Friday, September 7, 2018

Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: LOVE IN THE CLOUDS by Sarah Hadley Brook

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Length: 54,094 words
Publisher: JMS Books


Rafael Patino has a great life in Rain Valley. He’s a teacher at the high school, has a great group of friends, and enjoys the occasional baseball game. Other than the sporadic call from his drunken mother, he’s pretty content.

He’s also been in love with his best friend Dustin for nearly a decade. Years of keeping those feelings under control are put to the test when they begin a summer project together.

Dustin Vance builds furniture for a living, has just earned his pilot’s license, and has an amazing best friend. When he buys a 1976 Cessna Skyhawk, he asks Rafael to help restore it, then travel with him to Wisconsin for the largest aviation convention in the world.

As they spend their days working on the plane, they begin to spend their nights together. Will they find love in the clouds, or will they stall out before they even take off?


A cool breeze blew past him as he walked into the night. Rafael texted Dustin before he pulled out of the parking lot, letting him know he was leaving and asking about Mac’s phone number. But since Dustin was probably sound asleep, he’d likely have to get that number after sunup.

As he turned onto his street, he saw a vehicle in his drive—Dustin’s Honda. His best friend had a key, so was probably inside.

He eventually found Dustin sprawled on his sofa, sound asleep, his arm crooked over his head. Rafael felt drawn to him like a magnet, but being too damned tired to fight his urges, he let himself look. Dustin’s T-shirt had ridden up, showing a stripe of pale skin, and Rafael imagined it soft and silky. His fingers itched to slip under the hem. He stared a little too long, though, and by the time he dragged up his gaze to

Dustin’s face, he found his friend staring back at him, smirking.

“You want to take a picture of…something?” he drawled teasingly.

Heat flooded Rafael’s cheeks and he forced a chuckle. “Whatever.”

Dustin rose and hugged him hard, as if just remembering what had happened. “God, I’m so sorry, Raf. Is the girl going to be okay?”

Rafael nodded, but wrapped Dustin in his arms, his head falling on the man’s shoulder. They stayed like that for a while. With anyone else, Rafael might have been embarrassed that he was fighting the urge to cry. Dustin held him tight and shared his strength. It crept into Rafael, shored him up. Helped him get past the image of Daisy huddled in that hospital bed. At least for a while.

When he finally pulled away, Dustin kept his arms around him and Rafael was too exhausted to read anything into it.

“Why are you here?”

“Because I know you, Raf. I know you care about your students—you open your heart to everyone. But I also know you’ve been particularly worried about this girl. I just didn’t want you coming home to an empty house.”

Rafael’s heart cracked more and he felt raw, open, and vulnerable. The world had reared its ugly head and shown its hideousness. He also felt lonely. Bone tired and so lonely. And he didn’t want to be lonely. At least not for the night. He swallowed hard. “Will you…stay?”

Dustin nodded, no hint of hesitation in his blue-green eyes. “Is there anything else I can do?”

Carra's Review

This book is one of the best examples of the best friends to lovers trope that I have read….I just wanted to put that right up front.  It’s one of my absolute favorite tropes, so that’s saying a lot…but I mean every word.  I loved these characters, the setup, the execution, and the fact that it was incredibly sweet but also incredibly hot.  The story is definitely one I’d classify as feel-good, and these guys had me smiling almost the entire time I was reading.

Both Rafael and Dustin are wonderful characters, both are smart and sexy, and with them it’s a case of best friends who are so entwined in each other’s lives that to everyone around them they already appear to belong to each other in every way.  It’s just getting them to admit that to each other that they have to overcome; once they do, the heat part goes on overload and we find out that these guys are perfect for each other in EVERY way possible.  They just had to come to the realization themselves and act on it ;-)

I want to say so many sweet and sappy things about these two together, but I think I’d just wind up gushing about them over and over.  They’re two honestly good guys, and we get to see them at a point in their lives where everything just clicks for them.  If you need a story that will make you happy, this is the one you need to read.  You may think from what I’ve said here that it might come across as too sweet, but the author actually does a great job balancing the sweet with the characters’ hesitance to expose their true feelings, and with the blazing heat they generate physically once they finally admit how they feel for each other.

Bottom line—5 stars for this truly endearing yet spicy story, and if you love this trope in M/M romance, you definitely MUST add this book to your library.  There are some really good supporting characters too, and I’m hoping the author is planning on telling some of their stories as well…Mac?  Conner?  Just sayin’…oh, and if the “hot” and “spicy” comments didn’t tip you off, this one’s for readers 18+ for adult language and fan-worthy sexual content. 

Author Bio

Sarah Hadley Brook lives smack-dab in the middle of the Heartland and is the mother of two wonderful young men, as well as two cats. During the day, she works in the nonprofit world, but reserves evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go. When not working or writing, she can be found reading, working on dollhouses, trying her hand at new recipes, or watching old movies and musicals. In her ideal world, Christmas would come at least twice a year, Rock Hudson and Doris Day would have costarred in more than three movies, and chocolate would be a daily necessity. She dreams of traveling to Scotland some day and visiting the places her ancestors lived. Sarah believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.


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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the beautiful review! I am so glad you enjoyed Rafael and Dustin's love story! And you are very perceptive- Mac definitely is getting his own story! I had too much writing about the guys from Rain Valley and the airport to stop here.