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★★★★ The Unconditional Love series by Wade Kelly ★★★★

The Unconditional Love series

  • When Love Is Not Enough (Book #1) – this is a Bittersweet title. Books in this Dreamspinner Press series do not have a happy ending.
  • The Cost of Loving (Book #2)

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When Love Is Not Enough (Unconditional Love, #1) (Bittersweet Dreams)When Love Is Not Enough (Unconditional Love, #1) by Wade Kelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb…

A six-year downward spiral into a world of lies and deception leads to the end of one man’s life when self-discovery crosses the line between being the perfect son or following his heart.

Jimmy Miller never intended to lead a double life starting the day he fell in love with Darian, but his parents’ divorce, fighting in school, and constantly keeping secrets for his closeted best friend and protector, Matt, force his hand. Jimmy finds the demands too great to withstand and ends it all prematurely, leaving behind an angry best friend and a shattered lover.

Matt and Darian cling to one another in the aftermath of their loss, forging a new friendship immediately tested by the truths of their relationships with Jimmy that are hidden in the pages of Jimmy’s journals. Will Matt and Darian discover what truly happened to their friend? And will this tragedy birth something beautiful between them as they learn the balance between life, family, and friendship when love is simply not enough?

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

So what did I think?

“Know that I loved you more than the stars have power to kiss the night sky.”

I put off reading this for such a long time. I was worried about the subject matter and the unhappiness of the story. Yes, it was sad. How could it not be when dealing with the suicide of a young man? But it wasn’t quite  the tearjerker I expected.

This was such a unique look at one man’s life and the people he left behind. Jamie left behind two men who mourned him – his best friend Matt and his fiance Darian – two very different men. They have never met (in fact Matt doesn’t even know of Darian) who come together in their grief.

Through reading Jamie’s journals, we come to understand some of what lead to him taking his life and a lot about his feelings for Matt and Darian, both men whom he loved.

Sometimes sweet, lots of times sad, this story is quite emotional. I also loved the way we see the different POV of Matt and Darian….

“I didn’t expect to fall in love in the aftermath of life-shattering sorrow, but I met Darien and my heart could not resist his warm lips and beautiful brown eyes.
Matt swept into my life like a hurricane on AMP, and suddenly I was freefalling…away from the paralyzing anguish of my loss and into the warm shelter of unexpected tenderness.”

There is no happy ending – this is a Bittersweet title – maybe the possibility of a tentative happy-in-the-future for Matt and Darian? Luckily book 2, The Costs of Living, is available to continue the story.

“The morning holds what comes next.”
“Will this all fade into nothing?”

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The Cost of Loving (Unconditional Love, #2)The Cost of Loving by Wade Kelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Matt Dixon, a young firefighter, is the golden child of his family, and he never dreamed that coming out would challenge more than the way his church sees him.

For years, Matt has led a double life hoping to avoid ridicule. When a self-righteous pastor’s statements provoke him to defend his recently deceased best friend’s honor and subsequently out himself, he suffers the brutal aftermath of his revelation. Everyone in his life, including his family and his new lover, Darian, must deal with the ramifications as Matt struggles to come to terms with guilt, shame, and his very belief in God.

Darian Weston lost his fiancé when Jamie took his life, and his feelings for Matt added guilt to his burden of grief. Confused and lonely, Darian clings to Matt despite his inner strife. But small-town realities keep intruding, and if Matt and Darian hope to make a life together, they must first take a stand for what they believe in, even if they fear the cost.

So what did I think?

The Cost of Loving is the follow up book to the Bittersweet title, When Love Is Not Enough. It was not the book I was expecting but was a wonderful emotional journey.

This is the continuation of Matt and Darian’s story which really focuses on the struggles they both face as they continue to deal with the aftermath of Jamie’s suicide and the evolution of their new relationship.

For Matt, it is a story of coming out and dealing with the resultant backlash from his family, his work colleagues and his church. While he struggles with the loss of his best friend and his job and comes to terms with the way his life is now, he also has to support Darian through his own struggles.

Darian faces the dark depths of depression with far reaching ramifications. He is haunted by Jamie and turns to drugs, self harm and tremendous amounts of sex to help him forget his pain.

I found this story at times very dark but at times so hopeful. It is a story dealing with passion, guilt, depression, loss, bigotry, sacrifice and love. Perfect for when you need a good emotional read.

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 To find out more about Wade Kelly and her books visit her website.

Buy the books from Amazon.

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