Dana Reviews Random Acts by Mia Kerick (Published by Dreamspinner Press, October 13, 2014, 226 pages) for a Blog Tour with excerpt and giveaway below.
(for a list of tour stops click banner above)
Why I read this book: Mia Kerick is one of those authors who I hadn’t had the chance to read yet, though I wanted to. When the blog tour came up, I was excited to have the chance to read her work. An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Bradley Zelder can’t find his way in life. After struggling for nearly a decade, he has yet to complete his college degree. Working as a school custodian, living in blue-collar Landsbury, MA, his love life is as empty as the rest of his existence. But on his way home after another disastrous date, his truck breaks down in upscale Oceanside. When he thinks life can’t get any worse, a man who is the epitome of Boston elite and everything Bradley finds attractive and intimidating helps him move his truck to the side of the road. Ashamed of his lot in life, Bradley almost lets the opportunity slip away, but he comes to his senses in time and tracks Caleb down.
From a random act of kindness, romance begins to grow, filling all the dark corners of Bradley’s empty life—until a random act of violence threatens to take it all away. Bradley must step up and be the man Caleb believes him to be. Caleb rescued him from a life without hope. Can Bradley rescue him in return?
“I should go.” He glanced around the room—I assumed in search of his navy pea coat. For the first time I saw Caleb Jorde flustered.
I stood up and faced him. “Caleb, you know that you can’t drive right now. You’re exhausted and you’ve had a lot to drink. That’s not news to you.”
Caleb’s shoulders sagged and he dropped onto the couch, clearly agitated, but in agreement.
“And I’m in no shape to drive either, so I can’t bring you home.”
As he nodded, the skin around his eyes puffed up a bit. He appeared upset and defeated.
“We don’t have to do anything if you stay over here tonight, you know? Like, sexually.” I sat down right beside him, so that our shoulders and thighs were pressed together. “I’m totally cool with that.” And I thought maybe I was.
Caleb chuckled softly, but it didn’t sound as honest as usual. “Just call me your forty-year-old secondary virgin.”
At this point, I was kind of afraid to make a move of any kind to touch him, although my instinct was to take his hand in mine. So I just sat there, hands on my thighs. “It’s okay, Caleb. I get where you’re coming from.”
Surprisingly, Caleb reached into my lap and took my hand. He squeezed it once and then stared at our joined hands where they rested on his thigh. “It might take a while. So if sex in the earliest stages of a relationship is a huge priority for you, I don’t think I’ll be the right person for you to date.”
Although it felt weird to be told this so directly, I didn’t give a shit. “That’s fine.”
Caleb seemed to believe me. He exhaled deeply and raised his shoulders. I could sense the return of his poise. “I’m glad you understand. Really glad.” He squeezed my hand again.
“Since my bed is among the missing—” I sent him a meaningful glance “—you know, in the huge mess that is my room, let’s just crash out here on the couch tonight.”
Again, Caleb looked relieved at the prospect of sleeping on the couch rather than in my bedroom. “Good plan. Think I might be too tired to search for a lost bed, anyway.”
My thoughts: Right from the beginning of this story I was drawn to the characters. They weren’t over-idealized perfect men but they were honest. Their straight-forwardness was refreshing, and they definitely had their faults. But the way that Caleb and Bradley interacted with each other made me like them and I became very wrapped up in their relationship.
Though feelings developed between the two men fairly quickly, their physical relationship was a slow burn. Caleb wanted love before moving in that direction, and though Bradley went through men and women too quickly, the waiting allowed him to actually develop feelings and it seemed perfect for them.
Besides the sweet courtship that was going on between Bradley and Caleb there was sub plot involving an attack on one of the main characters and strengths needed to be found and insecurities were revealed. The connection between the men stayed strong though and they weathered through the storm thanks to determination and true love.
While I loved the love story between the two men, the ending of this book seemed to finish too quickly for me. While one of the attackers was caught, there was a bigger scheme, someone who may or may not have knowingly caused the attacks. After the slow build up in Caleb’s and Bradley’s relationship, the end was too rushed. I would have liked to savor it a little more, and had some closure to the trouble they had faced.
I was very pleased with my first experience reading a book by Mia Kerick. I definitely recommend this book to other fans of m/m romance, and I look forward to reading more by this author.
8.5/10 pots of gold
About the Author:
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.
Mia has published four works of adult contemporary gay romantic fiction with Dreamspinner Press and four novels of contemporary LGBT fiction with Harmony Ink Press. Mia Kerick’s books are recommended reads in the LGBT blogging/reading community, have spent many weeks on Amazon Hot New Releases and LGBT Best Sellers lists, as well as other notable bestseller lists, and have won awards for excellence in YA literature. Author Links:
Twitter: @MiaKerick (https://twitter.com/MiaKerick)
Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/1vowCBK
Dreamspinner author page: http://bit.ly/1xsRQT7