Title : Lost Won
Series : The Liaison Series, Book #3
Author : SE Culpepper
Publisher : Self Published (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 376 pages (e-book)
Published : January 8, 2013
Rating : ★★★★1/2
Six years ago Christian Blakely lost his way. Fresh from college and sure of his future, an unexpected meeting changed everything. Frightened by the truth behind one night’s surrender to a hidden desire, he ran, determined to drive the memory of that night—that man—from his mind.
As the years pass, Christian builds a life around his work, drifting between relationships as the image of one man haunts his steps. Wishing he were free from a mire of what might have been, he is offered a chance at redemption when he comes face-to-face with the man at the root of it all.
Gunnery Sergeant Kevin McGuire understands commitment, whether it’s to his work as a US Marine, or to the happiness of his younger sister Risa. A proud and private man, he has never shared the story of the night with Christian; though years have passed he is still affected by it. When circumstances bring the two of them together again, Kevin is shocked by the depth of anger and passion that the younger man stirs.
With the obstacles of Kevin’s resentment and distrust in his way, Christian is confronted with the same choice of six years ago: stay and fight for what he wants, or run and hide…
Lost Won is another great addition to the Liaisons series. Book Three is Christian and Kevin’s story. Everyone who read book two remembers the cocktail napkin Christian carried around and we finally get the full story behind it.
The book starts out with the guy’s first meeting in Cabo. Christian has never acted on his desire for men but Kevin zones in on him from across the club. Of course Christian flees but the Kevin goes after him and they spend an amazing night getting to know each other only to have Christian run out again.
Fast forward six years later, and a chance meeting leaves both men reeling from the encounter. Christian has hoped for this for years but Kevin is so angry he won’t talk to him. Christian gets his hands on Kevin’s address and hunts him down determined to explain why he left and never called. When Christian shows up at his house, the fear of telling his family and friends who Christian really is, also that he’s gay, forces Kevin agree to a dinner with Christian who hopes to finally get his chance to tell his side of the story. The rest of the journey is a little painful, sexy and beautiful. I was so into this couple and things that normally seem sappy had me swooning.
Culpepper always manages to redeem her characters which I think is a brilliant skill for a writer to utilize. I thought Mark was an ass and then I loved him. I wanted to smack Christian and now I adore him. Now we have Money who is being a total jerk but we don’t really know why so maybe she’ll redeem him in our eyes, too? Kevin was pretty angry in the beginning of this book. “I wanted to yell at him in Christian’s defense and say, if you aren’t out, how can you judge him so harshly for freaking out?!?!” Of course as the story goes on you kind of understand how that kind of anger could build up in Kevin. He finally finds a man he wants more than one night with only to have him run out on him, his parents die, he puts all his energy into his work and raising Risa all while suppressing a part of himself and carrying the memory of Christian. When you put it all together and the story evolves you realize it’s not just for dramatic effect. This is the type of thing that makes the writing special IMO. Her characters seemed very real to me.
I really enjoyed picturing Christian’s tattoos. The pain and regret each one represented really helped me understand just how confused and unwilling he was to face the fact he’s gay. That in his mind, that wasn’t the life he has planned. I think his character could have easily been over the top with his deep regret but it all worked splendidly for me.
Another thing I enjoyed about this book was how mature the guys were about wanting each other once Christian explained himself. There was conflict but neither guy freaked out or stormed off. They were both determined to see this through after years of dreaming this exact thing would happen.
Anybody who has read the first two books was probably picked this up as soon as it was released but if you haven’t and you enjoy a very real feeling romance about two men who get their second chance at love, then you’ll love this book. I highly recommend the entire series. You should start with the first book as there are joining thread but for this book it’s probably not a must.
Rated 4.5 stars by Whit