Author: Kim Breyon
Book: Back To You
Series: Against All Odds #1
Page/Word Count: 220 pages, 86K words
Categories: Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance
Release Date: September 13, 2018
One of you, one of me…
As a private investigator, I have a perfect record when it comes to closing cases…as long as you don’t count the only one that ever really mattered to me.
Even after a decade, the memory of the foster boy I once shared a room with continues to haunt my dreams. For five years, Riley helped me laugh when there was so little in our lives to laugh about. His gentle touch and stormy gray eyes were the only thing that could calm the swirling and turbulent thoughts and emotions within me.
But in the blink of an eye, the safe harbor my best friend provided was ripped from my life without warning or reason. His unexplained disappearance set sail to a lonely and hopeless journey. Now, I am no more willing to let the memory of my best friend go than I am ready to give up the search for him, as hopeless as it may seem to those around me.
And then a client asks me to locate a stolen treasure box. Clues have me heading from the city of Atlanta to a small, picturesque town in South Carolina called Reedsport. There, I hope to find the missing box; what I never expected was to find something else that I’d been missing for far too long. Could I have finally found a beacon of hope that would lead Riley Tanager back to me?
Thick, humid air burned my lungs as I sucked in a deep breath, jolted from the dream. Sweat ran down my face and neck, soaking the old, lumpy pillow. I tried to sit up, but the sheets were tangled around my waist, amplifying my panic even more. I wanted to cry out, to scream, but couldn’t find my voice.
I finally managed to toss the sweat-soaked sheets aside and sat up, scrubbing a hand along the back of my neck. Those familiar steel-gray eyes, outlined by long dark lashes, continued to haunt me, as though he were right in front of me. They were once the only thing that could calm my heart, yet now they stole my sleep and made me restless. Now they left me raw. No matter how many miles I ran a day, I couldn’t distance myself from the pain his memory caused.
I knew if I focused hard enough, past the rapid thump-thump of my heart, I would almost be able to hear his sweet, tender voice whispering to me.
“In and out, Beck. It’ll be okay.”
Rain pelted against the window, and the room lit up as lightning flashed. I held my breath and clenched my hands in tight balls against the mattress in anticipation of the booming thunder that I knew would come. When the walls shook, every muscle in my body tightened. I pretended it was him when I pressed my cool, clammy fingers against the scar on my left wrist in slow, soothing strokes. But it wasn’t the same. It was never the same. Nothing ever chased the fear away like his touch did.
4✨s – Kim Breyon has debuted a very engaging book about young love and second chances. At 10 years old, Riley is placed in the same foster home as Beckett, 13, soon becoming each other’s best friends. After a few years, Beckett owes to live with his older sister but is still nearby. He leaves for a college tour and upon his return, finds that Riley has disappeared. No one will tell him what happened due in part to legal restrictions but other obstacles are later revealed. Years after, working as a PI, Beckett still searches but it’s only by coincidence that he finds Riley again, and I liked the added aura of fated lovers to the story. The slow burn for this couple makes complete sense with so much to explain and share in getting to know each other again, Steamy scenes are done well and emotion and passion is evident.
Flashbacks can be tricky but were needed here to illustrate the depth of their connection and circumstances around the separation. They weren’t chronological but comprised only a few paragraphs at the start of each chapter, often relating to a scenario set in the present. Alternating POV’s helped in creating empathy with the characters and their “voices” were quite distinct from each other. First person isn’t always a favorite of mine but worked well enough here. Secondary characters were strongly written, like Jake, Beckett’s good friend and Amelia, who is Riley’s. Beckett’s sister Tosh was rather confusing and some revelations and motives of hers came out in a kind of choppy fashion. I also had a few questions which were never fully answered in the narrative but that didn’t detract from the overall storyline.
The book held my interest strongly, providing a lot of feeling and emotion for the young teens parted so abruptly and the now-grown men recapturing their younger emotions. I was heartbroken for them discovering a betrayal by someone trusted and anticipation of how they could manage as a long-distance couple. The catalyst for a solution is kind of sad but it’s an extremely solid and bright HEA in the end. I’m now looking forward to reading the next book with Jake, to find out what makes him such a player. It’s always a pleasure to find another good author to enjoy and I can recommend this first offering as a good comfort read.
About Kim Breyon:
I am an Idaho native who grew up dreaming about traveling the world and writing stories. I would often spend my spare time curled up with my favorite blanket and a notebook, writing another fairy tale. I never would have guessed those fairy tales would one day grow into gay romances, but that is where my heart led me and I am so glad it did. I write about love because I believe it can happen to anyone, with anyone. I also believe dreams never expire, redemption is possible, and true forgiveness can heal us in ways we never expect. I know firsthand how messy life can get, but as any artist will tell you, a little mess is needed to create something beautiful. That’s why I write, to help others see that anything can be beautiful. You can often find me with a mug of coffee in one hand and a dog toy in the other. There is never a day that goes by without my sweet boy insisting on a game – or twenty – of fetch.
Interview with Kim Breyon:
- What was the inspiration behind Back to You? This story came to me when one of the main characters, Beckett, visited me in a dream. He was sitting by a computer looking utterly depressed and there was this sense of hopelessness about him. I could tell he was missing something, or someone, but I didn’t know what yet. His fingers were hovering over the keyboard, itching to type something into the internet search browser, but he knew it wouldn’t do him any good. Like it was a battle he’d bene fighting for so long, I just didn’t know why. My heart just broke for him, so I spent time with him over the next week or so, getting to know him more. The more he told me, the more his story just broke me. I knew I had to help him.
- What is your writing process? I spent several days getting to know Beckett and trying to picture the friend he was looking for. But his friend’s face and name were still a mystery to me, so I focused more on the story. Once we narrowed down how the biggest mystery of Beckett’s life would be solved, I just took it chapter by chapter. First by detailed outline, then writing it. I tried not to jump ahead, letting each scene play out. I think it worked well for me, but that sounds much simpler than it actually was… ha!
- What is the hardest part of that process for you? I think stepping back and looking at the bigger picture. Sometimes, I’d get so wrapped up in a certain scene or a tiny detail that I’d end up stalling the flow of the story. I also had to learn to trust my ability to tell Beckett and Riley’s story well, which was difficult.
- There’s a big leap a writer takes from putting words down on paper for the love of it and actually publishing those words for public scrutiny. What was that journey like for you? I have several years of shame and disappointment that I had to overcome to even start this. Very few people in my life believe writing fiction is a dream worth pursuing. Some have even said it was a waste of time. But, they couldn’t see how writing is like oxygen for me. I crave it and am a better person when I have a chance to dwell in my creative world a bit. It’s always been that way for me. So, I had to push their words aside and try to believe that my own words do have meaning, even if it was only to myself. There were several tears and curse words along the way, but when I reached the end, I could almost feel several of those chains falling away. I’m beyond proud of myself for accomplishing this and excited to continue on.
- What can readers expect from you next? Book two in this series, titled And Then you, is already written and undergoing it’s first round of major edits. I hope to release it in January. There are at least three books planned after that, too. My dream of being an author is only beginning. I have no plans of stopping now that I’ve started.