Reviews: Crossroads & Shifting Gears: Riley Hart

With the upcoming release of Test Drive, the third book in the "Crossroads" series, scheduled for Monday, May 30, Kim and Jay offer a couple quick reviews of the first two books in one of their favorite series!

Crossroads (Crossroads #1)
Riley Hart
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Released July 28, 2015
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After divorcing the woman he’d been with since he was seventeen, Nick Fuller is starting over. He owns the restaurant of his dreams and he’s determined to meet new people, find new passions, and experience life to its fullest. Easier said than done—that is until he meets his new neighbor, Bryce Tanner… 

Bryce is all about a good time. He plans to show Nick how it’s done, help him meet a few women, and enjoy the gift of the single life he’s been given. But things don’t go as planned, and soon they realize they’d rather be together than with anyone else. 

Neither man has ever wanted another guy, but there’s a connection between them from the start—a spark they can’t deny. They find themselves navigating an unfamiliar new world and dealing with unforeseen obstacles. Physical desire isn’t enough, and now Nick and Bryce are at a crossroads. They have to decide which way to go: the easy path they’ve always followed, or the one that's determined to trip them up at every turn.

Crossroads was the first book I read of Riley Hart's, at the (almost insistent) recommendation of Kim. In fact, I'm pretty sure it was the first book she ever recommended to me. After reading it, I remember thinking something like "Damn! Kim can recommend anything she wants to me now!" because with this book, Riley Hart quickly earned a spot on my go-to list.

This is a double gay-for-you romance between the main characters, Nick and Bryce, who meet shortly after Bryce moves into the other half of the duplex Nick moved into a few days before. A fast friendship forms between them that quickly evolves into more without either of them realizing it for a while. Once they figure it out (the event that breaks the ice fits perfectly with Bryce's character,) it's a fairly straightforward easy read that contains a lot of the plot devices common to double-GFYs and has one particularly good secondary character. 

Overall, it's endearing without being overly angsty. These two communicate a lot better than most not-as-straight-as-I-thought characters I've run across, not that that necessarily says a lot *grin*. The main characters are likable and realistic and their struggles are believable. But what makes the book is that the attraction and chemistry between these two is simply delicious -- the way they work through the awkwardness of being clueless about gay sex is quite humorous and often smoking hot. And if you're like me and enjoy men who talk dirty, then this book is definitely for you.

This is passionate and heartwarming story of two men who found "the one" when they least expected it right next door. It is a journey of self discovery as they come to terms with what they really want and need, and all of the implications it has on their lives. I loved both Bryce and Nick and found them to be believable, multi-facted, and truly likable. Their connection and chemistry was strong and intense. Their struggles were realistic and heartbreaking at times. It was a sweet, steamy, funny, and emotional double gay-for-you/MM love story.

Shifting Gears (Crossroads #2)
Riley Hart
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Released February 10, 2016
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Rod Nelson is used to being someone’s good time, and that’s fine with him. Spending his days at his adult toy store, Rods-N-Ends, he never knows who he’ll meet. The second Landon Harrison walks in, he has Rod’s full attention. It seems as if Landon wants him too, so why won't the man jump in the sack with him already?

Landon never thought he’d return home to the town where memories lurk around every corner. He has to admit, Rod makes the adjustment a lot easier. He keeps Landon laughing. Despite the fierce attraction between them, he’s not willing to risk his newfound friendship to get laid.

Neither man wants something serious, but the more they're together, the harder it is to keep their hands to themselves, until eventually they stop trying.

But flings between friends are never simple, and as they attempt to shift gears, diving into their first relationship, they’re slammed with setbacks. If they want to truly move forward, before they hit the open road together, they’re going to have to let go of a past that could make them crash and burn.

Shifting Gears is another fun and steamy read from Riley Hart, featuring a secondary from the first book in the series.

The main characters, Rod and Landon, share a fear of allowing anyone to get to close to them because both have suffered from important people in their lives leaving them in the past. They meet shortly after Landon moves back to the area and makes a visit to the sex shop Rod owns. They become friends, and though it's clear to both that the physical attraction is strong, Landon refuses to have sex with Rod because he has a rule about not being friends with people he fucks. From there, it's a long, slow burn that (of course) leads not only to them doing it (and yum... hawt!) but also to them figuring out there's more than just a friendship between them. 

Like Crossroads, this is another easy, low-angst read with likable characters dealing with realistic struggles in a believable way. In addition to having appearances by the mains (Bryce and Nick) from the previous book, which is always a plus (okay, not always...but here their inclusion serves a valid purpose, so yes!), there are motorcycles and more dirty talk in this book too, two things that work well to rev my engine *smirk*. Oh, and if you like guys who play with toys in bed, make sure you read the bonus scene that follows the ending of the story.

I loved Rod in Crossroads, so was excited to read his story. This is about two men in need of friendship and a true connection, but so afraid to push for more. But the closer they get, the harder it is to remain just friends. 

Ron runs his own sex store. He is sarcastic, magnetic, affectionate, funny, but has a vulnerable needy core. Rod is all about sex and pushes it. Landon is the more stoic, alpha Motorcycle mechanic. He has returned to town to be near his family, but is starting over. He does not want to ruin their new found friendship with sex and awkwardness. 

Their pasts and family dynamics significantly marked them. They both have fears, doubts, trust issues and past demons. One is afraid to mess things up by loving someone, and the other is afraid of not ever being loved by anyone.

This is a friends to lust to lovers story told in dual points of view. It is a slow build for these two, but realistic in a lot of ways since they were so guarded and skittish or anything real. It is about facing the past, dealing with issues, learning to trust, and taking a risk. 

Nick and Bryce from Crossroads are both part of this story and I just adore them together and also their friendship with Rod and subsequently Landon. And we also met Landon's family in this one.This series is sexy, funny, but full of intense, emotions and true connections. The characters are flawed, confused, complex, but likable. I see a potential for one character to spin off into another story and I am looking forward to more from this author.

Test Drive (Crossroads #3)
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Expected May 30, 2016

A double shot of devastating news turns Justin Evanson’s life upside down. When he learns his father has cancer, and he has siblings he never knew existed, he leaves everything behind and moves to Virginia to support his dad as he tries to make amends with his family—a family Justin’s not sure he has a place in. Things go from bad to worse when he discovers his recent hookup is his newfound sister’s brother-in-law.

Drew Sinclair never expected to see Justin after their night at the club or to discover their family connection. If anyone found out, it would give Drew’s brother another reason to hate him. But there’s something about Justin that draws him in, and it’s not only because they burn up the sheets together.

One meeting leads to another, and before Justin realizes it, Drew has become the only thing in his world he feels is his. And for the first time in his life, Drew knows what it means to be needed. Being there for Justin and supporting him when things spiral out of control feels right. But with so much happening so quickly, it’s hard to trust their feelings. Is this thing between them real? Or just a test drive before life forces them down two separate roads?

Riley Hart
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Riley Hart is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She's a hopeless romantic. A lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together. If she's not writing, you'll probably find her reading. Riley lives in California with her awesome family, who she is thankful for everyday.


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