Hi there! Today I’m excited to share a review and giveaway for a newly re-released M/M contemporary romance from mega-writer Rick R. Reed and a writing partner, Vivian Dean. STRANDED WITH DESIRE features a boss and assistant stranded after a plane crash finally admitting their hidden desires for each other. If you liked THE PERILS OF INTIMACY, LEGALLY WED, or THE SECRETS WE KEEP you’ll likely enjoy this one, too.
Scroll down for an excerpt and to enter the $10 GC giveaway.
About the book:
CEO Maine Braxton and his invaluable assistant, Colby, don’t realize they share a deep secret: they’re in love—with each other. That secret may have never come to light but for a terrifying plane crash in the Cascade Mountains that changes everything.
In a struggle for survival, they brave bears, storms, and a life-threatening flood to make it out of the wilderness alive. The proximity to death makes them realize the importance of love over propriety. Confessions emerge. Passions ignite. They escape the wilds renewed and openly in love.
When they return to civilization, though, forces are already plotting to snuff out their short-lived romance and ruin everything both have worked so hard to achieve.
How about a little taste?
Colby LaSalle never dreamed his life would end in a plane crash over the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. But here he was, whispering fevered petitions to the Lord as the plane screamed, plunging downward…faster, faster.
Out the windows, all he could see was white. And the only outcome he could imagine was that once that white cleared, the last thing he’d take in would be towering pine trees and the cold side of a mountain hurtling toward him. It was almost too horrific to comprehend.
In those few moments, as Colby braced himself in his seat, head down near his knees, he found himself thinking what a loss this was. The man across from him, his boss, Maine Braxton, would never know the most important thing about Colby. And that thing was not his proficiency as an administrative assistant, keeping Maine on track and on schedule in all his business affairs, but that Colby was passionately—and secretly—in love with him. With all his heart and soul.
That fact, and the unspoken words that hid it, seemed tragic to Colby, maybe even more tragic than the life he was about to lose. What kind of life, Colby wondered, did you really have if you’d never truly loved and been loved in return?
Colby, at twenty-eight, had never been in love before. And now it looked as though he would never have the chance to act on his desire, on that feeling that made his heart flutter whenever Maine walked by his desk. Was love like a tree falling in the forest? If the object of that love never knew of it, did it really exist?
Colby looked up for a moment, maybe to have a final look at Maine, but was distracted by the view through the cockpit window of the six-seater plane they were traveling in—a Beechcraft Bonanza. The opaque fog of white cleared for a moment, and Colby could see, to his horror, that his imagination was correct.
They were hurtling toward the side of a mountain. The view was surreal. Shock kept him from thinking it was anything other than a very vivid nightmare.
He then looked over at Maine and saw he had slid from his seat to the floor. The strong, powerful man cowered there, hands over his head. His lips moved in what Colby could only assume was silent prayer.
Colby longed to slide over, to cover Maine with his own body and shield him from the impact, but he was paralyzed, a butterfly pinned to a board, and could only add his own whispered prayers to those of his boss.
“Please, God, help us get out of this alive. Let Maine know how very much I love him. Give me that chance.”
The private pilot, a blustery, gruff man named Gus Pangborn but whom everyone just called Rooster, shouted, “We’re gonna try and go up! We’re gonna try and go up!”
Colby didn’t know if he was talking to him, Maine, or himself, but the desperation in the pilot’s gravelly voice was clear. The despair in Rooster’s words communicated one thing to Colby and one thing only—he had no hope.
Colby squeezed his eyes shut tight and placed his head back down toward his knees again, covering it with his hands, although he wondered how much good it would do once the plane crashed, once it was consumed by a giant fireball.
What Colby LaSalle didn’t realize, though, was that the plane crash would signal not the end of his life, but the beginning.
Colby LaSalle is an out gay man in his mid 20s. He’s the executive assistant to Maine Braxton, CEO of Braxton Enterprises, a sexy engaged man in his late 30s. Despite Maine being engaged to a beautiful woman, Colby pines a bit for Maine. Their few years of close acquaintance has kindled a burning flame Colby can’t put out. They are in Seattle for a business trip when Maine is warned about some espionage being planned back in Chicago. He instructs Colby to make plans to immediately return home, using their corporate jet, but to not tell anyone.
When the plane goes down in the Cascades a couple of hours later Colby and Maine believe they are truly alone, with no one knowing they need a rescue. Two days on a mountainside with heavy rains and little food or shelter is all Maine needs to confess his closeted sexuality and deep love for Colby—who’s both excited and agonized. While he’s overjoyed that his affection is returned, Colby is less than convinced that Maine will both break off his engagement and come out of the closet.
And, with the threat of exposure further compromising Maine’s stewardship of his family business, Colby is sure his only options might be as a secret side piece. But, Maine’s a decent man, and he knows that Colby is worth loving out loud. I liked the tension that existed between these two positions, especially when we get to meet Maine’s fiancé, who truly is a great lady. Maine and Colby are both so sweet, and good men. It was easy to root for them connecting and making a path forward together, especially following the danger of their ordeal in the mountains.
I liked this story a lot. I had a few issues with continuity, which I think may stem from two thing. First, I’m a native Chicagoan and have lots of experience with the commutes in and around O’Hare—a bit of the driving stuff made me shake my head. Second, I wondered about some details of time being a bit off, in terms of word choice, where it seemed Colby’s employment was only two…or a few…years, give or take. Beyond that, it’s an engaging survival romance, with a sassy coming out storyline. Happy endings all around.
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Good luck and keep reading my friends!
About the Author:
Real Men. True Love.
Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Find him at http://www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.
Vivien Dean has had a lifetime love affair with stories. A multi-published author, her books have been EPPIE finalists, Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Nominees, and readers favorites. After spending her twenties and early thirties traveling, she has finally settled down and currently resides in Northern California with her British husband and two children.