Title: Names Can Never Hurt Me, 2nd edition
Author: Wade Kelly
Narrator: Jack Amber
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 11 hours 18 minutes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 21st, 2016)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥ 3 Hearts
Blurb: What if sexuality wasn’t a definable thing and labels merely got in the way?
Nick Jones can’t remember a time when he wasn’t part of the in crowd. Everywhere he goes, he stands out as the best looking guy in the room, and women practically fall into bed with him. Then, after kissing Corey on a dare led to much more and on many occasions, Nick’s “screw anything” reputation escalated, but he didn’t care.
When Nick meets RC at the restaurant where he works, it throws his whole life out of whack. RC lives up to his dubbed nickname “Scruffy Dude”. He seems Nick’s complete opposite, but Nick can’t get him out of his head.
Because of peer pressure and his fears about defining his sexuality, Nick struggles with stepping out of his comfort zone and caring about someone different than himself. If he’s lucky, somewhere between arrogance and ignorance, Nick might find out what it means to be an adult, but if he’s wrong, he could lose everything.
Review: I loved it and I hated it! There is a very strong message in Names Can Never Hurt Me, and for me that was that we can overcome our flaws, we can see our mistakes, learn from them, and improve our behaviors and our lives. Because Nick wasn’t just called names by a bunch of psychotic, incestuous friends, he really was a shallow, clueless superbly flawed character deserving of such labels many times.
I had a hard time relating to the character of Nick. At his age I had finished college, started my career, gotten married and already had one child. I have been very independent my whole life so I could not put myself in Nick’s place.
He’s a grown man living with his parents, his mother still does his laundry and cooks for him. He’s completely unmotivated by anything but meaningless sex. He seems to know he’s hot and that’s about it. I also don’t think Nick ever does figure out what being an adult means, he goes straight from living with his mommy, to living with his boyfriend. Never experiencing living on his own.
I can get on board with RC. He’s living on his own, struggling through life and stereotypes, and overcoming horrible things that have happened to him. I think he totally sold himself short, even after hooking up with Nick, RC deserves better.
There are moments in this story where I just bang my head on the desk and ask the gods why, why would this dialogue ever be included, but then there were moments of humor, passion, and poignant words, too.
The sexual content was purposefully diverse, with the shallow brief encounters leaving me feeling dirty and discarded with a bad taste in my mouth, pun intended. The more tender, slow and sensual experiences between Nick and RC are arousing yes, but also warm the heart.
Names Can Never Hurt Me was a mixed bag for me. The light-hearted, shallow dialogue does not quite outweigh the wonderful poignant moments for me. The two things that saved the story were the characters of RC and Corey. They have strength and conviction, they help others, and they carry the story.
Jack Amber did a great job giving each character a unique voice, and despite the dialogue coming out of some of these characters’ mouths. He delivered the story with complete respect.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *