Title : Fall Apart
Series : The Liaison Series, Book #4
Author : SE Culpepper
Publisher : Self Published (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 482 pages (e-book)
Published : October 28, 2013
Rating : ★★★★1/2
B L U R B :
Dodging his ex, giving the Best Man speech, and smuggling home extra slices of wedding cake are Damon Wright’s only plans on his buddy’s wedding day. Capturing the attention of a renowned photographer with twice the sexual magnetism of James Bond doesn’t even make the list. Accustomed to a life spent keeping his head down, managing family obligations, Damon is unprepared for even a lukewarm pursuit, much less the hot, focused advances of a man like Alarik whose sophistication leaves Damon reeling.
Tired of the vapid, morally bankrupt and grasping fellows so common in his line of work, Alarik is through serving as just another step for mercenary men on the ladder to success. Damon’s kindhearted reserve excites a profound response within him, enticing him with the idea of an honest future. Compelled to dig beneath the surface in search of something lasting, Alarik can’t help but wonder if falling in love can be as easy as breathing.
Yet, fairytales don’t exist in the pace of real life; they disappear in shadow. Absorbed by the happiness of finding one another, Damon and Alarik never see the darkness coming…
R E V I E W :
I absolutely adored this book – it might even be my new favourite in the series! It had everything – fun and humour, top notch smexy and then it also took you to the dark side, as the title alludes to. I really cried in this book. As always SE Culpepper gives the reader a huge cast of characters that come alive off the page – but this book is different in that it gives us a couple we have never met before. Normally we get to meet the guys (or at least one of them) in a previous book and already form an opinion of them before their book…. think Mark and how many readers hated him! Fall Apart is different – the two MCs, Damon and Alarik, are totally new characters – and they were wonderful! Throughout the book we have their story alternating with a Zane and Mark (from Question Mark) storyline, until the two arcs join together with somewhat of a bang!
Brit boy Alarik’s college friend, Mandy, is getting married. He is at the wedding as the non professional photographer. Damon is the best man at the same wedding. The guys meet, obviously, and the attraction is immediate. Damon’s ex is there too. He is a dick! Alarik overhears something, puts 2 and 2 together and puts the ex well and truly in his place! *swoon*. There were times that the book read a little bit like a Bronte novel – but I liked that – hence my swooning!! Damon is really attracted to Alarik but is kinda off kilter because of his ex, so he heads home asap – leaving Alarik looking all over for him. Thank goodness our British boy is not to be outdone, and all Bond-like he manages to track Damon down – determined to get his man! I loved the determination of Alarik ♥ plus, ya know… I have a weakness for Brits – so he won me over pretty quick! Damon has his own strengths too – he is a good guy, all American boy-next-door, one of life’s givers – generous to a fault almost. The two guys fall into a pretty special and strong relationship really quickly, but it was believable – they both are at a point in their lives where they are ready to settle down. Not settle. They both know that there is something special here. Then they are hit with a double whammy – a past love and a sad loss broke my heart, and these guys apart. 😦 Alarik wants to fight for what they had and could have with his Mr Wright ♥ but everyone has a breaking point….
That is all I am saying. You really need to read the book to feel the broad range of emotions SE Culpepper rips out of you – as I said – I laughed, I cried, I swooned. It has everything! As it is different from previous books we thought we too would mix it up a bit – so Whit and I thought it would be fun to discuss some of the aspects of the book in as unspoilery a way as possible – these are some of our thoughts …..
(a new character to the series)
Barb : Max is sooo intriguing. I am guessing he will definitely be next book up, and I think it will be a heartbreaker. He seems so messed up 😦 I thought he handled himself pretty well with Alarik – he let him know he was available, but didn’t push. I liked him.
Whit : I totally agree Max coming out will come with a whole lot of complications. You could almost feel his struggle between wanting physical contact with a man and keeping his secret. I’m wondering just how much he liked Alarik. Maybe he did initially but the second time around could have just been attraction and convenience? I was completely intrigued by his character. He really demanded attention while on page. I wonder what kind of guy he’s going to fall for?
THE TWO PRONGED PLOT
(Alarik & Damon v Zane & Mark)
Barb : I quite liked it. I know people may feel that it detrected from the power of the Alarik/Damon/Todd story by shifting gear into the Zane/Mark story but I definitely needed it…. it let me catch my breath, to regroup almost, before I got back to the falling apart bits.
Whit : Gah…see I think the amount of time spent with Alarik and Damon getting together vs. the amount of time apart AND dealing with, you know what , didn’t balance as well for me. I guess I would have preferred more of Alarik and Damon sharing page time with another couple’s POV in the story. I LOVED getting to see Zane and Mark again. I won’t ever gripe about that.
Barb : I just loved these bits. Looking back I cannot believe how much I disliked Mark in book 1. He is just so funny now, well – I should say him and his brothers. They Crack. Me. Up!! And as for Zane he truly could be anagrammed up to become “a Zen” character like no other. He really is sublime. In his interactions with Pershall (more on him later…) and his love for Mark and his family, even his brothers – it is just heartwarming, toe tingling, wonderful ♥
Whit : I agree with you about Mark, Barb! I was surprised at how much I loved him during his and Zane’s book. I LOVE the brothers. It was nice to see that entire family again. Zane does have that cool and calm thing going on. It was so sweet to watch Zane take care of Mark when he was sick. ♥
(new character – another actor)
Barb : So…. do you think he will be Max’s love match in the next book? I am in such a dilemma over this! The guy is a grade 1 dick – and not in a good way!! On one hand I know that Culpepper is the Queen of redeemable characters (see Mark, and to a lesser degree Christian) BUT on the other hand I love that she has a wide character set – both straight and gay – she never falls into the trap of everyone having to be gay in her books…. So on the other hand (shit! I don’t have a third 😛 )…. I guess I trust her to take me where she leads, and I know I will end up loving the destination and the trip!
Whit : Well, he’s certainly going to be around! We have to have faith in S.E because we both agreed she redeemed Mark and made us fall in love with him. It would certainly give him an opening to meet Max on set. I’m sure Max will shut his smart mouth up when he gets out of line. Ooooh….that could be fun!
I loved Alarik’s character. He’s witty and fun. Extremely sexy. Damon’s character was a little more “guy next door”. He seemed to come alive with Alarik. I loved the trio of friends. 😦 How everybody was intermixed and were there for each other made me love the characters more. I was so nervous Damon wasn’t going to snap out of his funk before Alarik gave into Max’s advances. So this one was pretty emotional and the title makes much more sense after reading it. Again, I can’t rate it as high as the others in the series because I needed more time between Alarik and Damon. It was their book after all. Still a good read. This series is a favorite of mine and I was looking forward to the next one the minute I finished Fall Apart.
FINAL BARB BIT..
(she always has the last word :-P)
I know this book has a different feel to it – new couple, double story arc – some people won’t be keen on that, maybe hesitant to take the plunge – and I know the book is not cheap. But trust me when I say this book really has the lot! Drama? oodles! Heartbreaking drama that will leave you tearful. But also the typical Culpepper humour – there are some really funny lines and quips that are now her signature. There is a scene where the 4 guys take a car out for a spin – it was just pure unadulterated silliness that had me grinning like a crazy lady at my kindle! Also some beautiful heartfelt chats between Damon and his Dad, and also with his nephew about being gay, and what that means. So many wonderful bits in this book!! We at LYLBTB got this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. And honestly? I loved it!! So much so that I am putting my money where my mouth is and offering up a copy – all you need to do is make a comment, any comment – and you are in the drawing to win the book.
Rated 4.5 stars by Whit AND Barb