by E. Davies
Agoraphobe Jaden has barely left the house in years. Being dragged to a gay bar by his big brother to bid on a blind date is not his idea of a good time. But then the unthinkable happens: he wins. Sure, he was just about ready to push his boundaries–but on his own time. Not with a probably-gorgeous stranger watching his every move.
Henry hasn’t been on a date in the last year–ever since he finished with lower surgery. He works as a nature guide now in the great outdoors, and his new life suits him just fine. Just one thing’s missing: a man to share it with. Jaden is sweet, accepting, yet terrified by everything about the date that isn’t Henry. But he sees something in Jaden–in his courage for showing up, and his hope and vulnerability along the way.
Back home, when he’s in Denver in between guiding trips, Henry quickly becomes a staple in Jaden’s home. With Jaden’s understanding, Henry grows confident in his own skin. And with Henry’s support, the walls of Jaden’s sheltered life open up. But every step forward seems like it comes with two steps back. Can they take a deep breath and step into the wide open future–together?
This novel is based on “Denver” — a short story from the Heart2Heart 2 anthology. It has been revised and significantly expanded. It is now a standalone gay romance novel with a happily ever after ending and no cliffhanger.
MMy Thoughts, Confessions, and Review:
Confessions: I typically wait a day or two before I write a review. I like to ponder and just spend a little time with the characters in my head before putting my thoughts on paper. However, with Jaden and Henry, I found myself listening (TTS) to their story back to back instead. Halfway through the second read, I remembered doing the same thing with book one of this series, when I had Joel Leslie (narrator) in my ears. With a computer voice in my ears with “Freedom” listening to this book for the second time is a testament to the magical storytelling abilities of Davies. I’m already looking forward to this one coming to Audio.
Review: I know I have used the same words before to paint a word picture of Davies’ writing, and I am going to use them again because they are what I feel and see in my mind whenever I read one of his books. Davies pricks a piece of his soul each time he writes a book and bleeds the words into his story. A reader knows this in the way his characters are emotionally alive. It’s as if a person can feel the breath of the characters as they speak. I feel like each time I finish one of Davies’ stories I say, “It was my favorite.” **giggle… I may have to give up saying that and just conclude that my love for these books is like the love one has for shoes…different, but equal. 🤣
In “Freedom” I fell head over heels for Jaden and Henry. They each came into their relationship with demons. Neither had the answers nor pretended to. No billionaires, princes, or Masters to save the day in this one. Just two perfectly imperfect souls working out life’s twists and turns alone. At least until one fateful night when thanks to chance, fate, or simply a pushy brother and a wingman intervening, they had their first date. From there a friendship was born that grew to be something beautiful. The two souls learned to work together to battle their demons and navigate the twists and turns…
Final Thoughts: This is one series you can absolutely read as a standalone. However, I would never understand why anyone would. I mean, it is an E. Davies story after all.❤
As a throwback, and even a bit relevant in some ways, if you read between the lines, I’ve attached a video. Hope you appreciate my tribute to PRIDEs Past. May the word “STEALTH” become a foreign concept in the LGBTQIA+’s future. So, as you reach for this new book, by a truly prolific #ownvoices author be sure you click on ‘ol Georgie boy and let the beat move you! He was a favorite of mine too. It’s time to celebrate FREEDOM!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from GRR in exchange for my review.