Title: There’s This Guy
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 200 Pages
At a Glance: Slow burn romance between a man abused by life and a knight in slightly dented armor desperate to save him.
Reviewed By: Caer
Blurb: 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 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 sweet, artistic 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.
Review: Rhys Ford is known—at least in my world—for gritty stories with a large dash of action/mystery. There’s This Guy doesn’t disappoint. In some ways it actually ups the ante.
Dallas is an out-and-proud gay man who’s sure of his life and his place in it. His family is charmingly endearing and supportive, his best friend is vividly effervescent, and his life is just so. He’s scouting out a possible business location when he locks eyes with a sexy welder across four lanes of traffic, and time stops. He buys the building and sets out to see what, if anything, he can build with the mystery man working in the shop across the street.
Jake is barely hanging on. He was raised by an abusive father and a mother who loved her husband more than her child. That’s no picnic, and it wasn’t helped with both of them taking Jake’s homosexuality in the very worst way possible. Add those together, toss in his father’s grinding illness and his mother’s death, and every day is another test of Jake’s endurance. The only thing that gives him any peace is his art—he’s a metal sculptor—and then, Dallas. Except Jake has never had anyone truly love him before, so why should Dallas be any different?
This book started off with a huge shock of angst and, while it does get a bit lighter as it goes, it gets nowhere near sweet and fluffy. Since I’m a fan of that, it totally worked for me.
The large bulk of this story is watching Dallas slowly encourage Jake to step out of the shadows. In some ways Jake reminded me of a feral cat, all slinking and claws with surprising moments of sweetness coming through. Dallas is patient enough to move slowly while Jake decides to trust. I loved that as much as I loved some of the curve balls thrown into the narrative.
As always with a Ford book, the secondary characters are often as interesting (or more so) as the main characters. In this one we get Dallas’s best friend, who I absolutely adored. She’s a total firecracker, and I’d love to see a book about her in the future! The banter between her and Dallas throughout the story is one of the very best parts of the whole thing and adds some much-needed tension relief.
I really loved There’s This Guy. I can definitely see rereading this on a dreary day or when I’m feeling blue, so I, too, can feel a little sunnier by the end.
You can buy There’s This Guy here: