Please welcome JK Hogan with
Coming About #3
Rory Donovan’s life is a hot mess. His marriage is failing and he’s in intensive psychotherapy, working through the unfortunate side effects of memories from a childhood trauma. The only thing good in his life right now is his job—teaching photography to gifted high school students.
Harbor Patrol officer Bennett Foster is co-parenting his teenage daughter with his high school best friend Jessie. When he meets Addison’s teacher and realizes they’ve met before, he can’t get the sexy stranger out of his head.
Striking up a sexual-tension-filled friendship, together they must help an angsty teenager deal with a dying friend. Bennett must keep his little family from falling apart while Rory struggles to come to terms with his new reality. Somewhere along the way, most unexpectedly…love happens.
Dr. Conlan treated me to a rare fond smile, almost motherly in its warmth. “I’m pleased to see you happier than you have been.”
I grinned back, but then my brow furrowed. “Does this make me gay?”
“Does that matter?”
“I don’t know. Should it?”
“I’ll never understand the fascination with labeling things that our society seems to have. To me, sexuality is as intangible as the universe. There’s no way to truly know what’s out there, and how it all relates to everything else.
“As humans, we seek to know, to understand, and somehow we feel that putting things in boxes and labeling helps us do that. But some things are fluid, changing and developing with the tide of the evolution of life. Do me a favor, Rory. Don’t put yourself in a box.”
I was dumbfounded, stunned speechless. I knew I’d remember Dr. Conlan’s words for the rest of my life, and I would try to stay as true to them as I could. “I won’t,” I whispered.
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While I knew that Rory had some issues, I didn't realize what they were. This blurb makes me worried. Yes, I know this is a fictional character, but childhood trauma won't be easy to handle. And if this trauma is sexual in nature, I'll likely be crying.
Well, damn. I cried. Not just once.
In this 3rd installment of the Coming About series, we find out about Rory's story. Rory, who's steady and reliable, and kind of tends to fade into the background, even as big as he is, because nobody really sees behind his mask of jolliness, and nobody knows, not even Rory, what's making him so sad and feel so lonely.
I'd never heard of skin hunger, but then I googled that, and OMG. Cue the tears. To think that Rory craves touch, needs it like he needs food and water, but can't get it because he can't meet the expectations behind his wife's touches, was simply heartbreaking.
Rory, a photography teacher at a private school, is in therapy because his young marriage is failing miserably. He doesn't like sex, and his wife is demanding it. He can't perform in bed, doesn't get anything out of it, and he wants to get help to make it all better. Because that is the kind of person Rory is - he's there for others and doesn't ask for much himself.
While in therapy, the childhood trauma hinted at in the blurb comes to light.
Yep, cue the tears #2.
Stunned at having forgotten this horrific experience, Rory doesn't know how to deal, until his therapist makes a suggestion - stop all sexual activities, and find out what works for you.
Rory's wife Maia moves out, having expressed in a joined session that she's not strong enough to help him. WTF, Maia? That's your husband asking you for help with a traumatic incident that he's working through for your sake too? I found her reaction callous and uncaring, and good riddance to her.
Rory has a student in his class, Addison, through whom he meets Bennett Foster.
Bennett sees immediately that Rory is not the happy-go-lucky guy he pretends to be. Intrigued, he tries to get to know the man.
I absolutely loved the interactions between Bennett and Rory. Bennett seems to know exactly what Rory needs, and he holds back and lets the other man lead. Their relationship starts out very low-steam, more of a friendship, but blossoms over time as Rory finds out who he really is, what he really likes. It was simply beautiful to watch how Rory learns to ASK for what he needs, as he discovers what he really needs, and how Bennett was there every step of the way to provide it all. I liked that Rory's discovery of "I'm gay" wasn't a huge drama, that he had enough confidence to say "well, this is who I am, alright", and I loved how Bennett didn't fall into a major trap of questioning that discovery.
I also loved that Addison was a fully fleshed-out character, and her teenage angst and conflict rang true and authentic. She's a huge catalyst for Rory and Bennett's progress as well. Jessie, Bennett's best friend and baby-mama, also plays a big role, and she was well done too.
Overall, this is a sweet, somewhat quiet story about finding yourself, figuring out just who you are, overcoming a traumatic experience, and gaining your one true love. Through it all, even with the drama about Maia's brother, and the sadness with Addison's friend Sarah, the whole book has an overall tone of hope and light.
And so much love.
Superbly done; I couldn't put this down. While this can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend you read the entire series, in order, to get the full impact.
Now, JK Hogan, please write me a book about Neal Hesse, yeah? He needs a story too.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **
We had an opportunity to ask JK Hogan a few questions...
Hi JK, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Hey, there! IRL I’m a pretty normal gal, wife and mother and fur-mommy. I stay at home with my son and alternate between writing and graphic design. I’m also currently carrying my second son.
I started out writing m/f paranormal romance—I have a series of three books if anyone is so inclined—but I started writing exclusively m/m in the last couple of years. I just have more fun doing it.
My new release, Unbreak Broken, is (probably) the conclusion to my Coming About series. It features Rory, everybody’s favorite cuddly straight guy, who ends up being not-so-straight, but not without a lot of heartache and…well, therapy. He gets paired with a sexy cop with a teenage daughter, and much drama ensues. Hope you enjoy!
- What is the biggest thing people think they know about your subject/genre that isn’t so?
That it’s all about sex. Just like the silly stereotype that being gay equals being super promiscuous, a lot of people believe the same about m/m romance. Just like m/f romance, there are different heat levels and categories based on how explicit the stories are. I can only speak for myself, but the story comes first and the sex happens when the plot calls for it.
- What are some references you used while writing this book?
I had to do a lot of research on cognitive therapy techniques and Freudian concepts since Rory’s therapy was so intensive. I also consulted a lawyer-friend of mine regarding divorce procedures and minors’ right to refuse medical care.
- Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My interest in stories was always there. Even when I was a young kid, I had little notebooks full of “cast lists” for my toys along with basic plot points for whatever game I was playing at the time. LOL. I didn’t get interested in actually putting down words (beyond poetry) until about midway through college.
- What do your plans for future projects include?
My immediate future plans include surviving attending GRL 6 months pregnant, then surviving the rest of this pregnancy. ☺ Long term goal would be to continue to build my back list and attend cons, etc, so hopefully by the time my boys are both in school, I can continue to write full time.
- Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you. Thank you, thank you. I write because I love it, but the idea that you enjoy reading what I write blows me away. I’m always in awe when I read a discussion about one of my books—even if it’s not entirely favorable, just the idea that two or more people read it and cared enough to talk about it is pretty much the dream!
More about JK Hogan:
J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them. J.K. is hoping to one day have a little something for everyone, so she’s branched out from m/f paranormal romance and added m/m contemporary romance. Who knows what’s next?
J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives in the country with her husband and young son, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading! For more information, please visit www.jkhogan.com.
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