Saturday, October 18, 2014

Random Acts by Mia Kerick: Review, & Excerpt & Giveaway

Random Acts
Random Acts
by Mia Kerick
 Genres: Contemporary M/M Romance

Bradley Zelder can’t find his way in life. After struggling for nearly a decade, he has yet to complete his college degree. Working as a school custodian, living in blue-collar Landsbury, MA, his love life is as empty as the rest of his existence. But on his way home after another disastrous date, his truck breaks down in upscale Oceanside. When he thinks life can’t get any worse, a man who is the epitome of Boston elite and everything Bradley finds attractive and intimidating helps him move his truck to the side of the road. Ashamed of his lot in life, Bradley almost lets the opportunity slip away, but he comes to his senses in time and tracks Caleb down.

From a random act of kindness, romance begins to grow, filling all the dark corners of Bradley’s empty life—until a random act of violence threatens to take it all away. Bradley must step up and be the man Caleb believes him to be. Caleb rescued him from a life without hope. Can Bradley rescue him in return?
This WASN’T the first time I’d been attracted to a man, so I wasn’t freaking out over my interest in this gorgeous, but very male, Good Samaritan. And I knew it wouldn’t be the last hard-on I’d get for a dude either. I just had a thing for people who had their acts together—self-assured people who wore their carefree confidence on their faces, as well as in their very posture. Male, female—it didn’t much matter. I’d always been drawn to people I knew would have absolutely no interest in furthering their acquaintance with a pissed-off punk-ass like me. 
I guess that is the elusive thing missing from my recent attempts at relationships—the fact that I only want hookups with those who are way the fuck outta reach. 
But I had been limiting my dates to individuals who were less enlightened and definitely less intelligent than someone like Caleb Jorde, people I figured were well within my social grasp. And no, I hadn’t felt it with any of them… but I was feeling it now, all right. So much so, in fact, that I had to turn toward the passenger window for a quick moment so I could reach into the front of my pants to adjust my dick, as it had stiffened into an awkward and uncomfortable position. 
I filled Caleb in on the lowly town I’d long called home—where he’d offered so generously to return me. He hadn’t flinched even slightly but had simply said, “I’m quite familiar with Landsbury. I know exactly where Dennison Street is.” 
In response to my open-mouthed gaping (which was in response to his relaxed familiarity with the other side of the tracks), he simply smirked and said, “I teach school there.” 
After a bit more of my very unattractive, I’m sure, gaping, he’d winked and added, “Middle school social studies.” 
“No shit” had been my genius addition to the conversation. 
Studying the road, Caleb had just shaken his head. “Absolutely zero shit.” I was surprised at how smoothly even the vulgarity rolled off his lips. 
After a brief period of silence, and just to keep the conversation going, I asked him, “So you teach at Deering Junior High?” 
“It’s called Deering Middle School now.” 
“No shit.” Shit, I’d said it again. Shit. “Social studies, you said?” 
“Yes, social studies. I was on my way to pick up a cup of coffee. My Nespresso machine decided to cease and desist, and I haven’t yet had a chance to replace it.” I stole a glance at Caleb’s perfect profile as he drove, while silently congratulating myself. I had him pegged right down to his brand of coffeemaker. “Mind if we swing by Starbuck’s drive-through on our way to Landsbury?” 
I shook my head, nodded, and then shrugged. That ought to cover it. “May I buy you a cup of coffee, Bradley?” he asked. 
There I was, sitting comfortably in this guy’s shiny Volvo wagon, on his heated leather seats, after he’d just pushed my truck off the road. I knew what to say this time when I opened my mouth. “No way, man. The Joe’s on me.” 
He didn’t glance over again, but he smiled and shook his head, those full lips opening just enough to expose straight, white teeth. I had to readjust my dick again.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

RANDOM ACTS is an dramatic tale that focuses on how unpredictable life can be. By contrasting the darkness of violence, hate and loss with the light of selflessness, healing and love, Mia Kerick paints a stunningly honest portrait of humanity.

Each painful development that Bradley and Caleb face forces them to choose if they will give in to the weight of their burdens or find the strength to rise above. While the blessings in life do not always seem to balance the negativity, choosing to focus on the positive, while leaning on those you love in times of trouble, is a lesson we all should learn.

The raw and realistic emotional roller-coaster that Bradley and Caleb ride is both entertaining and thought provoking.   This is not a warm and fuzzy romance that I'd be tempted to read more than once, but I was impressed by the balance of humor and love that allowed RANDOM ACTS to deliver its message without being overwhelmingly negative. A well written and developed story line with steady pacing, engaging supporting characters round out this insightful novel.

Caution: Contains adult content, including physical violence/hate crimes, that are not excessively graphic but could be an emotional trigger for some readers.
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Mia has published four works of adult contemporary gay romantic fiction with Dreamspinner Press and four novels of contemporary LGBT fiction with Harmony Ink Press. Mia Kerick's books are recommended reads in the LGBT blogging/reading community, have spent many weeks on Amazon Hot New Releases and LGBT Best Sellers lists, as well as other notable bestseller lists, and have won awards for excellence in YA literature.