Sunday, May 22, 2016

ARC #REVIEW On The Outside by Louise Lyons #RomHero #mmromance

Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: April 30, 2016
Publisher:  Louise Lyons
Length: 112 pages

Description: When Craig Ferguson is released from prison after a year’s sentence for fighting, he returns home to his father and brother, and the family business. Throwing himself back into the life he left, with family, work, and women, Craig tries to forget his time on the inside, but there’s one thing he just can’t get out of his mind. 

Cell mate, Rocky Kirk, still has six months of his sentence to go, and after a year together in a tiny cell, Craig misses him more than he cares to admit. He does his best to forget, but when Rocky is released, and arrives on Craig’s doorstep, homeless and hurt, everything that happened between them comes flooding back. 

Craig’s family takes in Rocky, now known as Kirk, and gives him a home and a job, but he’s reluctant to join in with their partying, and never seems entirely comfortable in their home. A few months later Kirk announces he has to leave, and when Craig presses him for an explanation, Kirk blurts out that his unwanted feelings for his friend are hurting him too much to stay. His admission changes everything, but Craig’s uncertainty, and fears of his father discovering their secret, threatens to ruin anything that could develop between them. 

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The premise of this story is intriguing: two men who share a cell, also share their bodies. Of course, it's just for sexual release... right?

Craig and Kirk are in prison for minor drug crimes. They end up cellmates and friends, and their friendship keeps them safe from the other inmates. But at night, they are more than friends. When Craig is released, six months before Kirk, he returns home to his brother and father. Now these two are interesting. On weekends, father and sons prowl the bars for women that they bring back home for a night of fun. (It's a little weird, but I have discovered that men feel quite differently about this subject than women do.) Craig is determined to get back into the groove of things. A discussion with his good friend Ben makes him realize that he wants more than one-night stands. 
"When did you become Mr. Faithful?"

"I guess I'm bored with fucking around."

"Well, then, you need to do some different things and meet more people. Join a gym or something. The one I go to has plenty of hot women prancing around in leotards."

I considered what he said. It couldn't hurt to take up a new interest. all I did was work, hang out with Dad and Stuart, and occasionally Ben, and wish I was doing something else. I'd been satisfied before, but being locked up twenty-four seven for a year changed my outlook.
The problem is that Craig wants what he'd had with Kirk: the friendship, the easy connection, the fulfilling sex. When memories of his time with Kirk turn into fantasies, Craig is deeply troubled. He isn't gay. It was just sex. His struggle is real.
It wasn't the first time I'd thought about him like that in the past few months. Each time I forced the thoughts away and convinced myself I remembered it because there'd only been him for a year. It didn't matter that his mouth felt better than any woman's; that his rough hands and hard body fired me up like soft feminine curves didn't. It was all in my head.
Several months later, when Kirk is released, he shows up on Craig's doorstep in need of a job and a place to stay. Craig's father lets him move into their spare bedroom and gives him a job in their construction company. 

I enjoyed seeing Craig and Kirk's friendship deepen as they get to know each other outside of prison. His acceptance of his true sexuality is slow, but believable. And his reluctance to come out to his family is even more so. Each step of the way I felt for him and for Kirk, who comes with his own sad story. 

All in all, I liked On the Outside. It is short and could have been further developed, the characters fleshed out more. But it is a  touching story, and Craig and Kirk are sweet. So if you like short and sweet romance with tender-hearted heroes, this is the book for you!

OUR RATING: 4 stars

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