“Even the best fall down sometimes, even the wrong words seem to rhyme, out of the doubt that fills my mind, I somehow find you and I collide.” – Howie Day
Author: Riley Hart
Pages/Word Count: 332
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: At ten years old, Noah Jameson and Cooper Bradshaw collided mid-air when they dove for the same football. For three years, they were inseparable…until one day when Noah and his parents disappeared in the middle of the night.
Noah and Cooper never knew what happened to each other. Now, seventeen years later, after finding his boyfriend in bed with another man, Noah returns to Blackcreek looking for a fresh start. And damned if he doesn’t find his old friend grew up to be sexy as sin. Coop can’t believe Noah—the only person he trusted with the guilt over his parents’ death—is back. And gay… Or that Cooper himself suddenly wants another man in his bed for the first time.
There’s no denying the attraction and emotion between them, but can they overcome the ghosts of their pasts to have a future together?
This title contains two strong, sexy men, and a passionate friendship that transforms into a sizzling hot romance.
Review: Riley Hart’s Collide, Book One in the Blackcreek series, is a friends-to-lovers romance that begins with an exclamation point that had me grinning before I even left page one, then kept me grinning right through the introduction of both characters. It’s the story of a love affair that starts long after a friendship has ended, a connection begun seventeen years before, when Noah Jameson and Cooper Bradshaw were too young to understand what the depth of their friendship would come to mean when they collided and became nearly inseparable from that moment on.
Until, that is, Noah’s father decided it was time to run again, and Noah disappeared from Cooper’s life without a trace.
The author reveals the circumstances around Noah’s sudden escape in hints and teases, as Cooper battles with his deeply lustful and confusing feelings for Noah, then finally exposes the dark and dirty little secret that stole Noah away from him all those years before. It was a great climax to the story of two men who’d only ever had unhealthy relationships to learn from, and was the perfect closure for Cooper, who’d, unfortunately, had only his uncle as an example of what it means to be a man, when the final obstacle is removed from him overcoming his fears and publicly acknowledging his love for Noah.
Riley Hart plays out the sexual tension between the two men to perfection, as they begin to reconnect and they see each other not only through the filter of memories but with the eyes of the men they’ve become. The chemistry and attraction sizzles between Noah and Cooper, fairly leaping off the page, while Cooper’s confusion and jealousy and possessiveness all weigh perfectly against his desire to be much more than just Noah’s friend.
Collide is a story that challenges labels. What does it mean to be bi or gay, when all you truly know for sure is that you love someone for who that person is and how they make you feel rather than what they look like physically? Cooper and Noah have a history that transcends the ability to place a definition on how or why they evolved from loving each other to being in love with each other.
The human condition is all Cooper suffers from in the end—wanting something he can’t have, feeling scared and uncertain when he can’t understand why he wants it, feeling angry when someone else wants what should be his, feeling possessive once that someone has been claimed, feeling ashamed for wanting him, feeling cheated when he discovers the betrayal that stole Noah from him all those years before, and in the end, realizing that passing up the chance to love someone and be loved by him in return is worth whatever sacrifice or challenges lay ahead.
Riley Hart has setup Book Two in the series, which won’t be a continuation of Cooper and Noah’s story but is one I’m waiting pretty anxiously for, as it will feature two key side characters, and if it’s anywhere near as good as Collide, this author will quickly take a place on my must-read list.