FIVE 5 Stars for Signs of Life by Melanie Hansen #MM #Romance @MelJoyAZ

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Title: Signs of Life
Author Name & Publisher: Melanie Hansen (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: September 28, 2015 – 80,000 Words

Synopsis

Successful lawyer Jeremy Speer has it all—a loving husband, a beautiful home, and a cherished dream that’s about to become reality. He’s learned not to take happiness for granted, meeting the challenges of life and love head-on with unwavering commitment and fierce devotion. A series of tragic events leave Jeremy shattered, adrift on a sea of unimaginable pain. He’s able to piece his life back together, but instead of embracing it, he merely exists, using isolation and punishing physical exertion to keep the world at bay.

High school teacher Kai Daniels has a heart for at-risk kids—he was one himself, and a teenage brush with the law and some troubled years behind bars left him scarred inside and out. With courage, hard work, and the support of friends, he’s built a fulfilling life that leaves no time for a relationship.

An intense encounter with Kai at a gay club ignites a spark in Jeremy that he thought was extinguished forever, but he’s unwilling to destroy the fragile peace he’s managed to create, and he leaves Kai humiliated and disappointed. Things should have ended there, but a bizarre occurrence brings the two together in a way neither of them expected.

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Review

FiveStars

Be prepared to have tissue as soon as you read this. I started this book before bed and ended up crying myself to sleep. This is an emotional book dealing with so many issues. It was a rollercoaster of a book and the way the author wrote about those subjects was amazing. Jeremy and Kai both went through so much and came out stronger. You could feel their emotions as if they were your own. This was a beautiful story with a lot of heart and life lessons, highly recommend

Angie

FiveStars

I loved the first book in this series so much, so I was looking forward to reading book 2.  Let me tell you, this book was just as good as book 1.

If you can make it through chapter 1 without crying your doing good. The heartache that happens will just tear you apart, with feeling so bad for Jeremy.  At some point I was wishing things would get easier for Jeremy.  Then he meets Kai.  Jeremy struggles with his feelings while trying to come to terms with his losses.

It was an emotional story that I loved.  The two of them made a perfect couple, it was a very steamy story. The ending of the book takes you back to the men from the first book and it was perfect.  I definitely am looking forward to reading Loren’s story next.

Sherry

FiveStars

I absolutely fell in love with this story.  It had angst, love, hope, sadness, true trials and tribulations and a renewed sense of community.
Kai is a reformed gang member who decided to put his strength, knowledge and brain to good use helping kids who were perhaps not given every opportunity – he wanted to save those kids who were heading down a dangerous path.  And, while his job was trying and sometimes he was tired, he never stopped.  Knowing he saved just one kid from a life of crime was enough for him.  Kai’s character is resilient, just like the title suggests.  He had several mitigating factors early on in his life that led him to where he is today and while I’m sure we all wish that he would not have been dealt those curve balls, the fact that he was able to pull himself together, make something of himself and not look back is something great.
His best friend Loren was someone who was always by his side.  I felt that Loren’s character was so important, because without Loren in his life, Kai might not have made it as far as he did.  He also would not have developed the relationships with other members of their community – the kids and teacher that would allow for such a wonderful story to come full circle.  I liked how Loren was always there for Kai, right up until I didn’t.  I saw the co-dependency in their relationship and knew that it would only lead to things that were not so easily fixed.  But, I also understand why they needed each other like they did.  I also loved how despite Loren’s unwillingness to come out of the closet did not deter Kai’s friendship didn’t waiver.
Then you have Jeremy.  Oh man, I wept from the very beginning of this story.  Brent’s depression didn’t diminish Jeremy’s love in him at all.  In fact, I thought Jeremy was so accommodating and loving that I was almost tempted to not finish the book when tragedy struck because I didn’t know if I could handle the emotions that were running through my head.
This story is about loss, overcoming loss, allowing forgiveness and finding yourself enough to let someone else in.  I was literally crying (The ugly kind of crying!) in my car as I listened to this story – hoping nobody looked over and wondered what was so wrong.  There were so many emotions that Hansen was able to pull out of me.
This was my first Hansen book and I absolutely loved it.  The only issue I had (and it might have been because I received an advance copy), but the formatting was very hard to decipher at times, who I was reading about.  Also, and I’m sure this was because it was an advanced copy, but the interjected numbers, along with the title and author were incredibly distracting to listen to and read.  It would be more helpful to not have those, because it makes the story much more choppy.
I cannot wait to read Loren’s story!
AvidReader
FiveStars
Have the tissues for the first part of this book because I cried my eyes out after reading what happened.. Just wow!! I can not even imagine what Jeremy was going though.
Jeremy I want to say I really loved his character! For everything he had been through and to come through it with work on himself and facing what happened.
Kai is a teacher who just wants to help his students to a better life.
The sparks between these two and how it all started really grabbed me and honestly I was up until 1am reading this book! I just could not put it down once I started it.
This book had lots of steam and angst which I loved and thought fit this story perfectly.
Jeremy fights his attraction to Kai after what happened to Brent so at first his attitude did throw me off and the way he treated Kai I can say honestly I was not a fan of that until I read further and realized why he acted the way he did then it all started making more since to me. Loren Kai’s friend, was not sure how I felt about him at first now I just can not wait to read his book!
This whole book was beautiful with how Jeremy and Kai grew together and Jeremy faced letting go of what happened in the past and trying to move forward, to not live in the pain anymore.All together I loved this book!I would definitely recommend this book!

Kara
FiveStars

I knew this was going to be wonderful when the first chapter had me in tears.  I couldn’t see a resolution at that point, but I was firmly in love with the story.

And it gets better.  Kai and Jeremy are slightly older than the usual romantic leads and they bring a whole lot of baggage into their fledgeling relationship.  Rather than weigh the story down, the men’s pasts make them feel more real and infinitely more human than the typical romantic leading men.  

High school teacher Kai is wonderful.  A former gang-member who spent two years in detention, Kai is determined to help his own students secure better futures for themselves.  Kai is beautiful and strong but his past has made him wary.  He finds it difficult to trust.

Jeremy lost his husband and unborn son in the space of two months.  Two years later, he is still grieving but desperate to find a way to move on and start over.  He throws himself into his work and training for marathons, but he isn’t happy.

The chemistry in this story is explosive.  These men are a perfect match, but they can’t seem to stop themselves from hurting each other.  

I loved the slow, careful relationship building.  I enjoyed the supporting characters – Kai and Jeremy’s friends and the kids Kai teaches all come across as believable and well developed.  

This is a beautiful, complex romance and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Sarah

Excerpt

Jeremy almost flinched as the man’s eyes met his but somehow he managed not to. There was something vaguely familiar about him, which was why Jeremy had been watching him in the first place, but he was positive they’d never met. This man was unforgettable. When Jeremy had first walked into the club, so noisy and crowded, he’d almost turned around and left. It was a mad impulse that led him here in the first place, and it had been so long since Jeremy was impulsive that he felt shaken and out of his depth. That fact alone had stiffened his resolve to stay for at least a little while; then he’d gotten a glimpse of the beautiful, exotic man, and nothing could have convinced him to leave.

The first thing that struck Jeremy was how confident he seemed, how he held himself. Here was a man who knew who he was and was comfortable in his own skin. He was simply dressed in a tight black graphic T-shirt and jeans, but when he’d stood up from his stool to dig his wallet out of his back pocket to pay for his drink, Jeremy’s mouth watered as the jeans slid down to ride low on the man’s hips, showing a slice of muscled belly.

His shoulders were broad, his torso slim and compact yet rippling with muscle under the tight shirt. Long, lean legs were showcased by the soft, worn jeans, black boots completing the look. As Jeremy stood at the edges of the sheltering crowd and stared, he noticed the leather bracelets and silver rings the man sported on his wrists and hands, his eyes following the corded forearms up to a tattoo that was just visible on his right bicep, the lower edge of it peeking out of the sleeve of the shirt.

Jeremy edged closer, lust surging through him, his eyes drinking in thick black hair, carelessly styled, and a nose that had been broken before but did nothing to detract from the man’s startling good looks. As he tilted his head back to take a long swallow of his beer, Jeremy’s mouth watered at the arch of his throat, the muscles working as he swallowed, a pair of sinful lips wrapped around the tip of the bottle like Jeremy suddenly wanted them wrapped around the tip of his cock, drinking him down as Jeremy emptied his balls against the back of his throat….

Then the man’s eyes met his, the predatory heat in them making Jeremy’s knees weak. As the man licked his lips, Jeremy noticed with a jolt he was sporting a hoop through the lower one, emphasizing the plump fullness of it, and the simmering lust ramped up into raging hunger. Helplessly Jeremy moved closer, the man holding his gaze, the eyeliner he had lightly applied around his amazing golden eyes making him look even more exotic, dangerous.

Jeremy got as close as he could, the people massed around the bar making it difficult to get next to his target. The man looked Jeremy up and down leisurely, all the way to his feet and back up to his flushed and burning face; then he slowly spread his knees wide, making room for Jeremy between them. Jeremy moved in, feeling like he was strangling, his chest tight, the need to touch, kiss, lick and bite overwhelming him.

“Hey,” the man said, his voice deep and husky, lightly accented.

Jeremy swallowed, then nodded, all of his senses focused on the heat of the man’s body close to his, the way his legs looked splayed around Jeremy’s hips.

“Are you here with anyone?” he asked, annoyed at how abrupt his voice sounded. He wasn’t used to making small talk anymore, wasn’t used to the mating dance between strangers. It had been so easy with Brent: a backyard barbeque with friends, an introduction, mutual attraction and easy conversation leading to an invitation to dinner. They hadn’t spent more than a day or two apart after that.

The thought of Brent was like ice water on his ardor, and he could feel himself shutting down, wondering what the hell he was doing. Just as he was about to take a step back and leave, he felt the man settle his warm hands on his hips, stroking the skin between his shirt and the waistband of his jeans with a rough thumb.

“Just a friend,” the man said softly. Jeremy struggled to focus, remembering he’d just asked if he was here with anyone. The thumb caressing Jeremy’s sensitive skin was rough, callused, and it felt so good. It had been so long since he’d been touched….

Jeremy took a deep breath. He could do this… he wanted to do this. It was just fucking, just mutual pleasure with a willing stranger, a stranger he would never lay eyes on again. Purging his thoughts of anything except need, lust, he laid his hands high on the man’s splayed thighs,

drawing circles with this thumbs along the inner seam of his jeans, flirting with his crotch but not quite touching.

“I want to fuck you,” Jeremy blurted, hating himself for his ineptness, his cheeks flushing hotter as the man’s amazing eyes filled with amusement.

“Yeah, I got that, amigo,” he said, tightening his grip on Jeremy’s hips to keep him from moving away. “And I want to let you.”

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AuthorBio

Melanie Hansen has spent time in Texas and Florida prisons…for work.   She’s been in a room with a 17-year-old mass murderer who was also one of the most soft-spoken and polite teenagers she’s ever met.  After a 13-year career as a court reporter, she can tell many stories both hilarious and heartbreaking.

She grew up with an Air Force dad, and ended up marrying a Navy man.  After living and working all over the country, she hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to her stories about people finding love amidst real-life struggles.

Melanie left the stressful world of the courtroom behind and now enjoys a rewarding career transcribing for a deaf student.  She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.

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1 Comment

Filed under 5 Star, Angie, AvidReader, Kara, M/M, New Release, Review, Sarah, Sherry

One Response to FIVE 5 Stars for Signs of Life by Melanie Hansen #MM #Romance @MelJoyAZ

  1. Thank you so much for hosting SIGNS OF LIFE! Great reviews!

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