How do you save a drowning man when that drowning man is you?
Jake Moore’s world fits too tightly around him. Every penny he makes as a welder goes to care for his dying father, an abusive, controlling man who’s the only family Jake has left. Because of a promise to his dead mother, Jake resists his desire for other men, but it leaves him consumed by darkness.
It takes all of Dallas Yates’s imagination to see the possibilities in the fatigued Art Deco building on the WeHo’s outskirts, but what seals the deal is a shy smile from the handsome metal worker across the street. Their friendship deepens while Dallas peels back the hardened layers strangling Jake’s soul. It’s easy to love the artistic, sweet man hidden behind Jake’s shattered exterior, but Dallas knows Jake needs to first learn to love himself.
When Jake’s world crumbles, he reaches for Dallas, the man he’s learned to lean on. It’s only a matter of time before he’s left to drift in a life he never wanted to lead and while he wants more, Jake’s past haunts him, making him doubt he’s worth the love Dallas is so desperate to give him.
There's This Guy starts out very dark and is a super slow burn of a romance, and I was very much appreciative for that slow burn in this case. It's a heavy story and Jake, especially, needed the time. And I loved it, I really did.
Jake (or Jacques) Moore is a pretty screwed up guy. He grew up in an abusive household, being told by his mother that being gay was an abomination, and his father, well...his father was abusive before he knew and was homicidal, after. Growing up in that kind of environment is hard on the soul and Jake never felt worthy of anything more. And the one time he reached for something more, he got slapped hard by life and that is something he never forgot. So Jake is in a dark place that he has no idea how to leave.
In between Jake's moments of darkness, he is a welder, by trade. He specializes in historic restorations and he's an artist. I knew a metal sculptor, once, and she could do amazing things with metal and a blow torch. Jake is like that, and if it weren't for that outlet, he'd probably have succumbed to the darkness, long ago. As it is, Jake's life has been on hold while his father's life drags on in hospice and though the old man isn't worth the oxygen he breathes, Jake won't let him die alone.
Dallas Yates has had a very different life. He's from a family that loves him and accepts him and he's never wanted for anything. His current project, a drag club on the outskirts of WeHo, is how he meets Jake, because the building's original metalwork needs to be restored. Dallas and his best friend, Celeste, have their work cut out for them to get the building to where it needs to be before they will be ready to open Bombshells.
From the very start, there's an attraction between Dallas and Jake, but their romance takes time because Jake is pretty broken and isn't ready to face who he is. They become friends, and Dallas recognizes that a friend is what Jake needs most, aside from therapy, which he encourages. I was happy for that because Jake needed more help than a friend, or boyfriend could provide. No magic dicks here (thank you, Rhys).
There's This Guy starts out in a dark, heavy place, but as the story progresses, the feeling gets lighter as the weight on Jake's soul lessens. But do not expect anything fluffy, here. This story is anything but fluffy. And as Jake sees that he is not only worthy of love, but actually loved, it's beautiful. I've enjoyed many, many books by this author, and in my opinion There's This Guy is her best work to date.
ARC of There's This Guy was generously provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
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