Note: This ARC was provided by Pride Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
His heart sped up at the thought, nerves mingling with the anticipation. He was really doing this, moving forward and trying to live the life he’d always wanted. No second-guessing himself because his father might not approve or wondering if someone would get the wrong impression about him. No wondering how it would affect his standing in society. Finally allowing himself to decide who he really was and what his future could be like.
Argh! When I went into this book, I had absolutely no clue it was going to end in a cliffhanger. There I was, poor M/M romance bookaholic that I am, totally into this best-friends-to-lovers romance, only to be hit with a cliffhanger that had me shaking my e-reader in shock. I knew Wake was the first book in the Tidal series co-written by K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn, but I wasn't expecting to be left on tenterhooks to get my resolution to story of best friends Carter Hamilton and Riley Porter-Wright, but I guess I shall have to wait a few months for the second book to be released. Am I looking forward to the wait? Nope. Am I looking forward to book two? If it was as exceptionally written as book one, you better believe I'm looking forward to getting my greedy hands on Calm.
As undergraduates in Harvard, Carter Hamilton and Riley Porter-Wright became roommates and an easy friendship instantly develops between the two young men, a friendship that has an underlying layer of subtle attraction that neither of them appear to be prepared to fully embrace or openly acknowledge. Over the next fifteen years, they return to their hometown of Manhattan and enter into the roles that have been pre-packaged for privileged men such as themselves. They continue on the path with expected destinations, professionally and personally, both marrying and leading successful careers. But Riley is getting to the point where he needs to be honest with himself and those around him. When he confesses his feelings for Carter, the ensuing rejection damages their friendship.
This was such a heartrending read. I felt for both Carter and Riley, though I confess that my heart broke more for the latter than the former. Both men had so much to lose if they came out as either bisexual or gay, and coming out has to be a personal choice. One of them was ready, the other not so much, though I think it was more of Riley being fed up with living a lie and needing to be the person that he'd kept hidden for far too long. Reading the story as Riley struggled with his choice to come out and taking stock of everything and everyone he lost in the process brought tears to my eyes. I'm not going to pretend that I wasn't frustrated with Carter, but with a wife he truly loved and children to take into consideration first and foremost, I understood why he came to the decision he did.
There's one particular point in the story where Carter gets a glimpse of where Riley is at in his present life, and can I just say that I felt so torn? I can't say what it was specifically because, hello, spoiler, but I was torn because he had no one to blame but himself for whatever state he was in, and yet the conflict he had been feeling wasn't something you could scoff at either. While I'd classify the series as friends-to-lovers, this first book was more of a story of friendship and discovery. Readers are able to see how Carter and Riley became best friends and just how close that friendship was over the years. We see the aftermath of Carter's rejection and how Riley learns to move forward while Carter learns how different his life is without Riley. This was the journey of two men and how that journey intersected and then diverge. There were sighs and tears. Major book hangover. Five-plus stars for Wake. ♥
Date Read: 04 May 2017