/M Contemporary Romance. I'm addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. I believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.

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