Note: This ARC was provided by Pride Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
“You need to learn to have a little more faith in me, Mr. Porter-Wright,” Carter told him as he crossed the street. “One of these days, I just might surprise you.” Reaching for the handle of the wine store’s door, he paused when Riley didn’t reply. “Ri? You there?”“I’m here,” Riley replied, his voice quieter but no less warm. “Always faithful and often surprised.”
Oh my. Wow. The cliffhanger ending in Wake guaranteed that Calm was going to be one of my most anticipated reads for the second half of 2017, and boy, oh boy, did K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn reward my patience, something which I already have very little of, but I waited and didn't gripe one tiny bit. The sequel in the Tidal series--and I'm calling it that instead of a duet because I'm hoping with all my fingers and toes crossed that we're going to be getting even more from the peripheral characters in these first two books...but I digress!--picks things up three or so months from where its predecessor left off. Former best friends Riley Porter-Wright and Carter Hamilton are leading separate lives and their decade and a half-long friendship remains fractured on the wayside.
Riley is making a go of his relationship with his new boyfriend, William Martin, while continuing to work in the family-owned publishing house with the very same father who has disowned him. On the other hand, Carter is trying to forge a friendship with his ex-wife as they co-parent their two children while also embracing his bisexuality and navigating the world of dating with not one but two men--Kyle McKee and Jesse Murtagh. Daring new lives and possible new loves, but can Riley and Carter find a way to meet in the middle? Canan old friendship still be mended between these two men who have shared something secret yet extraordinary for half their lives?
That heartrending feeling that lingered for most of the first book was back in full force in this second one. If Riley was the odd man out back in May (which is when Wake was released), well, the shoe is on the other foot now, especially since Carter has acknowledged that maybe his feelings for his best friend haven't been all that platonic. But then maybe time apart is exactly what these two needed. Being as close as they were for so long may have allowed Carter to be blind to what was happening between the two of them all along while it also made Riley feel as if he was alone in what he was feeling. He was also the first one who recognized what he was feeling for Carter and there was a myriad of thoughts and emotions Riley struggled with, predominantly those of guilt and rejection.
These two had to go through their separate journeys as individuals and with other people in order for them to realize what--because the who part was pretty damn obvious!--they truly wanted and needed for themselves and from each other. Alongside a fantastic cast of peripheral characters--some of which desperately need their own books, namely, Will and Jesse (whether together or separately) and maybe even Kyle--Riley and Carter's story reiterates that it's never too late to learn something about yourself and that love, family, and acceptance aren't always a given, but more often than not, we're able to find them from those who don't share the same bloodline. The Tidal series is, hands down, one of the best I've ever read, so don't be surprised when you see it on my year-end list of top reads. I can't wait for more from Coles and Vaughn, and Calm is a five-plus-starred recommendation. ♥
Date Read: 12 September 2017