Reviewed by Chris & Christie
TITLE: Hanging The Stars
SERIES: Half Moon Bay #2
AUTHOR: Rhys Ford
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 206 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 5, 2016
Angel Daniels grew up hard, one step ahead of the law and always looking over his shoulder. A grifter’s son, he’d learned every con and trick in the book but ached for a normal life. Once out on his own, Angel returns to Half Moon Bay where he once found…and then lost…love.
Now, Angel’s life is a frantic mess of schedules and chaos. Between running his bakery and raising his troubled eleven-year-old half-brother, Roman, Angel has a hectic but happy life. Then West Harris returns to Half Moon Bay and threatens to break Angel all over again by taking away the only home he and Rome ever had.
When they were young, Angel taught West how to love and laugh but when Angel moved on, West locked his heart up and threw away the key. Older and hardened, West returns to Half Moon and finds himself face-to-face with the man he’d lost. Now, West is torn between killing Angel or holding him tight.
But rekindling their passionate relationship is jeopardized as someone wants one or both of them dead, and as the terrifying danger mounts, neither man knows if the menace will bring them together or forever tear them apart.
“The truth is, Lang,” Angel whispered, “you brother hangs the stars in my goddamn sky. It sounds stupid and maybe corny, but when he’s around me, it’s like the night’s full of light. So yeah, I love him. I love him pretty hard.”
Between having to raise a pre-teen brother with behavioral problems and having his ex trying to shut down his business and tear down his home, Angel Daniels doesn’t need anymore shit happening in his life. But for Angel, shit happening is pretty much all life is. Take being held-up at gunpoint in his own bakery by some punk-ass kid…with a fake gun. Not that the fakeness of the gun matters much when men in a car open fire on the bakery and kill the kid (and an oven) and sets the wheels of shit a’turning in Angel’s life again. The obvious suspect behind the shootings is West Harris, Angel’s teenage love and the man running the company dead set on tearing down Angel’s livelihood, but West seems to be in the shit just as much as Angel.
Their breakup years ago might have left both of them with scars that’ll probably never fade, but it also left them both with memories that would never leave, either. Now with them both caught in a confusing crossfire of bullets and incriminations, they will have to find a way to lay the past to rest and face a future that is looking less certain with every sunset.
In typical Rhys Ford fashion, this book is one hell of a ride from start to finish. Gunfire, actual fire, dead bodies, and a twisty and highly entertaining whodunit keep the pace ratcheting up and the pages a’flipping. I don’t get around to reading very many high-action stories, but I’m always up for Rhys Ford’s fast-paced action thrillers. I found this book to be yet another example of how expertly she can weave a good mystery, a lovely romance, well-rounded characters, and–of course–enough bullets sink a medium size boat.
I’ll admit at first that West was not my kind of guy. He is, to put it plain, an ass. But as the story goes along I really do start to like–and probably even love–him. Once he starts to thaw a bit you can really see what Angel saw in him once upon a time. He is snarky and withdrawn, but he has his reasons. As his life and those he love begin to come under fire he certainly gets his shit together.
There are quite a few parts of this story that I loved. The relationships between the various characters being at the top. Not only were Angel and West really good together, but the side relationships really brought these characters and this story to life. Angel and Roman (Angel’s little brother), West and Zig (West’s brother’s adopted daughter), and West and Marzo (West’s bodyguard and close friend)…they all worked perfectly together to make the readers really care about West, Angel, and the outcome of the story. They brought levity, but also a sense of purpose and determination, to the story. I greatly enjoyed reading about all the action bits, but it was the characters and their relationships that made me love the story.
I won’t say you need to read book one, Fish Stick Fridays, to enjoy this book, but I wouldn’t want you to miss that book either. I like this series quite a bit and am looking forward to whatever comes next. I certainly wouldn’t say no to a book about Justin. I had a lot of fun reading this, and I recommend you pick it up.
Okay, so after reading (and loving) the first book in Rhys Ford’s Half Moon Bay series, Fish Stick Fridays, I was hoping for a book about West. Then, boom, here it is. And it was absolutely fantastic. Hanging the Stars was honestly everything I could have hoped for and more. I laughed out loud at a couple parts, was on the edge of my seat at others, and it may have rained on my face a time or two as well.
Angel Daniels and West Harris were teens when they first met one glorious summer in Half Moon Bay. Discovering love, and what it was like to truly laugh without abandon, became memories tattooed on the teens’ very souls. Until everything came crashing down on them when their fathers became involved and they (along with their hearts) were ripped in two.
Now, many years later their paths cross once more.
Angel’s father, a con-man and grifter, was abusive and only kept his son around as long as he could score more money by using him. Eventually, Angel was able to get away from his father and work on building a life for himself. Until dear old dad showed up yet again. This time dropping Angel’s young brother Roman off on his doorstep. Tho his life has become even more crazy, what with the bakery he opened and taking care of his 11 year old brother, Angel is content with life. Until someone shoots up his bakery, and a would-be robber is murdered in the assault. Then, things go from bad to worse…
West’s father was cold and hard on his identical twin sons (West and Lang), pitting them against each other in an attempt to make them ruthless businessmen able to take over his company some day. Well, only West took over the business when his father died, and that was okay with everyone involved. West is content with his life. For the most part. Until someone t-bones the car he is riding in and injures him badly enough that he ends up coming home to Half Moon Bay to recover.
In a chance encounter, West and Angel meet, and sparks fly yet again. Their attraction and feelings for each other never died, it seems. Just, y’know, went dormant for quite some time. Now the men need to decide whether or not they can forgive each other for the mistakes of their youth, and find out who is gunning to kill them.
They say “Good things come to those who wait”, and I feel that Hanging the Stars was my reward for waiting. Angel and West are amazing together. Their longing for one another is almost palpable at times. And, it was great to have Deacon and Lang (and yes Zig as well) in this book. It was a lovely tie-in and added extra flavor to an already delicious book.
Oh! For those who have not yet read book one in the series: Hanging the Stars can be read as a standalone. Of course, reading book one would help put a few things into context and perspective (like Zig), but it is not necessary in order to thoroughly enjoy Hanging the Stars. Rhys, as always, you are brilliant! I cannot wait for the audiobook to come out.