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After Ben (Seattle Stories Book 1) by Con…
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After Ben (Seattle Stories Book 1)

by Con Riley

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7014171,029 (4.19)1

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Losing a longtime partner, someone you've loved with all your heart, isn’t easy. We all understand this on an intellectual level, but to be confronted by it emotionally is much harder. Writing about it credibly, with compassion, and keeping the readers' interest is a challenge, but one that Con Riley has met full-on with this book. It left me emotionally drained, yet satisfied with the way things have developed for Theo. This story is a slow burn, totally realistic, and illustrates the different stages of grieving and survivor's guilt at every step Theo takes.

Theo has lost more than his partner, he has lost the will to live. He may go through the motions, and he tells himself that this is "coping", but he has clearly shut down. His friends try to pull him back into the land of the living, but Theo cannot deal with it. He tells himself it is too early, but the truth is a complex mixture of guilt, not knowing where to start, and a reluctance to start another relationship – possibly just to face another loss.

Peter and Morgan are total opposites, and confront Theo with some real choices he needs to make. Peter is all about the physical, and even just taking a step back into touching a man is difficult enough for Theo. Since there are fewer emotions, it is easier for him to deal with. But, in the end, the question becomes if it is enough.

Morgan is the man Theo really feels attracted to on an intellectual level. They never meet until fairly late in the book, so their relationship has time to develop. When they do meet all hell breaks loose – in more than one way. Dealing with his attraction to Morgan forces Theo to confront not just the need to say good-bye to Ben, but also to face some of his own preconceived ideas of what a relationship should be.

One of the things I found amazing was how deeply the author got me into Theo's head and heart to feel with him. When he is torn between the two potential new love interests, even though he barely even acknowledges them as such initially, I was torn as well. The gradual dawning of the solution, and the slow awakening of Theo's desire to live again were a joy to watch. If you like realistic stories about men who deal with loss, if you enjoy the slow burn of new romance, and if dealing with grief as part of life is a topic you want to find out more about, you will probably like this book.


NOTE: This book was provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review on Rainbow Book Reviews.
( )
  SerenaYates | Oct 14, 2017 |
Oh this novel was...hmm...I don't think I can do this one justice. But I'll try.

It was a realistic, funny, heartwarming, sweet, sexy, cool, great story. The dialogue, to me, was superb! The dirty talk alone was...stimulating. Any little minor issues were easily overshadowed by the great story, this author tells.

We are introduced to a grieving Theo. His partner, Ben passed away over a year ago and Theo is still grappling on living life while mourning. He forgets to eat, got over his drinking problem and has to deal with trying to live. Other than his interaction with his personal assistant and close friend, Maggie, Theo doesn't really want to talk to anyone. Except for online, where he befriends Morgan, a newcomer on a political online community.

Morgan? Love. Him. I'll get to why soon.

So as we are get to glimpse these two's interaction, we get to meet Theo's new interns. And at this time, I'm playing the 'who the hell is Morgan?' game. I thought it was Joel for a little bit. than maybe it was Evan. I loved the mystery of it all.

Once we do get to meet Morgan? Awesome x 1000! :)

Morgan's definitely one of my favorite characters I have read this year. I would love to have an online debate with him (alas he's just a character). He's a funny mofo. He's flawed but who the hell is perfect?

The buildup between Theo and Morgan was not insta-love. (Loved that) But truly a great buildup so when these two finally meet, they pretty much combusted. Seriously they made dirty talk hot, just guess how they were together? Mmhmm...

The author did a wonderful job with advocating about domestic abuse through her characters. Because if everyone automatically left their abusers...there wouldn't be abuse. I think she did a excellent job of explaining the psyche without victimizing abuse survivors.

Here's my fave quote (there's many but this stuck out to me):

THEO: You should walk a fucking mile before you judge a situation. You should put yourself in someone else's shoes before you blame, or judge, or pity. It takes a long time to wear down someone's confidence, and it takes much more strength of will to walk away than it does to take another punch."

I loved that though this story is an emotional one it didn't get bogged down by extreme dramatics. It was such a solid story with real outcomes, results and just...life.

Who do I recommend to read this one?

Hell, everyone. FIVE STARS
" ( )
  SheReadsALot | Jun 20, 2016 |
Really liked this book about a man coming back to life after the death of his partner. Wish we'd gotten to know a little more about Morgan. (Karen) ( )
  GayCityLGBTLibrary | Jun 6, 2015 |
I can't rate this book because I can't decide between 2 and 3 stars. I just didn't get this book. The first half of the book is boring Theo grieving his bf, going to work, and watching his interns flirt. He also chats with Morgan online, but it's really not all that interesting, and I didn't really feel a connection between them from their online chatting. Then Theo does the most ridiculous, douchey thing ever and fires Joel because Theo assumes that Morgan is Joel's age just because they know each other. Never mind the fact that he saw Morgan at the shelter where Joel works. Oh can I also mention he saw Adam there battered and bruised, but couldn't figure out that Morgan was abused?! I didn't think the ending really resolved anything. Considering the book dragged on endlessly, it could have continued just a little longer to have Theo and Morgan talk about everything Theo realized while in Milan. And what the hell happened when Theo was at the shelter to speak with Joel and met Morgan and was all mad about the age gap and all that. That ends a chapter, and the next opens with Theo and Morgan driving to Theo's apartment, and then as soon as the door shuts, they're all over each other. I'm totally missing something there.

OMG Peter. Could he have been anymore annoying? He kept telling Theo he wasn't going to push him, but he did EVERY damn time they got together. He was obnoxiously pushy with someone he didn't really know and who wasn't all that interested in him, and then what was with showing up at Theo's and thinking they'd just pick up where they left off when Theo told him there was someone else?! I just didn't get this book at all.
  DreZ | Jan 15, 2015 |
I can't rate this book because I can't decide between 2 and 3 stars. I just didn't get this book. The first half of the book is boring Theo grieving his bf, going to work, and watching his interns flirt. He also chats with Morgan online, but it's really not all that interesting, and I didn't really feel a connection between them from their online chatting. Then Theo does the most ridiculous, douchey thing ever and fires Joel because Theo assumes that Morgan is Joel's age just because they know each other. Never mind the fact that he saw Morgan at the shelter where Joel works. Oh can I also mention he saw Adam there battered and bruised, but couldn't figure out that Morgan was abused?! I didn't think the ending really resolved anything. Considering the book dragged on endlessly, it could have continued just a little longer to have Theo and Morgan talk about everything Theo realized while in Milan. And what the hell happened when Theo was at the shelter to speak with Joel and met Morgan and was all mad about the age gap and all that. That ends a chapter, and the next opens with Theo and Morgan driving to Theo's apartment, and then as soon as the door shuts, they're all over each other. I'm totally missing something there.

OMG Peter. Could he have been anymore annoying? He kept telling Theo he wasn't going to push him, but he did EVERY damn time they got together. He was obnoxiously pushy with someone he didn't really know and who wasn't all that interested in him, and then what was with showing up at Theo's and thinking they'd just pick up where they left off when Theo told him there was someone else?! I just didn't get this book at all.
  DreZ | Jan 15, 2015 |
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A year after the sudden death of his longtime partner, Ben, Theo Anderson is still grieving. The last thing he's looking for is a new lover. But as Theo soon discovers, sometimes life has other plans. While Theo experiences a powerful physical attraction to fellow gym member Peter, it's his new online friend, Morgan, who provides the intellectual challenge to make him come alive. Morgan is witty, brave, and irreverent, and Theo is ready to take the plunge... until he discovers Morgan might be half his age. Theo's late partner was significantly older - enough to strain Theo's relationship with his family - and the potential of another relationship being cut short leaves him gunshy. Theo needs to lay Ben's memory to rest, reconcile with his family, and rekindle neglected friendships if he's to start afresh with a new lover. But Theo isn't the only one with a past. His biggest challenge, in living after Ben, might not be his to face.… (more)

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