Hi there! I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M romance from Carmen Jenner that really gets raw–and that’s not the best thing. FINDING NORTH is a reconnection romance between childhood loves that were separated by hate, but not distance. It’s a real struggle for these soulmates to find peace together in their homophobic corner of Australia.
Catch an excerpt, my review and get in on the $50 Amazon Gift Card giveaway below.
Friends since kindergarten, North had been the one to jump first, and his fall into Will’s bed ten years ago had been no exception. Will and North had been inseparable, but things change, people grow apart, and even a blazing flame can dwindle to a dying ember over time.
The more things change the more they stay the same.
After a run in with a bottle of Bundy rum, Will and North find themselves in a compromising and all too familiar position. Blurred lines, bad decisions, and one wrong foot after another lead these two down a spiral of sarcasm, secrets, and sex, but when North’s hetero status is called into question he can’t figure up from down. And despite Will telling himself he wouldn’t fall again, he’s head over heels and wandering without a compass.
Love is love.
Love is truth.
Love … shouldn’t be this damn hard to figure out.
How about a little taste?
I push my glass towards him for another refill, downing the shot of liquid courage. “You ever think about what might have been?”
Will scoffs and sets his glass down. “You’re seriously asking me this?”
“What?” I say, getting pissy now, because he acts as though he’s the only one who lost something. “I can’t ask a question?”
He takes another sip, avoiding my gaze. The humour has left his face; his mouth forms a tight line as he stares down into his drink. “You can’t ask that question.”
“Okay then,” I say, agitated that he’s calling the shots. I ask a question I’ve been wanting the answer to for a very long time. “Why didn’t you leave?”
“Jesus, not you too.” Will shakes his head. “You sound like Josh.”
“Who the hell is Josh?”
He slams back the rest of his drink and beats his fist against his chest. “Fuck buddy.”
“You have a fuck buddy?” I clench my jaw. I’m starting to see why Bundy has a bad name. Right now, I’d like to find Josh and beat his fucking head in.
Will laughs. “Look at you getting all jealous.”
Is he fucking kidding me?
“How long?” I say through my teeth.
“How long have I been fucking him? Or how long is his cock? It’s about five for both.”
“Five what?” I snap. “Days? Weeks?”
“Months.” He rests his elbow on the bar, dangling his glass from his long fingers. “And inches.”
“You been fucking this Josh for five months, and you didn’t think to mention it?”
“I’ve fucked a lot of men in the last twelve years, North. Why would I mention any of them to you?”
“I kissed you.”
“Yeah, and I didn’t ask for it,” he says, swirling the liquor in his glass. “How many women have you slept with in the past twelve years?”
I don’t have an answer for him. I don’t even remember half of their names, only that I was fumbling around in a drunken stupor, trying to grab onto just a little bit of happiness. On the outside I have all my shit together, but inwardly I’m hollow. I’m the worthless piece of shit my father always told me I was, and I’d bury my dick in anyone in an attempt to find something that made me feel even half of what Will had that summer.
Will and North are two thirty year old men who grew up the best of friends in Red Maine, Australia. They were inseparable and Will was hopelessly in love with North. Growing up in this small, working-class town, both Will and North were raised by their fathers–North’s mother committed suicide when he was young, and Will’s mother abandoned them. While Will’s father was kind, compassionate and loving–accepting Will’s sexuality with nary a complaint, North’s father was an abusive drunk, and a homophobic bigot. Time changes nothing in Red Maine.
Will and North are enemies as adults. North cast Will out, refusing to associate with him any more after they turned 18 and Will’s sexuality became common knowledge. Will works hard at his family’s bar, picking up the brunt of the labor since his father’s stroke. He keeps a low profile and speaks absolutely never to his old mate, North. Thing is, North has been putting himself in Will’s way of late, and it seems that he wants to get physical. Something Will hates himself for wanting, after twelve years of silent seething over North’s complete betrayal.
This is a fantastic enemies-to-lovers, second-chance romance. Will is so frustrated, with North and himself, and he’s not simply going to let North off the hook for wanting to “play gay.” As the story unfolds the reader get’s both Will and North POVs recollecting their lives in the past and present, with their first steps toward embracing the passion that they share for one another.
The dynamics between Will and North are appropriately strained for two men who’ve had such a troubled past. Add to that North’s abusive relationship with his father and we see that the narrative Will had embraced for the past twelve years has been tainted by his own shame and loss. Will is reasonably skeptical that North will ever be able to embrace a real relationship with him. And North is not ready to come out, at all. Their world is sheltered, bigoted, and dangerous–and North has had first-hand experience with violence his entire life. Even as a man grown, he’s knows better than to indiscriminately poke his bear of a father.
This book contains disturbing scenes, from dubious consent to domestic violence to a violent hate crime. It is raw in it’s portrayal of this romance, and kept me riveted due to the nagging fear that this was all going to go very,very wrong. The end was spectacular, a happy ending that befitted the rotten start Will and North had in life and love.
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Good luck and keep reading my friends!
About the Author:
Carmen Jenner is a thirty-something, USA TODAY and international bestselling author of the Sugartown, Savage Saints, and Taint series.
Her dark romance, KICK (Savage Saints MC #1), won Best Dark Romance Read in the Reader’s Choice Awards at RWDU 2015.
A tattoo enthusiast, hardcore MAC addict and zombie fangirl, Carmen lives on the sunny north coast of New South Wales, Australia, where she spends her time indoors wrangling her two wildling children, a dog named Pikelet, and her very own man-child.
A romantic at heart, Carmen strives to give her characters the HEA they deserve, but not before ruining their lives completely first … because what’s a happily ever after without a little torture?