Reviewed by Amber
TITLE: Living Out Loud
AUTHOR: Christina Lee & Nyrae Dawn
PUBLISHER: Self Published
LENGTH: 250 Pages
RELEASE DATE: September 7th, 2017
Ben Emerson has lived by his minister father’s rules most of his life. Born into an ultra-conservative church community, he’s finally brave enough to break free and move to San Francisco. Distancing himself certainly helps create a new mindset, but living as an openly gay man takes some getting used to. When he reaches out to Xavier, a childhood friend who lives in the city, Ben isn’t sure how he’ll respond given their thorny history. Ben hopes the familiar connection will help him right some wrongs as well as provide the solace he’s been craving.
Xavier Ramos is who he is, and he doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks. Whether it’s eyeliner, nail polish, tattoos or his love of hooking up, he uses his body as a form of self-expression but doesn’t let anyone get too close. When Ben reenters his life, Xavier helps him experience the city and feel comfortable in his own skin. Seeing the world through Ben’s eyes, he begins to wonder if he’s also not living as freely as he thought.
When Xavier challenges Ben’s beliefs about sex, it becomes explosive—for both of them. Xavier breaks apart Ben’s sheltered world and shows him what it’s like to live out loud. The more time they spend together, the more Xavier begins to long for Ben in a different way—one that both surprises and scares him. But real life doesn’t fade into the background, so when Ben’s past comes knocking, old habits are hard to break. Testing the foundation of their deepening connection will take a trust that will either bind them…or tear them apart.
A friends to lovers story that is super hot and super sweet???? YES, please!
When we met Ben in Ezra’s book I disliked him but there was something there. He was in obvious pain and he emitted this immense need to make amends with Ezra and try to right some of his wrongs. He was intriguing and I couldn’t decide if I liked him or not. But I absolutely wanted to know more.
Nyrae Dawn and Christina Lee have created another amazing story about pain, loss, hope and of course love. Living Out Loud was so incredibly sweet watching Ben and Xavier learn each other again. Xavier was patient with Ben but he pushed him to. Wouldn’t let him hide anymore and helped him live his truth to the fullest.
What starts as some friends to lovers, sex practice starts to morph into something more for Ben and Xavier. The roots of their friendship as boys start to grow again and it leaves both Ben and Xavier scared but loving it at the same time.
Xavier is bold, bright, loud, fearless, and compassionate. Ben is sweet, quiet, and unsure but with Xavier Ben shines.
Ben’s demons aren’t banished, however. They lurk in the shadows and seem to haunt Ben when he least expects it. Xavier and Ben together are strong and when one falters or is unsure the other is always there to reinforce their bond.
I really enjoyed Living Out Loud. Ben and Xavier fit together so well. I loved Xavier! The care he took with Ben helping him overcome all that he’s faced by the hands of his parents was incredible. It was great to see both Xavier and Ben get to a point where they were happy and together.
Living Out Loud has ties to other stories by these two authors but can be read as a standalone. You wouldn’t be wasting your time checking out the other stories by these authors though. So good. Recommend.