Monday, April 4, 2016

ARC #REVIEW What Once Was Lost by A.M. Leibowitz #mmromance #romhero

Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: March 13, 2016
Publisher:  MLR Press, LLC
Length: 74 pages

Description: When their son goes missing on a camping trip, Brook and Casey are given a chance to make amends for their past mistakes with each other.

Following a volatile break-up with his partner, Casey has been raising his son, Ryan, mostly on his own. While Ryan is on a camping trip in the Adirondacks, Casey and Brook make another attempt to work through their differences, with disastrous results. But when Ryan and his friend disappear in the mountains, Casey and Brook travel together to find him. The tension leads to an opportunity to listen to each other, reconcile their history, and recover the love they once shared.

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What Once Was Lost takes place 18 months after the 6-year relationship between the two main characters ends quite spectacularly with a case of cheating. I won't go into the details of it here, but I will say that as the story progresses, it becomes clear that there was blame on both sides and that the cheating was the result of some pretty awful manipulation by the third-party. I found the choice of main characters interesting. It's nice to read stories about people who don't have perfect relationships.

Regardless, we are eighteen months later and Casey has custody of the couple's teenage son, Ryan, who is actually the nephew of Casey and Brook. At this point, I felt like I'd missed something in the story. I don't know of the author has another book about when Casey and Brook first got together, but it sounds like it would be quite interesting. As it stands, the current relationship between Casey and Brook is, as with most separated couples dealing with visitation, very acrimonious.
In confusion, Casey slammed the door shut.

"Open the damn door, Case," the man on the other side said.

Casey growled and opened it again. "What the hell are you doing here, Brook?"

"I came to get my kid for the weekend because you failed to drop him off."

"We talked about this weeks ago." Casey glared at Brook. "Ryan's going camping with Annie, Chuck, and their kids. You knew about this."

"Maybe I decided the answer is no." Brook crossed his arms. "You never gave me the choice--you just told me what was going on, same as always. I'd like a say in what happens this time."

"Not gonna happen. Also, you have no business showing up at my door. We agreed to a neutral location for a reason."
Despite the hard feelings and anger, both men still have strong feelings for each other. And in an effort to at least be civil for the benefit of their son, they agree to talk while he is away on his camping trip. One thing leads to another and soon those feelings explode, but is this a new beginning or revenge? You be the judge!
Casey's stomach rolled, and he stepped forward with a low growl, causing Brook to press himself against the counter. He hauled his fist back, ready to strike.

"I needed you to feel something for me again!" Brook yelled. "Not that empty place where I didn't know if you even wanted me anymore."

Brook was breathing hard as he looked directly into Casey's eyes, silently pleading with him in a way that brought a new feeling to Casey's gut. Something snapped, and instead of bringing his fist forward to punch Brook, Casey grabbed his shirt and leaned in to crush their mouths together. The kiss wasn't tender; it was bruising and desperate, and Casey poured all his rage and grief and longing into it.
As mentioned in the description, Ryan and his friend goes missing on his camping trip, both Brook and Casey go look for him. When night falls and the boys haven't been found, Brook and Casey go to a motel--yes, a motel. This is the perfect opportunity for the two of them to talk and begin a reconciliation. Trouble is--is this the right time? Some readers might not think so. On the plus side, the chemistry between the two men is powerful and the sex is hot.

The writing in What Once Was Lost is very good. It's smooth, the dialogue is natural, and the emotions are real. And so even while, at times, I was lost, and ,at others, I found the plot to be a little unbelievable, I still enjoyed the story.

OUR RATING: 4 stars


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