Monday, January 23, 2017

Release Day Review ~ Dearly Stalked by Allison Cassatta

Release Day Review ~ Dearly Stalked by Allison Cassatta

Title: Dearly Stalked

Author: Allison Cassatta

Release Date: January 23, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 266

Writing crime novels catapulted Memphis native Silas Cooper to fame and fortune, but when his words backfire and he becomes trapped in what could be one of his books, he needs a hero of his own.

Silas’s publicist insists he hire a personal assistant, and Silas chooses Scott Kramer. But before Scott starts, he already has a round of steamy phone sex to hold over Silas’s head, and his interest in his boss isn’t decreasing.

Benjamin Logan joined the Army to see the world, and while deployed he read every one of Silas’s books. With his military career over, Ben is back in Memphis working for the police department—and attempting a deeply closeted relationship with fellow cop Morgan Brown.

Over coffee, Silas and Ben become friends who support each other as relationships fall apart, and the attraction between them slowly emerges. When a dangerous stalker threatens Silas, it’s up to Ben to stop him.

If Ben fails, Silas might not live to tell this story… and Ben might not be able to live with himself.

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

This may be a little confusing review, so it begs an explanation. The two MC's in this story are Scott and Ben. But for 54% (yes, I looked) of this book, both MC's are in relationships with other men. Serious relationships, where we see the start of the relationship, the ongoing relationship, and that they end up living together. These relationships are the whole first half of this book. And, I was not a fan of either MC at this point, but things did change for me after their relationships ended.

Silas Cooper is a successful writer of crime novels. Silas prefers to hole up to write his crime novels and leave the real world on the outside. His publicist pressures him to hire a personal assistant, which he does. Silas may be a successful writer, but he's not successful at interviewing and hiring. Instead of interviewing Scott when they meet for coffee, Silas is distracted by a police officer he just met, Ben. He ends the interview with Scott, with little awareness of Scott's inappropriate reaction to Silas' flirting with Ben by offering him the job. Silas and Scott's relationship become more than employer/employee, much to his publicist disgust. The men's relationship develop over the year they're together, but Scott's jealousy becomes an issue and they break up. Scott can not let go of Silas, since he's his biggest fan.

Ben works as a police officer and is so far in the closet over worrying about how his dead parents and his fellow police officers would react. While getting coffee one day he meets Silas, who he's a huge fan of! He gets his autograph and goes about his day. He has a crush on fellow police officer, Morgan, but he makes sure to not interact with Morgan to prevent any of his attraction from showing. Until one day at the end of his shift when Morgan pushes for them to go get a beer together. Ben keeps saying no, and in the parking lot Morgan grabs him and kisses him. Ben is not happy and tells Morgan they can go to his house to discuss this. There's no discussion involved in what happens with them. Ben's really a jerk to Morgan, but Morgan must like being treated like crap because the men develop a secret relationship that winds up with Morgan living at Ben's and falling in love with him. But, after a year, their insecurities with their secret life is showing cracks and jealousy causes them to break-up.

Throughout their relationships, Ben and Silas would run into each other when out and about. Once both men are single, they strike up a friendship. When Silas is struggling with a stalker, Ben provides security to Silas and helps protect him. Eventually the men's relationship turns into more but Ben is still very deep in the closet and doesn't ever see that changing. But things come to a head with Silas' stalker and what once seemed important, isn't any longer.

So, to start, Ben's full name is Benjamin Logan. It's a nice name, totally normal, except for me because that's the name of a local school district near me and I found it a little distracting. :) But, back to the story. Again, I did not like Silas and Ben for the first half of this book. Now that I've read the whole story, I can appreciate what the author did, but it was hard for me to get through the first part. The characters developed during the second half and the story became more interesting with the stalker angle. Even though we spent 54% watching the MC's develop a relationship with the other characters, the relationship for the two MC's together did not get resolved until the last few pages of the book. I would have loved for more relationship development between the two MC's to happen, and a lot less on their previous relationships.

Overall, this was an enjoyable story if you just stick with it. I promise the story as a whole is totally worth it, and it's an interesting chance the author took with it!

Rating: 4 stars

4 Stars! 

A very decent read, but lacking a little balance as the leads don't get together til nearly the end of the tale. Ending a little anti-climactic.

This book is well-written and is a slow-burn romance for the leads, and they do end up at the start of what I felt was a HEA for both of them. However, the tale lacked a bit of balance and the ending needed that little bit more for me.

It's a thoroughly modern tale, with Ben, a closeted cop, actually being in a relationship with a fellow cop, Morgan, for most of the tale, and with the other lead, Silas, kind of giving into a relationship of sorts with Scott, the guy hired to be his PA. Neither Ben nor Silas are in love with the guys they're with at the start of the tale, but it seemed as if Ben had a proper budding relationship with Morgan, though it started to fall apart over what felt, at times, something rather trivial. I felt at the end, though, that there was more to the reason for their breakup and it seemed as if at the end of the tale, more than one couple might end up together.

Silas seemed a little socially awkward and kind of got railroaded into a relationship of sorts with Scott, but I was still a little surprised as to how he was the only one who didn't see that there was something not quite right. But, the guy was kind of a genius with his words, and not quite in the real world.

I liked how Silas and Ben became friends, and how they were aware of each other as guys who appreciated each other's looks, and how they stayed friends because both were in relationships. When they got together, I could see friendship turning into love, but tbh, Ben going from just having declared his love to Morgan, then being dumped and then going on to tell Silas he loved him was a lot rushed and didn't ring true. The leads seemed to spend most of the tale with their former partners and whilst I didn't have an issue with that, it felt as if the timing of Ben and Silas as a couple wasn't quite right.

The events that brought them together were believable, but it felt as if they were in a sort of bubble that needed to be burst so that they could see if they were the real thing, or a consequence of said events. I think Silas had the right attitude in wanting to wait a while, to not say I Love You before he was ready, but then he capitulated a little too quickly.

The tale ended, but I hadn't realised, as I expected an epilogue. There was so much more to be told - how the guys' lives together would be, where they'd be living, how Ben would function as a cop having been outed because of the event, perhaps some counselling and even how Morgan's life would pan out. Like I said, I did think they were at the start of their HEA, but the timing was a little not-quite-right and too rushed.

ARC courtesy of Dreamspinner Press and Bayou Book Junkie, for my reading pleasure.

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