Hi there! Today, I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M New Adult romance from Jamie Deacon. CAUGHT INSIDE was a real heartbreaker for a boy who went to the beach with a girl…and fell for her gay cousin.
Catch the excerpt below and be sure to enter to win the $20 gift card!
About the book:
Luke believes he has his life figured out…and then he meets Theo.
It should have been simple—a summer spent with his girlfriend Zara at her family’s holiday cottage in Cornwall. Seventeen-year-old Luke Savage jumps at the chance, envisioning endless hours of sunbathing on the private beach and riding the waves on his beloved surfboard. He isn’t interested in love. Though his rugged good looks and lazy charm mean he can have his pick of girls, he has no intention of falling for anyone.
Nothing prepares Luke for his reaction to Theo, the sensitive Oxford undergraduate who is Zara’s cousin and closest friend. All at once, he is plunged along a path of desire and discovery that has him questioning everything he thought he knew about himself. No one, especially Zara, must find out; what he and Theo have is too new, too fragile. But as the deceit spirals beyond their control, people are bound to get hurt, Luke most of all.
How about a little taste?
I swallow against the dryness in my throat. “We need to talk.”
Slowly, as though wading through deep sand, I cross the room until I’m standing right behind him. He grips the edge of the worktop.
Still nothing. Only the convulsive tightening of his fingers shows he even heard me.
“Theo,” my voice cracks, “don’t do this.”
Theo sucks in a breath. When he replies, his tone is even. “Do what?”
“This. Shutting me out.”
“And don’t say you’re not, because we both know that isn’t true.” I’m aware of my voice rising, and lower it with an effort. “Just…don’t.”
Theo exhales in a long sigh. He turns to me, his expression distant but not unkind. I wish he’d glare at me, shout, whatever. Anything to show he gives a damn.
“Luke, I’m sorry about this morning. It was a mistake. If you got the wrong impression—”
“The wrong impression? You kissed me. What impression was that supposed to give me?”
He casts a nervous glance at the window.
“What’s wrong, Theo? Worried Giles might hear? I don’t blame you. He’d probably make you bathe in disinfectant for a year if he knew you’d kissed scum like me.” Theo starts to protest, but I shake my head. “You know what? Forget it. So sorry I embarrassed you.”
I need to get out of here. Humiliation, hot and clammy, coils like tar through my veins. Still, what did I expect? Theo’s made it perfectly clear how he sees me, that he thinks I’m beneath him. I grab for the nearest glass, intending to pour myself a liver full of whatever’s in that jug, but my hand shakes so much it slips through my fingers. Glass collides with oak in a minor explosion, glittering fragments flying.
“Shit.” I drop to my knees, begin picking up the larger pieces. I fumble, a jagged shard slicing my palm. “Shit.”
“Luke?” Theo crouches beside me.
“I’m fine.” I turn away from the phony concern in his eyes, fist clenched around the cut to hide it from view. Blood trickles through my fingers and onto my jeans. The pain is almost a relief.
“Let me see.” Theo holds out his hand, but I jerk away.
“I said I’m fine.”
He ignores me. With gentle firmness, he takes hold of my wrist, uncurling my fingers to examine the wound. My body stills. I scarcely breathe. Every nerve ending, every particle of my being is aware of him, the pressure of his fingers on my wrist, his warm palm supporting the back of my hand.
This is an interesting and tense coming-out story for a 17 year-old boy who finds himself hopelessly attracted to his girlfriend’s gay cousin while on summer holiday. Before anyone gets antsy, I’ll say this: it’s based in Great Britain, the age of consent is 16.
Zara is the only child of wealthy attorneys. She invites her boyfriend of a few months, Luke, to spend the summer at her family’s country house on the Atlantic coast of Cornwall. Luke, a virtually penniless boy has no better prospects and likes Zara well-enough to accept the invitation. Their chaperone is Zara’s cousin, Theo, a newly-graduated Oxford man who’s having trouble in his personal life. He had a bad break-up with his boyfriend and his father isn’t speaking to him since he came out.
Theo is a sweet man, who is highly attracted to Luke–and tries to pull back this attraction so he doesn’t hurt Zara. Unfortunately, Luke shares this attraction; he’s always dated girls, but had attraction to other boys before. Luke finds sex with girls to be less satisfying than he’d imagined. Zara’s full-on with her like of Luke, and she’s mostly a sweet girl. She has a *bit* of rich girl petulance, but it didn’t bother me overmuch; she sounds like a 17 year-old girl whose sexy summer is heavy on the sun, light on the lovin’. I got that, and I was also sympathetic to her situation. As well as that of Theo and Luke.
See, once Luke gets hooked on Theo, he’s not super attentive to Zara. He doesn’t want to hurt Zara or Theo, and this all might have blown over easier if Theo’s posh friend Giles hadn’t shown up. Giles is a Grade A Jerk, but his girlfriend Meredith is super nice, and she picks up on the Luke + Theo vibes early. She encourages then to come clean, but Theo wants to wait–wants to ensure there’s something to confess before they go breaking Zara’s heart. Plus, Giles seems, boorishly, to be hitting on Zara right in front of Meredith in some ill-conceived effort to get Luke to wake up and realize he’s dissing a great catch.
So, yeah, there’s a lot of crossed wires here, and Luke does halt his physicality with Zara in favor of Theo, but the bad juju comes back to bite both of them in the butt–just when Luke’s made the clean break from Zara he’d been avoiding.
Luke narrates his story which had a high probability for anguish, but never quite bogged in the potential melodrama. It’s not an easy read, because there’s lots of sneaking around–in the effort to not hurt anyone. In reality everyone gets hurt in that sort of scenario, and I think that’s what happened–but no relationship or person was permanently damaged. For all that there’s some serious shenanigans going on, and behind Zara’s back, this is a New Adult romance. The characters are between 17-23 years old, and they are gong to make impetuous mistakes. Luke and Zara have been together barely a few months; while that equates to roughly a decade in secondary school, it’s a blink for adults. Luke had always thought he was a bit of fun for rich girl Zara to slum with, and his insecurity is further inflamed by Giles’ artless recriminations. In contrast, Theo is a soul-match for Luke as they have more commonalities and develop a strong rapport–despite the income gap. In the best sense, it’s a case of right partner, wrong time, (or the reverse for Luke and Zara!) and Luke has a choice to make regarding his future–if Theo will be a part of it.
Come out, or carry on?
The end is really sweet. Luke makes good choices and he faces all his worst fears head-on. He also faces Theo’s worst fears, and the result is heartwarming. There are a few scenes of heat between Theo and Luke, though they are fast and on the down-low. That said, the emotions are out in full color on the page, and I was happy the resolution was so positive.
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Good luck, and keep reading my friends!
About the Author:
Jamie lives in a tranquil spot close to the River Thames in Berkshire, England, and has always been just a little out of place—the only redhead in a family of brunettes; an introvert far more at ease with dogs than with people; a connoisseur of simple pleasures in a society intent on the quest for wealth and fame. Despite an outward cynicism, Jamie is a romantic at heart, and, when not immersed in a book, can mostly be found writing emotional stories where young men from all walks of life are thrust headlong into the breathless, euphoric, often painful whirlwind called love.