Names Can Never Hurt Me by Wade Kelly

NamesCanNeverHurtMeLGTitle: Names Can Never Hurt Me
Author: Wade Kelly
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Novel (340 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 11th 2014)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
Reviewer: Tams
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. Overweight, always sweaty, gay, and hairy like a bear, 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 from 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.

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Review: Nick Jones life changes after just one kiss. He doesn’t realize it at the time, he’s actually always been gay, but he’s hidden behind a string of girlfriends and that one boyfriend that lights him up like none of the girls can. He refuses to be gay though, in fact, if he had a mantra it would be “I’m not gay!” for as often as he says it. Me thinks thou doth protest too much!

A year later and Nick is just going through the motions in his mundane life. The only bright sparks are his friend and sometimes lover Corey, and the strange man who eats where he works all the time, RC. He’s broken up with another girl, and jumps straight into a relationship with yet another girl, trying to convince himself that getting laid on a regular basis makes him happy. But getting to know RC more with each conversation they have is making Nick take stock, and reconsider some things about himself.

RC is not an easy man to get to know. He is always on guard and doesn’t let anyone close. He has no friends and no social skills to speak of. But there is something about the cute guy that works at the Diner. It takes a lot of effort and time, but the two become friends, best friends in fact. Both men appreciate that they can just be themselves around each other. But as Nick starts to open himself up to the feelings he’s having, he starts to want more from RC than just friendship. RC is adamant that he is not going there! His past is way too painful and Nick is way too much like a lot of the people who made that past painful. Nick is about to find out what he wouldn’t do for the right guy, which is nothing.

This was very a much coming of age and finding yourself story. Not just for Nick, who is trying to decide his sexuality, but for RC as well. As he’s never actually been in love or been loved. Nick was raised with so much love, and the entire time he’s wrestling with his emotions over what his parents will say when they find out, he doesn’t realize they already know. What Nick has to learn is restraint, patience and unconditional love. So what if RC is a little overweight, big, and burly. The way he makes him feel safe, protected and loved regardless is what Nick comes to realize are the important things. He fell in love with someone, the wrapping doesn’t matter.

This book was an emotionally charged and endearing story about a very slow building love between two unlikely men. Trust and communication are what is at the root of their relationship, which is built before anything else, and it’s what makes them so strong. At first, it looked like this was going to be another ‘gay for you’ story, but as the story played itself out, it wasn’t that at all. And these characters were far from perfect, if anything, they were perfectly flawed. Another thing that only added to the depth of the story. And it was refreshing to read a character that was surrounded by love and acceptance, his demons were the ones he created himself by his actions, and only he can change that.

I devoured this book in one long setting. I was so intrigued by the dynamics of the characters, and the way they bounced off each other. Sexy, romantic, endearing and realistic are just a few words to describe this book. Definitely a must read.

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