Published by Ellis Carrington
Copy obtained from author for review.
HE DOESN’T RECOGNIZE HIMSELF
David Moorehouse has spent his life hiding behind masks. Nice guy. Best friend. Reverend’s kid. After finding his father dead on the floor, he’s been stripped of his job at the family church and his identity as the quiet, nice guy. The life he knew is over, and he doesn’t know what to do next.
HE KNOWS ANGER BETTER THAN ANYONE
Ricky Slade is itching for a fight. By the time he meets David, he’s struggling to save his business, his best friend, his drug-addict brother, and his own sanity. He’s got no patience for his business partner’s judgmental sibling showing up and getting in his face.
Their furious heat turns into a fiery inferno, but Ricky’s fresh off a bad breakup, and David is getting guilt-tripped by his family and his ex. Every time they fight, they fall into bed, but will that be enough when things around them come apart?
Be advised, this book contains: two men with big egos and bigger trucks, more emotional baggage than they can carry, and a whole lot of sizzling man on man action.
One of the things that struck me while reading Stripped Away was how appropriate the title was and Stripped Clean, book one, for that matter. I feel that Ellis writes a book without bells and whistles. There’s no ploys to move the book along. What we get are stripped down, emotionally charged dealings between two men. Their lives are not perfect and they are struggling. Their nerves are stripped down and they don’t always make the best decisions or choices. Their lives are stripped down in one form or another. They’re left raw and emotionally charged and have to find their center again. Whether that is alone or with each other remains to be seen.
Stripped Away picks up where Stripped Clean ends. Ricky accompanies Greg to his father’s funeral and that’s when Ricky and Dave first meet. The sparks are flying from that moment on. Dave challenges Ricky at every turn. It isn’t like him to be so confrontational and harsh but something in Ricky’s the cocky demeanor sets Dave off.
Ricky is definitely attracted to Dave but they seem to butt heads more than they get along. From the beginning Ricky is nothing but helpful and accommodating to his best friend’s half-brother. In the first book Ricky came across as a real tough guy. Someone not to cross and also very dominate. I was very surprised to see a very different side of Ricky emerge in Stripped Away. He isn’t the person I assumed he was. I rather liked Ricky. More than in book one. I like his business sense, the way he takes care of people. I enjoyed his softer side and his kindness. I was also surprised by his willingness to submit. Ricky was a total surprise!
I wish I could say the same for Dave. It really took me awhile to warm up to him. His stiffness from being closeted and under his father’s church views was pretty severe. He was very awkward and hard to read. After going through the motions for so long, he was finally free of it all and still couldn’t let go. His father was gone, the church had folded and yet his family was still a pressure point. I felt bad for him, but I still wasn’t liking him. It wasn’t until he started actually thinking and doing for himself that I warmed up. He was open to a relationship with Greg and once he got off his high horse, he was open to Ricky, not for a one-off but in the potential to have a meaningful relationship with him. I loved the bond he formed with Ricky’s mom. That showed just how caring Dave really was, the rest was just a protective shell from year in the closet.
Stripped Away isn’t a sugar-coated book. It is raw emotion and a rocky road. These guys fight and claw and fight some more. When they get past that, the tenderness is so worth the emotional roller coaster.
RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!