Series: Between Breaths #5
Published by Penguin on 4/21/15
Genres: New Adult, Romance
From the author of All of You and Before You Break comes a new Between Breaths male/male standalone romance about the silent, inked up skateboarder and the tattoo artist who unravels him piece by piece…
Tattoo artist Cory Easton has worked long enough at Raw Ink to know, just by looking at a dude, what his body art reveals, what makes him tick, what even makes him scared. Until he meets the quiet and remote Jude York—so unreadable, so unreachable, and so unlike anyone else, he can’t help but arouse Cory’s curiosity.
As captivating and complex as his ink, Jude is a mystery—and Cory’s falling fast and hard under his spell. Against his better judgment to steer clear.
The rumors of Jude’s past overshadow him—whispers of prison and an unmentionable secret that’s kept him in the protective shadows of a local motorcycle club. As Cory probes deeper, he wonders how much he really wants to know. Especially since Jude has awakened something inside him that has been buried too long—and has him feeling completely alive for the first time in forever…
I was so looking forward to this book. While I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d have liked, I still give props to the author for taking a risk and writing a M/M romance. In fact, the romance was the best part of this book. I truly enjoyed Jude and Cory’s love story, but I had issues with the plot and pacing. This romance had the potential to be something I loved, but it just fell short in my eyes.
There You Stand tells the story of Cory, a twenty something tattoo artist, who puts on a happy face as he tries to work through the grief and loneliness in his life. He’s game for a hookup now and then, but he’s getting tired of those empty nights. He fantasizes about Jude, the taciturn skater boy who he sees around town.
Jude is reserved and secretive. He’s hiding from something and his fear prevents him from even having conversations with people or else he might reveal too much of himself. No one knows anything about him, and he has to keep it that way.
I both loved and hated this aspect of the story. The lack of conversational interactions added to the sexual tension, and I loved trying to read Jude’s motives. I also loved seeing Cory’s frustration as he went back on forth on whether Jude was worth the aggravation; if he should risk his heart for such a reserved guy. And when I say he’s reserved, I mean it (Jude barely said two words to Cory for about 25% of the book). While I initially found this intriguing, and I loved the tension as Cory tried to unveil Jude’s secrets, I quickly became annoyed. I appreciate a slow build as much as the next girl, but if I make it to 50% of the book, and the couple still hasn’t made any progress…that’s just too much.
I felt like this story needed to be told using a dual point of view. There was just too much going on with Jude and when it was all unearthed, there was too much expositive dialogue. I feel like if we’d seen what he was feeling the whole time, then his revelations would’ve been more believable and added more emotion to the story. Also, a dual POV might’ve helped with the pacing. This book isn’t a very long one, but it took me a while to read, because it was slow.
I don’t mean for this review to be so critical, and I truly did enjoy experiencing Jude and Cory’s romance, but I just wanted it to be better. The sexual aspect of this story was A+. I mean, it was sexy as hell, and there were some cute moments. I just didn’t buy the emotional stuff, and the action/suspense was lackluster.
I wanted to love this so much, and I’m sad to say that I didn’t, especially since I thirst mightily for more diverse books. I appreciate Christina Lee so much for taking a risk and writing a romance about two men, and I hope more authors will do so.