Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M romance from Tara Lain. LOVE YOU SO MADLY is the second book in her Love You So series and features a successful business man who unexpectedly falls for the office handy-man. I’ve really loved a bunch of Ms. Lain’s odd-couple romances including VOLLEY BALLS, BEAUTY INC and THE LORD OF A THOUSAND STEPS to name a few.
Scroll down for an excerpt, my review and to enter the $10 Amazon GC giveaway!
About the book:
Ben Shane has it all… and he’d like to give some of it back. While he loves his job heading a foundation that funds worthy causes around the world, his engagement to one of America’s wealthiest men leaves him feeling more like a trophy wife than a valued partner. The first warning that his relationship might not be designed to last is his irresistible lust for Dusty Kincaid, the golden-haired, bright-eyed handyman for his company.
Though Dusty is odd for a twenty-three-year-old—no liquor, no sugar, and he can’t even drive—the more Ben gets to know Dusty, the more he admires him. But is Ben going to give up a guy who drives a Ferrari for one who takes the bus? He must be mad. Dusty knows he and Ben can never work.
After all, Ben’s perfect… and Dusty isn’t. But Ben might surprise everyone with proof that he’s only madly in love.
How about a little taste?
In the car Dusty said, “Can we listen to that nice music again?”
He’d noticed. “Sure.” Ben flipped on the Chopin.
For a few minutes, they rode in music. Ben cleared his throat. “Dusty, do you mind if I ask how old you are?”
“Oh sure. I’m twenty-three. How old are you?”
Ben almost laughed. As an executive in a top firm, nobody ever asked him that. But turnabout was fair. “I’m twenty-nine.”
“Wow. You’ve done a lot in your life.”
“Thank you.” Ben glanced at Dusty.
“I haven’t been able to do so much, but I’m working at it.”
“That’s what counts. Keep moving toward your dreams.”
“I like that idea a lot.” He leaned his head back and closed his eyes.
“So your dad doesn’t live at home?”
“No. Never has. My mom’s taken good care of me, though.”
“Has she always been a nurse?”
“No. She had to work so hard. She was only sixteen when she had me, but she never gave me up, no matter what anyone said.” He took a deep breath and let it out in a long exhale. “And no matter how hard it was.”
“She sounds amazing.”
“She is.” He looked out the window. “It’s hard for her to, you know, let me do stuff, but she’s the best mom.”
“So you’re not married?” Ben chuckled.
Dusty mirrored the chuckle. “Not yet.”
“Have a girlfriend?” Oh, very subtle, Shane.
“Not yet, huh.”
“Not ever. I’m gay. But I don’t have a boyfriend yet. I’d like to, though.”
Well, okay. Ben swallowed. “You would?”
“Sure, wouldn’t you?”
“I’m, uh, engaged.” Shit. Shit. Shit. When did I decide to become Mr. Purveyor of Truth?
The passenger seat became deeply silent.
Ben glanced over. Dusty’s eyes were closed, and he seemed to be breathing deeply.
“What?” His eyes fluttered open.
“Sorry. Just asking how you’re doing?”
“Good, thanks. Just drop me on the curb over there.” He pointed to one of the entrances to Orange Coast College.
“How will you get back to my place?”
“Bus.” He smiled, but his glance scampered all over the place as he opened the door. “Have a great day.”
Ben couldn’t stop. He put a hand on Dusty’s arm—his sinewy, muscled, hot-as-fuck arm. “Dusty, what’s wrong? Come on, tell me.”
“Nothing, honest. Just sometimes it’s hard not to wish I was somebody else.”
While this is the second book in a series, it’s easily enjoyed on it’s own.
Ben Shane is a 29 year-old manager of a foundation that oversees corporate donations. He matches donors with worthy causes that align with the person’s, or corporation’s, missions-slash-beliefs. Philanthropy is a huge part of Ben’s mindset, and it’s partly why he’s struggling with his new fiance, Alan Ashland–sole heir to the Ashland fortune. See, Alan can’t wait until they get married and spend weeks on end traveling for their honeymoon. While Alan seems to have a deep affection for Ben, he also wants a trophy husband who will make all his society dinners and be able to jet-off…whenever for whatever. There’s a lot of tension there, and also over BEn’s unwillingness to sell his cottage in Laguna that’s currently being re-habbed.
Ben has mixed feelings about his life plans, and it doesn’t help that he’s more than a little intrigued by Dusty, the genial, hard-working IT-fixer and general handyman in Ben’s office. Dusty is 23, yet he lives at home with his overprotective mother, can’t drive or drink alcohol. He’s fastidious about his diet, and he’s eager to help Ben out–in whatever capacity Ben needs. Dusty fair swoons for the man, and is deeply disappointed to learn Ben’s engaged. Still, Dusty accepts the offer of a part-time job managing the construction project at Ben’s home, and that’s where things get messy.
Having Dusty in Ben’s home really crosses their wires. The pressure between Ben and Alan has reached crucial levels, and the simplicity of hanging around with Dusty makes it plain that he’s not happy in his relationship. The chemistry is fantastic, but Dusty’s big medical secret is a barrier–perhaps. I liked how the reveal was made, with Dusty and Ben finding more than common ground in ways neither expected. It was intriguing how Dusty’s welfare dove-tailed with BEn’s business plans, and also helped connect these two when it seemed unlikely they would find happiness together. Dusty is a sweet guy, and Ben is in the middle of a personal crisis. Some readers might not like how Ben isn’t exactly honest about his feelings, but the timeframe seemed to allow the flexibility for Ben to recognize that Dusty was the man for him, even as he needed to carefully disentangle himself from Alan.
The happy ending came in a way that Dusty could hardly believe, but felt right for the story. I liked the plan to work with Dusty’s medical situation, and also how he was much more than his disease. If you didn’t read the dedication, well, you wouldn’t know what was going on with him until Ben was half-way in love. For me, that’s important, and I liked how the character was a person who managed his life, not one who was controlled by his medical issues/history. There are some fun side characters here, including a raucous, wealthy woman whose down-home wisdom helped Ben with his life-changing decisions. Also, cameos from the MCs of the first book in this series will likely please readers. There isn’t a lot of steam, but the feels are right out on the page.
Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.
Good luck and keep reading friends!
About the Author:
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her bestselling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.
She lives with her soulmate husband and her soulmate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!