Monday, March 23, 2015

Out of the Blue by RJ Jones: #Review #Excerpt #Giveaway

Cover Artist: LC Chase
Out of the Blue
by RJ Jones

Expected Publication: March 27th 2015
Length: 60,000 words
Genres: Contemporary, Gay (M/M), Erotic, Romance
When everything happens Out of the Blue…

Lt. Cameron Cooper has been with the San Francisco Fire Department for fifteen years. He’s seen and dealt with a lot of horrifying situations. He’s always considered himself mentally tough, but when he attends a multi-vehicle accident and sees a dead boy with features remarkably similar to his long-time boyfriend, his mental health takes a hit.

All Jake Montgomery wants is to propose to his boyfriend on their ten-year anniversary. He’s already bought the perfect rings, but when Cameron struggles to look at him after a tragic accident, he has doubts about their future. Cam is withdrawing, and Jake doesn’t know why.

With heated arguments and cold shoulders, Cam and Jake’s life starts to fall apart. Just when Cam thinks he can overcome his issues and finally talk to Jake, memories from Jake’s past threaten to push them apart forever.
I turned on the shower without stepping in and waited for the water to warm up. I looked in the mirror above the sink, I looked like hell. Yeah, it was a tough night—one of the worst—and my body ached all over. The mirror fogged up as I stared blankly at myself, which was my cue to move. I adjusted the temperature and stepped into the shower, bracing my hands against the tile. I closed my eyes as the warm water sluiced down my back, offering relief to my aching muscles. All I wanted was to shower and climb into my comfortable bed with Jake’s nice warm body.

I’d never needed anybody as much as I needed Jake. He kept me grounded when my job made me want to fall apart, like it did last night. Being a firefighter in a large city could take its toll on your mental health sometimes, and I’d seen some things that no one should ever see. From car wrecks to suicides, house fires to machinery accidents, some images never left you.

I felt Jake’s presence before I heard him. I knew he stood outside the shower and watched my shadowy form. I’d always been able to tell when he walked into a room, always sensed when he was near, even when I couldn’t see him. Ever since the first time I saw him on campus over nine years ago, the awareness had never gone away. And after almost ten years, my heart still skipped a beat every time I saw him. Every time.

I heard Jake’s footsteps a second before he opened the shower door and climbed in behind me. I didn’t move. Jake wrapped his body around mine, pressing his sculpted, hairless chest to my broader back. Tightening his arms around my waist, he rested his cheek against my shoulder blade.

“Hi,” he whispered. “Bad night, huh?”

I didn’t say anything. My voice had left me, and all I could do was hang my head lower and release a quiet sigh. Grabbing one of his hands, I entwined our fingers together, letting them rest on my flat stomach. Jake held me for a long minute, and I relished the feel of his body against mine. Jake sighed and tried to release my hand, but I didn’t want to let go—he’d always been my anchor and I needed his touch to ground me.

“Let go, Romeo. I’m not going anywhere, just let me take care of you before I go to work.”
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

When reading a book for review I have a personal policy to finish each story. Some books seem to be failures until the end, when every moment that felt wrong comes together in a rush of clarity. OUT OF THE BLUE is not one of those stories. It was difficult to read emotionally. Jake and Cameron have been together almost ten years. A decade, as anyone who is (or has ever been) in a committed relationship knows, is not easy to achieve. It takes love, commitment, respect, empathy and the ability to compromise. When circumstances between Cameron and Jake began to unravel I anticipated challenges but believed that their long history together, and love for each other, would prevail. I was not expecting this story to become a handbook for what not to do when the going gets tough.

Cameron is traumatized by his experiences during a horrific accident. It begins to change him, and by extension, his relationship with Jake and his co-workers. His experiences and reactions are heartbreakingly well written. He is a man at the end of his rope, desperately trying to keep his life together but lacking the resources to do so.

Jake, the man who claims to love him above all others, reacts with what I consider to be an epic failure to communicate. He sinks deeply into a pit of "poor me" rather than supporting his fragile and hurting partner, firmly laying all the problems in their relationship on Cameron's doorstep, while essentially ignoring his own shortcomings. While shooting venomous arrows of blame in Cameron's direction he doesn't acknowledge that his own dishonesty, selfishness, and pride are equally damaging. While Cameron genuinely suffers, Jake's primary affliction is that of a blatant double standard.

I realize that there will be readers who enjoy this story, but they will be looking at it from the perspective that the situation is fictional instead rather than reality. Without addressing all of the issues that Jake and Cameron face, there is no way for them to fully break free from the cycle of mistakes and prevent them from happening again.

I started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn’t until two men pop into my thoughts, insisting on telling me their story that I started to write. It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the shower.

My initial thought was if I could write their scene then they’d shut up and allow me to concentrate on other aspects of my day. That shower scene was 3000 words long and three hours of work. But they didn’t shut up. They told me their entire story and I didn’t sleep for days. Sometimes I couldn’t keep up with what they were telling me and I had to keep a notebook by my bed.

Whilst I was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit. You see the problem? If I ever want to sleep again then I need to write.

I’m a wife and a mother to two boys. Even my dog is a boy. I am surrounded by males.

Tour Dates/Stops:
Carly’s Book Reviews
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  1. Congratulations on your the release of your first book!!! The excerpt and the cover are great to.

  2. Congrats on the release of your first book, RJ!

  3. Love the cover! Congratulations on the new release!

  4. congrats rj and sounds like a great read

  5. Congratulations on the release of your book. I'm looking forward to reading this.

  6. Congrats on your newest release!! New to me author and already added to my TBR!! Thanks for the giveaway!!

  7. Congratulations on release of Out of Blue! You must be so proud! I am for you! I am looking forward to reading this! Thank you for the post and the giveaway!

  8. Congrats on the release. The book sounds great. I can't wait to read it.