“Freeing” by E. K. Blair

Freeing

Blurb

Knowing who you are and accepting who you are come at different prices.

Jase Kinrick grew up in your typical, all-American household. But after the death of his sister, his parents shut down, forcing him to deal with everything life throws his way alone. Terrified of the person he’s discovering himself to be, Jase has his way with every willing girl to try and rid himself of what he fears he is—gay.

Escaping California and moving to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, Jase frees himself to the reality that he likes men. Never staying with any guy long enough to get to know them, he doesn’t realize that he’s still hiding from who he is until he meets Mark. Scared of having real feelings for another guy stirs up the questions and fears he’s fought hard to bury.

To strip away the barriers to the heart of what is real, and to be okay with what lies underneath, will be Jase’s moment of truth. But he’ll need Mark to lead him there.

**This is a companion novel to the USA Today Bestseller, FADING.**

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My Review

This is so much more than a M/M romance. It is a story about acceptance from the people around you, about not hiding yourself and about how you can meet this special someone who will own your heart completely at a time you least expect it.
I suppose you CAN read this book as a standalone novel, but I really do not recommend it – I want you to read “Fading” first, because I feel you will be missing out on a lot otherwise. Jase’s story begins before Candace’s attack and ends less than a year later.

Meet Jase, Candace’s best friend: he is, by his own definition, a bit of a man-whore. He hooks up with lots of guys, never getting close to anyone, and even though he, in a way, has owned up to the fact that he is gay, he is so conflicted about it. And who would not feel that way, what with his upbringing being the way it was: he has very religious parents and was taught early on that being gay is a sin. We learn that he had a sister and that his parents completely shut down when her and her boyfriend were killed in a car accident when they were only 18 years old. I cannot imagine the horror of losing a child, but to forget your other child, removing yourself from him/her will be something I will NEVER be able to comprehend.

Jase was so scared of his feelings towards other guys when he was in high school that he slept with every girl who was willing. But he changed his pattern when he went to college. Now, you would think that this means that he has accepted his sexuality, but that is not true. The fact of the matter is that he will never be completely free before he comes out to his parents.

When Jase meets Mark, his world is tipped on its axis. Here is a man who is not afraid of being who he is, and who is very upfront about it. From the beginning, Mark tells Jase that he knows of his reputation and that he does not do casual sex. He would like to see where a real relationship with Jase will go, and Jase cannot help himself: he desperately wants to find the courage to free himself, to be able to be who he really is, and he is drawn to Mark in a way he has never been drawn to another man before. However, Jase really messes up his chance for something real in the beginning of their relationship because he cannot let go of his fears.

From page one, you will feel all Jase’s emotions: self-loathing, confusion and, finally, happiness. I absolutely adore Jase and the way this author portrays him; I really found the whole story believable – the way Jase struggles with his sexuality, the lack of parental support and the loss of his sister are all factors as to why he has chosen to not get close to others, except for Candace, that is.

“I can feel the thudding of his heart through his chest, and I know I am with exactly who I should be. No doubts. No questions. He’s freed me in a way I didn’t think possible. He’s it.” (Jase)

Mark is just…well, he has a beautiful soul, and he tries so hard do whatever he can to make Jase feel comfortable in their relationship. He is patient, kind and – equally important – an amazing support to Jase when Candace is attacked. Yes, he is more open about being gay than Jase is, but he admits to be struggling himself from time to time.

“I’ve been fighting. Fighting to be free. But now I realize, it isn’t about the fighting. It’s letting go of the fight to see that what I’ve been searching for is within him. Mark is my freeing.” (Jase)

Jase and Mark compliment each other and their journey together was beautiful to read. If you have yet to read a M/M romance, I will definitely recommend that you start with this one. In the past, I have been rather apprehensive about this genre, but not anymore. I think I have said something similar before, but I will say it again: reading is about broadening one’s horizon and although I am quite certain there are other genres I will never read, M/M romance is not one of them.

I know that this review is rather short but I am so afraid I will reveal too much if I write more. I will read anything Miss Blair writes in the future – as with “Fading”, her writing style in “Freeing” is so beautiful, so passionate and flawless. She has a way with words that hooks you in and you feel sad once you have reached the last page of the book. So, Miss Blair, thank you for telling us Jase’s story. You have a lifelong fan in this bookaholic!

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