Although There You Stand is the fifth book in the series, it can easily be read and enjoyed as a standalone. I know this because that’s what I did. I have not read any of the other books in the series, nor have I read any of Ms. Lee’s other work, but I had no problem reading this installment out of order and would not have known that it was part of a series were it not listed as such.
Cory Easton is suffering from a bad case of unrequited lust. For a straight man. Or so he assumes. And because aloof and stand-offish don’t even begin to accurately describe how much distance Jude puts between himself and others, Jude’s heterosexuality is a fair assumption on Cory’s part. Thankfully, it was the wrong one. While both Cory and Jude have some serious baggage from their pasts, as Ms. Lee reveals the tidbits about Jude’s past, his distance is understandable. But thanks to one seriously unmindful dog, Cory finds himself thrust into Jude’s life repeatedly – despite Jude’s best intentions. While the sex is intense, it is the actual development of the relationship between Cory and Jude that I enjoyed the most. Watching Cory navigate the waters of Jude’s past and present proved to be an interesting combination of entertaining and frustrating.
Speaking of frustrating (terrible segue, I know), I’ll be honest – I wasn’t quite sure how to rate this book. I kept wavering between three and four stars and as I rarely give a half-star rating because none of the reviews sites I post on allow it, I was unsure of what to do. However, as I wrote this review I realized why I was so indecisive (me? indecisive? I know!). I often found myself as frustrated with the book as Cory found himself frustrated with Jude. But once I realized that my frustration mirrored that of Cory’s and suspected that that was the author’s intent, the decision was easy. Although I did find it harder to connect with the characters than normal, coming to the understanding that it wasn’t the writing but rather the manner in which the storyline played out made the 4-star rating a no-brainer because even though I was often as frustrated as could be while reading the book, it was Cory’s frustration I was channeling. I really enjoyed There You Stand and look forward to checking out more of Ms. Lee’s writing.
I loved the back story of each of the men. It was well written and thorough. I loved that there was more to their relationship than just sex. It had the right amount of angst (Mmm, love me some angst) and sensuality to make the attraction believable and sustainable. Also, the secondary characters worked really well and I really want to go back and read more of this series.
Overall, this is one fantastic story!