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★★★★ The Truth about Riley by Henrietta Clarke ★★★★

This book is gorgeous. It is a heart-felt story of how one man’s love finally convinces another of his beauty.

The Truth about RileyThe Truth about Riley by Henrietta Clarke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Riley Aylworth’s life has been completely devoid of intimate contact since a fire three years ago left him with horrific facial scarring, so when he finds an ad for a phone sex service, he decides to give it a call. Except that the number is not a phone sex service—it’s the revenge Cameron Kirkwood’s ex-boyfriend took on the uptight advertising executive after Cam forgot their anniversary and accidentally put him in the hospital. Needless to say, after thirty-nine disturbing calls seeking phone sex, Cameron is at the end of his tether and yells at his fortieth caller. What he doesn’t expect is for Riley to hit redial and yell right back.

The argument helps both Cameron and Riley vent about their issues, and when they’ve calmed down, they decide to exchange numbers and talk again. From this decision springs a friendship that, over time, grows into a gentle romance—all over the phone, because Riley is too scared to meet Cam in person. Showing a potential boyfriend his disfigured face is the fastest way to get rejected, right? Even a month of scorching hot phone sex can’t change his mind, no matter how hard Cam tries to persuade him that with their phone chemistry, the sex would be so much better in person.

Meanwhile, Cam is haunted by the scarred blond he seems to be seeing everywhere, and Riley can’t get the handsome brunet who always seems happy to see him out of his mind. It’s a shock to both men to realise that the guy they’re falling for over the phone is also the man who brightens their day with just a smile; but it’s one thing to let a stranger smile at you and quite another to let him close enough to see into your soul. If Riley can’t break down the walls in his mind and believe that Cameron loves him in spite of his scars, their relationship may be doomed before they’ve even had a chance to kiss.

So what did I think?

This book is gorgeous. It is a heart-felt story of how one man’s love finally convinces another of his beauty.

Through a series of telephone conversations and over a period of months, Cameron and Riley share their thoughts and feelings and develop a deep connection. It is so easy to like both Cameron and Riley. Through conversations we learn that both men are intelligent and witty and kind.

But Riley is a haunted by his own face in the mirror and can’t believe anyone would be able to see past his scars. It is so sad and heartbreaking to read of him referring to himself as a monster. However this made it even more beautiful when Riley finally starts to understand how Cameron sees him…“You’re just the same as everyone else, Cam’s voice said in his head. You’re not a freak, not an outcast. You just need to find the right person to walk through life with. Your load may be heavier, but you don’t have to carry it alone.”

I appreciated the slow journey of the relationship, sure it was frustrating for the two to take so long to meet, but it made their final getting together so much more meaningful.

There are some very special romantic moments in the story and some beautiful ‘firsts’ – first touch, first kiss – but the most romantic element to me was towards the end of the book where Cam used songs to send special messages to Riley, messages about love, support and inner beauty.

Here are the songs if you are interested before reading the book.

The ending was wonderful as the trust and love shown by Cameron ensures Riley finally realises the truth and what is really important to him.

The author closes the book with mention of a continuation of Cam and Riley’s story in 2014 so something to look forward to! Yes, I would like to see more of them, particularly as they are now actually in the same room together! But I do feel that this book can be read very much as a standalone. The ending didn’t leave me feeling that anything was missing or unresolved.

4 Stars

To find out more about Henrietta Clarke and her books visit her website.

Buy The Truth About Riley from Amazon.

View all my reviews

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