Title : Released
Series : English Men Stories, Book #3
Author : Ben Ryder
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 208 pages (e-book)
Published : August 14, 2013
Rating : ★★★★
An Englishmen Story
Dominic Holland leaves behind in London the shattered remains of a dishonest relationship and sets about rediscovering himself across the pond, exploring New York City and two widely different possible futures. Through a series of increasingly public encounters with a mysterious silver-haired man, Dominic gets a tantalizing taste of a new kind of freedom. But it’s fellow journalist Alex Everton who attracts Dominic, making him yearn for a real and honest love. But Alex is working on a story that is linked to his past, leaving Dominic unsure of whether he will be the one to heal his heart.
Dominic Holland is starting over. He recently moved from London to Manhattan, leaving behind a dishonest jerk of a boyfriend and the house that he had worked so hard to make a home. He has only been in New York for two weeks and is sorting through hastily packed boxes and coming to terms with how his life has changed. Four trash bags later, and an afternoon of making his new apartment feel like home, he is excited to start his new life.
While biking to work one morning, his chain breaks and he is forced to use the subway. Once on the train, he notices an attractive man with silvery gray hair making casual glances in his direction. He chooses to take a chance and flirt back. The train is crowded and with a distraction caused by two men arguing, their flirting turns much more hands on. As the train slows and they begin to exit, they both pretend as if nothing has occurred and Dominic makes his way out of the station. He is grinning about the exchange and the risk he had just taken when his phone rings. It is his best friend, Callum, calling to tell him he will be coming to New York for a few days and would like to get together. He has important news to share with Dominic. As they chat, he feels a tap on his shoulder; it’s the silver-haired man from the train. He hands Dominic a note asking to meet later that night.
Dominic had met his new employer, Clive, in London once when Dominic was working for the London Herald. When Clive offers him a job in New York the timing is perfect. As the new entertainment writer his desk sits across from travel writer, Jackie. She and Dominic hit it off right away. Jackie is also British and helps alleviate some of Dominic’s homesickness. I loved the banter between Dominic and Jackie. There is also another person in the office that has taken an interest in Dominic. Alex is the deputy editor and a political writer. He welcomes Dominic and lets him know that he is also gay hoping to put Dominic at ease. This, it turns out, is not the case as Dominic finds Alex very attractive.
This main character may be Dominic, but it is the story of three men and, to a lesser extent, the friends and family surrounding them. Dominic has left a long-term relationship that ended badly. His ex, Richard, was dishonest, a coward and a cheater. Dominic is looking to rebuild his life and his self-esteem. Alex comes across as friendly, outgoing and honest. A particular political story he has been pursuing has become the focus of his life and it is not until later in the story that we understand why. Dominic finds Alex attractive, especially his honesty, but is not ready to get back into another committed relationship. The “Silver-haired” man is an unknown for most of the book. He appears to enjoy random hookups that involve risk, yet Dominic seems drawn to him. After one particularly risky rendezvous, something happens that has both men laughing and some real emotions leak through the anonymous sex. I admit I was a little concerned about the use of recreational drugs and risky sexual behavior between Dominic and the Silver-haired man but the author addresses one of those early on in the story and the other is just part of the risk taking that seems to be a turn on for both men.
Jackie tries to play matchmaker and orchestrates a trip that has Alex and Dominic working together on a story. We learn more about Alex’s past and why he is so focused on the story he is working on after an accident lands Dominic in the hospital. As the plot progresses I think I know the characters and where the story is going, then events occur and my opinion changes. I was intrigued. The story is not solely a romance but also contains political and social issues and I found myself wondering how I would react if placed in the same situation.
This is the first book I have read by Ben Ryder. I loved the vivid descriptions. They pulled me into the scenes and I was able to feel connected to the characters. I enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more from this author.
Rated 4 stars by Deb