Erryn reviews Flash Rip by Keira Andrews, published September 19, 2019 by KA Books, 348 pages. The audiobook was released on July 14, 2020, is 10hrs and 56mins and is narrated by Joel Leslie. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read the book: I adore Keira books narrated by Joel Leslie.
On Australia’s hottest beach, the most dangerous current is between them.
Training to be a lifeguard is tough work, but Cody Grant loves a challenge. He spends long days in the sun and surf rescuing swimmers from treacherous rip currents while trying not to lust after senior lifeguard Liam Fox – who is deeply, painfully closeted.
Liam was supposed to be a football legend. Now in his mid-30s, it’s been over a decade since his dream shattered along with his knee. Fans still recognize him regularly, and he’s terrified his sexuality will be discovered and his conservative parents will reject him. He has strict rules to protect his secret and keeps everyone at arm’s length.
Out and proud Cody fascinates Liam – and tempts him to break all the rules.
Cody is practically half Liam’s size and age, but has the confidence and compassion to take charge and give Liam the release, affection, and acceptance he desperately craves. But how long can a secret affair satisfy their hearts? As if saving lives isn’t hard enough, Cody faces his greatest challenge yet convincing Liam to trust him and find the courage to live out loud.
Contains mature themes.
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Where to start with this book? Sometimes when I love so many aspects of a book, I struggle to put into words what I’m feeling.
I’ll start simply by saying I loved the book. The premise worked for me – two handsome, healthy, and fit Australia lifeguards on a beach with a strong rip current. Cody is the brash new trainee who is eager to prove himself. AND he’s Canadian, so yay Canada. He’s out, he’s proud, and he doesn’t want to hide who he is. His father wants him to earn a degree while his mother and sisters are supportive of him following his dream to be a lifeguard. To save lives. A noble pursuit, to be sure.
Liam is, in many ways, the opposite of Cody. He’s older, bigger, and so far in the closet it’d take a flashlight to find him. He heads to Europe when he wants sex. As a former Aussie footy star, he’s easily recognizable in his home country. And the tragic end to his barely started career makes him the object of pity from beach-goers who recognize him. He’d rather just be left alone so he can do his job. He’s one of the best and plans to teach the new recruits – Cody and Mia – just how it’s done. When Cody casually declares he’s gay, Liam is stunned. Not just by Cody’s admission, but by the easy-going acceptance from the entire crew. No big deal.
Yet for Liam, it means everything.
He eventually approaches Cody in a neutral setting and when Cody invites him to his house, Liam follows. Although he’s paranoid about being spotted, he’s also drawn to the younger man. The vitality. The spirit. The freedom. He knows he can’t have the freedom to share his true self to the outside world, but with Cody he can be true to his inherent nature. And I’m not just talking about being gay.
I loved Cody’s easy acceptance not only of Liam but of his desires. Especially as the stronger and larger of the pair, Liam feels there are certain societal expectations upon him. Fortunately Cody calls bullshit on that. He challenges the toxic masculinity that has held Liam back from expressing his true desires. Cody makes him feel safe.
Except he can never stay the night.
Until the day Cody reaches out and Liam is forced to confront his fears. Then the unthinkable happens and things fall apart. Or perhaps they come together.
I will say I was thrilled to see Ethan and Clay make an appearance in this book. I’d loved Honeymoon for One, so getting to see my fave couple was a nice treat. Obviously their love is going strong. And their example of a happy open couple forces Liam to face some hard truths about himself.
So, yeah, I loved the book.
I want to take a moment to speak to Joel Leslie’s narration. He narrated Honeymoon for One as well as The Station and always does a brilliant job with the Aussie accent. I have to say he did a decent job with the Canadian as well, although I might be more critical given I’m Canadian. As is so often the case with his performance, I sank into the story and he carried me through Ms. Andrews’ lovely tale of two men falling – and staying – in love.
10/10 pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars