REVIEWED by Jen B.
TITLE: Bleeding Like Me
AUTHOR: Riley Parks
PUBLISHER: Boroughs Publishing
LENGTH: 324 Pages
RELEASE DATE: November 21, 2017
He didn’t paint people; the curves of their bodies and angles of their faces never interested him as much as cityscapes. The circumstances of his life had compelled him to create new worlds that he could get lost in rather than reflect the features of the people he ran from. He constructed buildings from their foundations, making them taller and stronger than he was. He adorned the edifices with countless windows, always left open or cracked so hope could pour in and fears could seep out. Tree lined streets reminded him how to breathe, pumping oxygen through the atmosphere, off the canvas, and into his lungs.
He didn’t paint people until the day he no longer desired the anonymity of his cities. The streets didn’t feel like his escape anymore, not like him. Cerulean skies gave way to pale blue eyes and bus routes to pink pouts. Evan didn’t paint people until he painted Jackson.
I’m a sucker for these types of stories. Men who fall for each other before realizing they have no business being together but somehow find a way to make it work. These guys sucked me in right away. Both are members of rival gangs. Both men are hiding their sexuality for obvious reasons but meet one night when looking for a random hookup, neither knowing anything about the other. Jackson is a bit higher up in his gang, with Evan being a newer member recruited by his brother. Both are in the life though they both ended up their due to their own sets of circumstances.
When the initial hookup doesn’t pan out, the blazing attraction draws them back for more. They end up breaking their own rules in taking things further until there are actual feelings involved. By this point, when they find out who each other actually is, it is pretty much too late to turn back. They commence with their relationship sort of helping each other out on the sly, but things start to close in on them. Evan is addicted to the drugs he sells, though his addiction to Jackson is stronger and he knows he has to quit – it’s a fine line though between how much Jackson can push for it and how much Evan can actually do on his own.
Things really go south when they are almost discovered and one thing leads to another landing Jackson in prison. These two were a bit surprised by their feelings for each other, and that played a big factor later on as they were forced into separation with the gang issues still looming. It was difficult to really see a way out for them, and I was on the edge of my seat most of the book to see if they would eventually be able to make their escape.
This was a very well done first book by this author, and I am eagerly looking forward to the next story which looks to be about rival attorneys. If it is as interesting and smooth reading as this one, I have no doubt it will be a hit. As it was, this story tackled some serious issues, but it was very well done and felt extremely realistic. I would also really love to see something else in the future showing how Evan and Jackson are getting on in their new life. Definitely keeping this author on my radar now.