Title : Raining Men
Author : Rick R. Reed
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 314 pages (e-book)
Published : May 31, 2013
The character you loved to hate in Chaser becomes the character you will simply love in Raining Men.
It’s been raining men for most of Bobby Nelson’s adult life. Normally, he wouldn’t have it any other way, but lately something’s missing. Now, he wants the deluge to slow to a single special drop. But is it even possible for Bobby to find “the one” after endless years of hooking up?
When Bobby’s father passes away, Bobby finally examines his rocky relationship with the man and how it might have contributed to his inability to find the love he yearns for. Guided by a sexy therapist, a Sex Addicts Anonymous group, a well-endowed Chihuahua named Johnny Wadd, and Bobby’s own cache of memories, Bobby takes a spiritual, sexual, and emotional journey to discover that life’s most satisfactory love connections lie in quality, not quantity. And when he’s ready to love not only himself but someone else, sex and love fit, at last, into one perfect package.
Bobby Nelson is that character you love to hate. And, trust me, anyone who has read “Chaser” knows what I’m talking about.
I wanted to read the sequel because I could not image how this dastardly character could be redeemed. Look, he had no redeeming characteristics — not one. And, after what he pulled in “Chaser,” I wasn’t sure I wished him to get a second chance. Well, Rick R. Reed convinced me that Bobby is not only redeemable, but deserves a second chance. Go figure because I honestly didn’t believe it was possible.
When “Raining Men” begins we find still self-involved Bobby missing his friend, Caden DeSarro. Once the two men were inseparable and Caden stood by Bobby in his worst moments, his most sordid moments. Of course that was before Bobby betrayed Caden who no longer allows Bobby in his life. Period. (Understandable, but you should read “Chaser” to get that story.)
Pretty much friendless and miserable, Bobby spends time cruising Internet pickup sites and fielding any signal thrown his way by any man wanting to hook up. This connection frenzy and the fact that he has no standards about sex with strangers leaves Bobby wondering why he gives his body to any man — good, bad and ugly — who asks with no concern for his own personal safety.
Bobby begins to see a therapist who challenges him to step back, look at his actions and to evaluate his behavior. As is often the case in life, things become complicated. His mother calls to tell him his father has died. He flies home to Seattle to say goodby to a man he never believed loved or accepted him, but mostly he wants to be there for his mom. At the funeral, he runs into Wade, an old school friend who has come to pay his respects. They are mutually attracted. Things don’t go exactly the way Bobby hopes they will, but Bobby still believes Wade could be THE ONE and hopes for a future for them. Wade is agreeable to exploring the relationship, but he wants to slow the progression down.
Bobby returns to Chicago where his life spirals further out of control as he goes back to the online hook ups, bath house excesses and more men. This leaves him feeling angry and worthless, but he is unable to stop and Caden still refuses to talk to him. Now
we begin to see what is driving Bobby’s compulsive, self-destructive behavior and the real story begins. Each time something traumatic happens in his life, Bobby feels empty and soothes himself with anonymous sex.
Camille, his therapist, suggests Bobby attend Sex Addicts Anonymous. Aaron, who has recently seen Bobby in a vulnerable and dangerous encounter, is a member of the therapy group. He becomes Bobby’s confidant as we see Bobby travel the painful journey of self-discovery, facing his most terrifying demons in a search for self-acceptance and love. Bobby continues to long for Caden who, despite his attempts to apologize, still won’t talk to him.
In one of the most satisfying scenes in the book, after a raunchy and sad interlude at a local bath house, Bobby reaches for something to care about when he finds a pathetic, probably soon-to-be dead, stray Chihuahua in an alley. He names the vagrant Johnny, takes him home and so begins his first true love affair.
And, so it goes: two steps backward and one forward.
This is not a love story although there are moments of romance in it. It is about one man facing himself, about wanting to heal, to be whole, to forgive himself by owning his past while accepting that some things he has done to others may never be forgiven. It is about working through hatred, loss, bitterness and accepting your parents and their behavior. This is not an easy road to walk during the process of trying to control an addiction.
So, it’s some good, but mostly bad behavior the author gives us as he opens a window into the harrowing reality of sexual addiction. There are moments in this book that you want to yell at Bobby “not to do it,” you can’t help tearing up in frustration and you are so grateful he doesn’t contract the worst diseases out there, not to mention being vulnerable to robbery, rape and murder as he frequents the most dilapidated, dangerous places trying to fill his empty soul.
Rick R. Reed makes the commitment to write about issues of interest in the gay community and he does so regularly. Sexual addiction is certainly one we hear about and it’s universal. I found myself pulled into this story as I realized what was going on with Bobby. I wanted Bobby to show the vulnerable aspects of himself he has buried over time to avoid hurt. I wanted him to be whole, to be happy and to find himself.
This is not an easy journey, but a journey very worth taking. Will Bobby find love? Will Wade be the one? Can Aaron remain a best friend as Bobby makes gains and falls away from his commitment to overcome his addiction? Will little Johnny love Bobby no matter what?
“Raining Men” tells the rest of Bobby’s very satisfying story
Rated 4.5 stars by Carli