Stripped Away by Ellis Carrington

91fhh2KCSDL._SL1500_Title: Stripped Away
Series: The Escapade, #2
Author: Ellis Carrington
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Novel (351 pages)
Publisher: Self Published (August 4th 2014)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥ 3.5Hearts
Reviewer: Tams

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.


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 small towns, blue-collar men with big egos and bigger trucks, more emotional baggage than they can carry, and highly charged man on man action.

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Review: Growing up in a strictly religious home where his father made an art form out of bigotry all while wearing the title of Reverend, David Moorehouse kept his sexuality a secret. So the betrayal cuts very deep when upon his father’s death, David and his mother learn that his father had another family, another wife and another son just a few hours away. And then to add salt to the still gaping wound, that brother and the brother’s best friend show up at his father’s funeral.

They get off to a rocky start, but when his brother Greg leaves, his best friend Ricky makes David promise to call him if he needs anything. Circumstances lead David to have to make that call. When David gets out from under the judgement and expectations he’s lived his entire life, his eyes are opened and he sees that there is a lot more to life than the one he’s been living. Problem is, he’s scared to death of being hurt, so going back to his mundane existence may be better than a broken heart.

Ricky Slade is Greg’s childhood best friend and business partner. As he explains to David at one point in the story, he doesn’t like labels. Labels belong on cans, why would he put his ass on a shelf. You see, there is this insane animalistic attraction that’s shooting sparks between Ricky and David. But David is confused because Ricky has been with and was even engaged to a woman. Being a closeted gay man in a small hatefull southern town tends to cloud the brain a little.

These two have two temperatures, hot and cold. Things can get broken at either temperature. The question is whether it’s the bed, or someone’s face. While I enjoyed the underlying story of the openly bisexual free-spirited man meets the closeted religiously strapped and confused gay man, the angst drove me bat shit crazy! I HAD to know where the relationship was going to go though, so I pushed through. There were some choppy moments along the way as well, where the story seemed to fall off or just break, the flow wasn’t consistent. And the majority of the time miscommunication was their only form of communication.

I did, however, thoroughly enjoy the three-dimensional secondary characters. The brother and his devoted partner, the best friend running from an abusive boyfriend, the psycho ex, the moms and of course, the smoldering hot male leads. That lovely twist at the end threw me as well, and I do like when a story can surprise me, so Kudos to Carrington for keeping me guessing.

If you like stubborn ass alpha male types, some pretty good sex that doesn’t necessarily always happen in a bed, and hard-won love stories then this is a safe bet for you.