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Books 3 & 4 of The Men of Riverside series by Serena Yates

Men of Riverside explores the lives of a group of men who all share a high school in the fictional town of Riverside, Texas. Not all of them know they are destined to be couples. Some of them believe they are only friends.

Circumstances and life separate them, sometimes for several years. But luck, determination and love will help them get the reunions they deserve.

Reading Order:

  • Finding Elliot (book #1) 
  • Rediscovering Adrian (book #2) 
  • Understanding Mark (book #3) – in this review
  • Saving Zeke (book #4) – in this review
  • Forgiving Jason (book #5)
  • Loving Vincent (book #6)
  • Convincing Landon (book #7)
  • Helping Harry (book #8)

Understanding Mark (Men of Riverside, #3)Understanding Mark by Serena Yates

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Rick Dealy and Mark Shrader have the perfect, loving relationship, until a seeming act of betrayal threatens to destroy both their love and their lives…As a newly appointed lawyer in his uncle’s firm, Rick Dealy doesn’t have much time to get involved in a new relationship. But when he runs into Mark Shrader, his friend Adrian’s younger brother, he realises some pursuits are worth the time. He and Mark fall in love and share their lives, until Mark’s new job threatens to destroy everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve.Mark Shrader has had a crush on Rick for what feels like forever. And now that Mark s not so little, he’s determined to make Rick his lover. After orchestrating a chance meeting, things finally seem to be going his way. But when one of the men he performs live music for, Tony Mondello, decides he wants to be Mark’s lover, Mark must choose between his own safety and the life of his lover.Will Rick be able to understand what happened, find Mark and bring him back? Reader Advisory: This book is part of a series and while it can be read on its own, they are best read in sequence.

So what did I think?

First let me start by saying that I enjoyed this book. I liked both the characters of Mark and Rick and was therefore engaged in the story. The plot was interesting with some love, some sex and some drama all set at a good pace.

From the previous book Rediscovering Adrian, we knew that Mark was in trouble. He had gone to see his brother Adrian and was obviously in a bad position, under the control of suspected criminal Tony Mondello. In the previous book, Adrian was focused on his own problems and his boyfriend Peter’s shooting and didn’t let anyone know of Mark’s situation.

This book takes us back in time to see how Mark and Rick fell in love. It is sweet how Mark arranges their ‘accidental’ meeting after crushing on his brother’s friend for many years (“It made him feel like a stalker, but how else was he going to get Rick’s attention?”) Rick was friends with Adrian so knew Mark but it wasn’t until he saw this grown up version of Mark that his interest was definitely sparked. They make a really cute couple.

The drama begins when Mark starts working for Tony Mondello. Due to Tony’s threats, Mark is forced away from Rick. The story line was interesting as Mark sacrifices everything to protect the man he loves. What I struggled to understand was why Rick let him go – he took what he saw at face value and in typical romance fashion didn’t bother to get an explanation. It was strange that he didn’t think it weird that Mark didn’t return to get his stuff from the apartment, after the one time he knocked on the door. Surely any normal person would make contact?

Anyway, my real issue was the blurb. I felt it gave away too much of the plot. It tells of the ‘seeming act of betrayal’, ‘Tony Mondello, decides he wants to be Mark’s lover’, ‘Mark must choose between his own safety and the life of his lover’. I would have preferred these things to have evolved through reading the story.

The resolution between the men was also a bit too easy for my liking “We’ve agreed that it was all a misunderstanding, so I see no reason why we shouldn’t go back to normal.” but I loved Rick’s grand gesture  and the HEA with totally sweet proclamations of love.

3.5 stars

4 Stars

Saving Zeke (Men of Riverside, #4)Saving Zeke by Serena Yates

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Ben and Zeke have been best friends forever but can they become lovers without losing each other along the way?Ben Dealy longs for a loving relationship like the one his parents have, but he can t seem to connect to any of the women he dates like he does to his childhood friend, Zeke. As a police detective, admitting he’s gay could ruin his career. But when he discovers Zeke is in trouble, not admitting he’s gay may cost him much more than his job.Zeke has been fighting his attraction to Ben since college, but was determined to uphold the ‘expected’ lifestyle. When he discovers his fiancee, Claudia, is only after him for his money, he decides it’s time to stop running from the truth, and start fighting for the man he’s still crazy about.But will Ben and Zeke admit their feelings for each other or will Ben’s need for a career drive them further apart?Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series

So what did I think?

Saving Zeke continues the tradition of this series providing a nice, heartwarming story of two men who start as friends but become lovers.

I enjoyed that the men loved each other on an emotional level, it wasn’t just about the physical for Ben and Zeke. Yes, they did find each other an incredible turn on but it was very much a gay-for-you scenario.

The story is a little predictable in some ways, with the men having known at some level for quite some time that they meant more to each other but running from these feelings.
[They believe it is all one-sided with Zeke going so far as to get engaged and leaving town so as not to ruin Ben’s career.

Ben does a bit of investigation (surely it was an invasion of privacy checking into Zeke’s finances but Zeke didn’t seem to mind!) and realises he needs to help Zeke. Luckily Zeke had just found out the same information that Ben had and was already looking to end things with Claudia.

Moving back to Riverside and sharing a house with Ben presents a few challenges as the men continue to fight their feelings. Ben has worries about a promotion at work and Zeke needs to face his family. Plus there is drama caused by Zeke’s fiance Claudia (who was in the relationship for what she could get from Zeke and not love) which threatens their families and careers.

It was really sweet watching Ben and Zeke change from friends to lovers and the sexual aspects were handled really well. The scenes were romantic and sexy but acknowledged the men’s newness to gay sex. Trying new things was a beautiful experience that they shared together, each mindful of the other so taking things slowly and gently.

3.5 stars

4 Stars

To find out more about Serena Yates and her books, visit her website.

Buy the Men of Riverside Series from Amazon.

At under 100 pages you will need to make a assessment about the value for money for this book (currently at $6.13 on US Amazon)

View all my reviews

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2 comments on “Books 3 & 4 of The Men of Riverside series by Serena Yates

  1. Pingback: Books 5 & 6 of The Men of Riverside series by Serena Yates | Because two men are better than one!

  2. Pingback: Books 7 & 8 of The Men of Riverside series by Serena Yates | Because two men are better than one!

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