Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novel

Chaser by Rick R. Reed is a story of seeing beyond the outside appearance to discover the things that are really important.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

Caden DeSarro likes big, beefy, manly men. Where some would see them as fat, Caden sees perfection. While out with his best friend, Bobby, Caden spots the perfect specimen. When a chance meeting with the handsome stranger turns into embarrassment for Caden, he leaves hoping to maybe catch a glance of him at another bar.

As it becomes glaringly obvious that his night will end up with nothing but disappointment, Caden heads home on the El train. And as luck would have it, the handsome stranger is on the exact same train as Caden. After a stumbling introduction, Caden finally meets Kevin Dodge. Kevin is attractive, funny, and easy to talk to. The closer they get Caden’s stop, the more he doesn’t want the night to end. Accepting an invitation to Kevin’s place for a drink, Caden can’t help but think that his night is looking up. After an amazing night with and amazing man, Caden hopes for the chance to see Kevin and get to know him better. He has a feeling that this thing with Kevin could be more than just a one-nighter.

Kevin is amazed that a man like Caden would be attracted to him. Caden is thin, fit, and athletic. Men like him don’t look twice at men like Kevin, but Caden seems sincere and Kevin doesn’t want to look that gift horse in the mouth. But just in case, Kevin is determined to take better care of himself, eat healthier, and workout more. While on his first actual date with Kevin, Caden gets an emergency call from his sister and leaves unexpectedly to fly out of state to take care of his mom. After a heartfelt phone call, Kevin vows to wait for him even though Caden is not sure when he’ll return. In the meantime, Kevin is determined to become a better, thinner version of himself by the time Caden comes back.

When Caden finally returns six weeks later, he is sure that he has fallen in love with Kevin. Caden is surprised and a little confused at Kevin’s new appearance however. He was attracted to Kevin when he was larger and now he’s not sure how to feel now that Kevin has lost weight. Did he only love Kevin’s appearance or was there more to it? Trying to sort out his feelings, Caden ends up unintentionally hurting Kevin. The hurt caused along with a push from a new admirer might just split Caden and Kevin up permanently, even before they get the chance to really get started.

I adore this story. It is a love story that follows Caden and Kevin through attraction to getting to know each other, through insecurities to distrust, and eventually to learning to really trust each other. It is a story filled with drama and deceit that kept me on the edge of my seat wanting to know if these two would ever figure out what was going on. The obstacles – physical insecurities, self-esteem issues, and an outside party set on turning them against each other – keep building up to a point that I wasn’t sure Caden and Kevin would ever find a happy ending. But in the end, the author proved me wrong.

Kevin and Caden are lovable and imperfect – a perfect combination, if you ask me. They both have insecurities to overcome in this story. Kevin is self-conscious about his weight and wants to lose the weight in order to keep Caden. Caden is physically fit and attracted to larger men, but socially awkward. The meet cute between Kevin and Caden proves that and is absolutely hilarious. When Kevin’s appearance changes, Caden has to figure out if he loves what Kevin looks like, or if he loves Kevin. And whereas, it’s cliché, Caden and Kevin spend this entire story learning that it is not what is on the outside, but what is on the inside that really matters.

Bobby is Caden’s best friend and the antagonist in this story. I loved to hate him. He is shallow, competitive, and deceitful. When he was first introduced, I found him funny. The “micropenis” scene had me laughing out loud. But as the story progressed and he entered Kevin’s life, he became this devious, self-serving, horrible man. And whereas he is the worst friend to both Kevin and Caden, he was so well written. He was lonely and only wanted Kevin to himself because he saw what a catch Kevin was. In fact, the only complaint I have about this entire story is that there wasn’t a final confrontation with Bobby. I felt that after all of the trouble Bobby caused, he deserved to be called out on his many deceptions.

The storyline is full of ups and downs, but not heart-wrenching angst, which I appreciated. It highlights the fact that love is not about the outside appearance but who each person truly is. But it also shows how complicated love can be. Obstacles riddle Kevin and Caden’s path to true love, and the way they work through each of those trials is what makes creates a strong relationship.

The title, Chaser, refers to the fact that Caden is what is called a chubby chaser. But I think it also refers to the fact that Caden and Kevin spend most of the book chasing each other both figuratively and literally. It is the perfect title for this work.

Chaser is a fabulous story of imperfect heroes finding a perfect love. I am happy to recommend it to anyone who enjoys a sweet love story with very little angst and a lonely villain looking for somewhere to belong.

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