Authors: K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Length: 288 Pages
Reviewed By: Taz
At a Glance: After completing Calm, I can say with confidence that this two-book set is well worth the time and emotional toll it takes to read.
Blurb: A love worth the wait.
When Riley Porter-Wright comes out as bisexual and confesses his feelings for Carter Hamilton, it severs their friendship. Carter’s rejection forces Riley to move on and he’s shocked to learn Carter’s marriage has fallen apart.
Overwhelmed by his failure as a husband and father, Carter misses Riley, but feels guilty for disappearing after Riley’s coming out. After Riley extends an olive branch, the former friends agree to repair their relationship. Slowly, Carter pieces together a new life, admits his attraction to men and confesses his feelings for Riley.
Leery of Carter’s initial rejection, Riley turns his focus to a new man, Will Martin.
Disappointed, Carter fosters new friendships with men like Jesse Murtagh and Kyle McKee, while also navigating new waters with his ex-wife, Kate, as their children learn their parents are dating other people.
As they rebuild their friendship, both Carter and Riley draw strength from each other, hoping the choices they’ve made are for the best.
Review: I read Wake, the prequel to Calm, what feels like a long time ago, and then work and life got in the way. and I didn’t do as much reading or reviewing for a while. But with summer approaching, the books I’ve been neglecting have been calling out to me. On that list was this book, one I’ve been anticipating reading for the better part of a year. The story picks up seamlessly from where the last left off. Even after such a long time, I was able to quickly immerse myself back into the lives of Riley and Carter.
I remember being a bit miffed at the end of Book One, frustrated that the authors had left so much up in the air (see my review of that book on this site). I wrote the authors about this, and they let me know that the book was too long to put into one story and that the two-book release was supposed to have occurred closer together to avoid my reaction.
Well, I forgave them immediately because they gave the promise of how the story of these two guys I had gotten to know would end. And I was not disappointed with that ending.
In the first book, there was an issue of cheating that I cautioned readers about. I know some people find that element of a story to be off-putting. In Calm, the authors do a fantastic job of avoiding cheating, while portraying the very real situation of being in a relationship with one person while wanting to be with another person. Perhaps, if you consider emotional cheating a thing, there is an element of that, but we all have eyes and our bodies and hearts want what they want. This is true and real, and the authors portray that reality with sensitivity.
In fact, they pay a great deal of attention to the struggle of heart and head. Not just in terms of Riley and Carter dating other people instead of each other, but in all areas of the characters’ lives. First there’s Riley, who’s known all along that he wants Carter but found something great in Will. Was it fair to him to deny himself a wonderful man? Was it fair to Will for him to pursue a relationship when he knew he was still in love with Carter? Next there is Carter, who has a family and an ex-wife to consider as he figures out who he is impacting more than just himself. And finally, there’s Kate, adjusting not only to divorce and the fact her ex-husband is gay but that he’d cheated on her during their marriage and loved their best friend. These complications made for a rich and believable story; one which does a great job of exploring the pains and trials of being human and seeking happiness.
There are several characters who add depth to the story. Some add sweetness and innocence such as Carter’s kids. They see the world as children do, believing in goodness and feeling with pure, inexperienced hearts. On the other side of the spectrum, we experience hateful parents who say and do things that make the reader wish explosive diarrhea upon them. These characters strengthen the story and add a richness to what Riley and Carter must overcome to find a happy ending for themselves and everyone they care about.
After completing Calm, I can say with confidence that this two-book set is well worth the time and emotional toll it takes to read.
You can buy Calm here:
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