Release Review: Out of Frame: Megan Erickson

Out of Frame (In Focus #3)
Megan Erickson
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Expected May 15, 2016

Romance trades the open road for the high seas in the latest from the author of Focus on Me and Trust the Focus...

Perpetually shy, Quinn Mathers is content to remain in the shadow of his brash best friend Jess Hartman. But before their college graduation, he and Jess have planned one last hurrah: a spring break Caribbean cruise.

And it won’t be just any cruise. On board are members of the reality show Trip League, which follows young twenty-somethings on adventures around the world. Since the show’s beginning, Quinn has been fascinated by J. R. Butler, with his amazing body, warm eyes, and killer grin. Unfortunately, he’s straight—or so the world thinks.

At nineteen, J. R. signed a contract to play straight for the show, and there’s no way to get out of it now. Yet with each passing day, Quinn and J. R. find it harder to keep their hands off each other and to keep out of the camera’s frame. But when the lens finally focuses on them, J. R. must decide if he’s willing to risk his career by admitting his bisexuality, and Quinn must determine if he's bold enough to stand in the spotlight with the man of his dreams... 
Quinn and his best friend, Jess are going on a  spring Break cruise along with the cast of the reality show Trip League.  Quinn is gay, shy, awkward, analytical, and always concerned about consequences. He's already got a bit of a crush on one of the reality stars J.R. Butler.

J.R. is supposed to be straight with a wonderful girlfriend at home. Well, at least that is the public perception that his agent created for him. In reality he is hiding his bisexuality. There is a dichotomy between his trouble making, straight public persona J.R. and his true softer self, Jay.  He needs to be successful to send money back to his family so he has to be careful about his career. He has been living this bad-boy, straight persona so long that he is starting to lose himself and become despondent about his future. He truly longs to be himself and be in a relationship with someone.

These two meet and both have reactions they try to hide. Quinn has no idea what causes J.R.'s mood swings. But eventually it comes to a point where J.R. needs to be honest with him. But J.R. has to keep his rep intact and out of the media--and Quinn has already been one guy's secret so does not want to go through that again. So their lives are not in a place to explore their intense attraction and growing bond.

For the first time Quinn feels truly noticed and understood when he usually feels part of the background. He needs to get out of his parent's suffocating care,  live his own life, and find his own way, but finds it difficult to push his boundaries at times. All J.R. wants to do is be himself and come out, but feels trapped. He feels obligated to sacrifice his own happiness for the sake of his family. But he is able to let down his walls around Quinn during their time together even if he is afraid he won't get to keep him.

This is a book about two men figuring out who they really are and trying to find the strength to be who they want to be. But the world is not always easy to navigate or tolerant. And sometimes external pressures and public scrutiny can be overwhelming. The fishbowl J.R. is living in just causes more pressure and makes it more significant.

But these two men found a connection, They just have to figure out if it is worth fighting for and making themselves truly vulnerable to the consequences both personally and professionally. How will one cruise and one man change the other's life?

I enjoyed the dual point of view and getting to see their feelings and fears. I liked seeing their layers peeled back and their vulnerability, as well as how they tried to empower the other.

I have not read the rest of this series and had no trouble reading it as a stand-alone, but there were cameo appearances by the couples from the other books Colin (Jess's brother) and Riley  from Focus on Me  and Justin and Landry from Trust the Focus. I loved Jess. She was sassy, fun and sweet, and she and Quinn shared a special friendship and bond. The other supporting cast of the tv show Casey, Levi, Selena, Paisley, and Adriana added more fun, humor, drama, and support. The setting of cruise ship on Spring Break and the background of the reality show made more opportunities for shenanigans. The next book Overexposed will be about Levi and I am looking forward to his story. This was a humorous, sweet, emotional story of self discovery, hope, and strength.

ARC provided by publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. 
In Focus Series
Megan worked as a journalist covering real-life dramas before she decided she liked writing her own endings better and switched to fiction. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. When she's not tapping away on her laptop, she's probably listening to the characters in her head who won't stop talking.


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