Author: K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Length: 261 Pages
At a Glance: Wake is quite a journey. When the inevitable happens and crisis emerges, I found myself unable to put the book down.
Reviewed By: Taz
Blurb: A love worth the wait
Carter Hamilton and Riley Porter-Wright room together as Harvard undergraduates. An immediate friendship forms, but as the years pass it deepens into something neither man understands. As attraction simmers under the surface, lines begin to blur. When they move back to Manhattan, they gradually slip into the lives their families have envisioned for them.
Both men marry, but in time, Riley realizes he’s ended up in a passionless relationship like his parents’ while his career takes center stage. Although he loves his wife, Carter misses the emotional and physical connection he shared with Riley.
The weight of Riley’s feelings and his growing discontentment with his life eventually push him to tell Carter the truth about how he feels. Shocked and unable to face his own feelings, Carter rejects Riley.
As each man comes to terms with the lies they’ve told themselves, each other and the people around them, they find their lives changing in ways they never imagined. They soon discover that the truths they’ve been longing to tell shake the foundations of their friendship.
Review: Wake by K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn was quite a journey. I found, as I read, that I had to put the book down for a day or two and process before continuing. It was long, but no part of the book seemed unnecessary.
One thing I appreciated about this book was how the authors took risks. There are topics which will certainly hit sensitive spots for readers: cheating, divorce, abandonment, emotional neglect, but these are real things and happen every day. Just because this is a romance novel doesn’t mean that the authors should create perfect characters free from the weaknesses and flaws that people exhibit in real life.
The story takes place over decades and, through them all, Riley and Carter explore each other beyond the boundaries of best friends. At first, their dalliances were the stuff of college experimentation, jerking off together and such, but it escalates into something more, although it never transcends into a full relationship. This is where the tension in the story lies. One character is clearly in love with the other. While there are feelings both ways, neither seems willing to take the final step and admit what’s going on for what it is. Instead, they capitulate to family expectations and responsibilities, both coming from wealthy and public families and having names to protect. This draws even more people into the mess they are creating for themselves.
I found the characters to be complex, neither fitting precisely into the expectations I would normally have. Riley seems far more willing to explore his feelings for Carter, but he’s reticent to verbalize them. Carter, on the other hand, initiates much of what they do together. His actions speak louder than his words, but those words never come. And when the going gets tough, he definitely displays a weakness that made him less likable. I loved him so much up to that point and wanted so much for him and Riley to get together that I was able to overlook his choices, since they were realistic and came from a sincere place. Towards the end, we get to see the price he has to pay for the choices he’s made, which further helped in keeping him a likable person.
When the inevitable happens and crisis emerges, I found myself unable to put the book down. The action and emotions are so compelling I simply couldn’t stop to find out what would happen. As an odd twist, the authors chose to send the book in an unexpected way. This is no typical romance and it isn’t wrapped up with a pretty bow at the end. Instead, they leave us with one hell of a cliffhanger, wondering where the lives of Riley and Carter will go.
At around the 90% mark, I was like, how are they going to wrap all of this up? The closer I came to the end, the more I wondered what might happen. To their credit, the authors didn’t force an ending. We’re left with lots of possibilities but no clue as to the direction the story will continue. For that, we’ll have to read the next installment, Calm, now available for pre-order at Amazon and early purchase from Pride Publishing.
You can buy Wake here: