Review: Chasing the High by Beth Michele

Note: This ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

This is Beth Michele's first foray in the M/M romance genre, but it better not be the last because her wonderful way with words--as evidenced by my first ever read from her, Life in Reverse--has transcended one romance category and she's proven she's more than capable of writing a beautiful love story about two men. Chasing the High left me with such a high that it's become my favorite Beth Michele read. Yes, I know I've only read two of her titles, including this one, but I already have a third one waiting for me on my e-reader, For the Love of Raindrops, so I'm working my way on making up for not having discovered her writing earlier. But back to this latest release of hers. My love for M/M romances is hardly a secret, but while I'm easily satisfied by a good story and characters, I don't hand out five- and five-plus-star ratings simply because there are two men falling for each other. For that to happen, there has to be that extra thing that makes it more than the usual, and Chasing the High checked every single one of my boxes.

Twenty-nine-year-old bestselling author Sam Stone is on his honeymoon...alone. After waiting for his groom to show up and belatedly realizing that he had been jilted, Sam's parents and sister insist he still fly down to Hawaii to enjoy the sun and the surf and try and not think about his now-ex-fiancé--a man who also happened to be a longtime friend. On the flight, he meets a rather antagonistic man who makes it glaringly obvious that he doesn't really like having Sam as his seatmate, which is kind of sad since the guy is rather good-looking. Lo and behold, the man also happens to end up in the same hotel Sam's at, but after a couple stops and starts, Sam and twenty-six-year-old Drew Mariano strike up an unexpected friendship. Drew entices him to take more risks and explore his more adventurous side while vacationing in Hawaii. The more time they spend together, the more Drew comes to mean to Sam. But the last thing Sam needs is to become attached to this guy who's straight, no matter how gorgeous he may happen to be.

Drew Mariano doesn't do long-term relationships. He's never been in love and has no plans of amending his status from "single and always ready to mingle" to "in a relationship that's destined to end anyway, so why bother". After a breakup, Drew decides to take a vacation, but it doesn't start off all that well when he's stuck sitting beside a guy who he can't help but think of as stuck-up and pretentious simply because he clearly has money. When it's clear that he's being too much of a jerk, Drew decides to make nice. Not only does he discover that the guy is actually one of the good ones and worth getting to know, but also happens to be well-known author Sam Stone. Being around Sam takes Drew out of his comfort zone. It's as if Sam can see beneath the veneer he uses to keep other at a certain distance. The man's compliments don't come off as facetious or just said because it's the polite thing to do. But Drew has gotten used to people rejecting him, thinking he isn't worthy of their time or attention. Can he risk hoping Sam won't decide to walk away?

I loved how the story doesn't go exactly how I would have expected a story like this to go. Beth Michele has really given us a tale of two men who start off not exactly liking each other on the flight that turns out to be the one that changes their lives forever. Sam and Drew have led very different lives, but there's this kinship that forms on the shores of Hawaii, one that has them gifting the other with the pieces to themselves that neither one realized they were missing. I liked the build-up because then it truly became a story about love, one that has a beginning and then evolves over time and circumstance. There are conflicts and misunderstandings, and not everything is easily solved with an apology, and I appreciated that. In life and love, there are times where you have to let go and other times where you hold on, and that's what Chasing the High is about. Here, Beth Michele has shown she writes romances well, regardless of whether her characters are a man and a woman or two men, and I can't wait for her next one. Five stars. ♥

Release Date: 17 October 2016

Date Read: 17 October 2016

Learn more about Beth Michele.

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