Strong EnoughRating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Maxim finally took the leap and came to California from Russia. His arrival is not at all what he envisioned, as his ride doesn’t show up and then his bag gets stolen from the bar where he winds up. The bar’s owner, Ellen, feels terrible and she offers Maxim a place to stay with her brother, Derek, for the night. Maxim is easily attracted to Derek, but what would a good looking, successful American man see in Maxim?

It was only supposed to be for the one night, but when the apartment Maxim had rented doesn’t quite work out, Derek offers him his guest room for two weeks. Derek also enjoys Maxim’s company and feels protective of him, yet he knows he has to continue to keep control of the side of him that is desperately attracted to Maxim.

challenge month 2017 copyDerek has never dated a man before, he can barely let himself think about it, but his relationships with women haven’t had the spark to make them successful. When the chemistry between the two men cannot be contained, they act on their attraction, which only leaves Derek further denying everything. Derek tells himself he has to stay away from Maxim, but they find themselves drawn to each other time and again. But if Derek can’t finally admit the truth, Maxim will have no choice but to walk away.

Both of the authors of this book were new to me and the storyline and the cover all caught my attention to add to this week’s New To Me Author challenge.

Maxim is an easy character to like from the first page. He sets off alone from Russia to California with dreams of writing screenplays and making a better life for himself. He has a rough start to begin with, but perhaps it’s fate that he winds up in the path of Ellen so he can find Derek. Maxim is immediately attracted to Derek. It’s his looks at first, but he soon realizes that Derek is a kind, successful man that takes pride in his home and his life. The issue is that Derek will not accept the fact that he is attracted to men.

Derek has a certain vision of his life. He wants nothing more than to find a woman to marry and have a family. He tries, but the women he dates knows there is something missing and Derek is a little depressed and a little angry that he’s not where he wants to be in regards to a family. A lot of this stems from his father and his upbringing as Derek knows his parents will never accept it if he likes men. Derek’s parents are off page and only referred to, but they shape the way Derek views himself.

Whether this book will be successful for you hinges on whether you like Derek or not. Derek is so in denial of his attraction to men and when he and Maxim get together, Derek loathes that he can’t control his feelings. He doesn’t want to be attracted to men, but Maxim becomes everything to him and Derek experiences true passion and intimacy for the first time. The authors do a great job of getting to the heart of Derek’s inner turmoil, but from his view, everything is about him and he could come off as selfish. He’s so deep into his own feelings he doesn’t see how his actions affect Maxim as Derek first denies his feelings and then wants to keep Maxim a secret. Maxim is incredibly patient with Derek for a while, but then stands up for himself leading Derek to finally make some hard won changes to his life.

The conclusion adds another romantic layer to their story as Derek and Maxim get their happy ever after. This was a solid read for me from two new to me authors that I would look for again in the future.

This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for New to Me Author Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win a fabulous prize from Riptide Publishing. One winner will win a set of Advanced Review Copies before the books are released (or if it is a non-U.S. winner, an electronic copy of the books upon release). Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press (a loaded Kindle fire filled with DSP books!). You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on New to Me Author Week here. And be sure to check out our prize post for more details about the awesome prizes!

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