“The best kind of people are the ones that come into your life and make you see sun where you once saw clouds. The people that believe in you so much, you start to believe in you too...”~ Jelly Wong (Life Lessons Learned)
While working on an assignment, Ben Collins of 'The Ex Factor' by RJ Scott, meets a talented musician named Daniel Lincoln. He's attracted to Daniel, but Daniel is standoffish and quiet. Ben knows that Daniel has a boyfriend and is not a man who would try to come between them. Ben senses that something is not quite right about Daniel but can't put his finger on it. When Daniel gets into a situation where he needs someone's help and calls Ben, even if he shouldn't, Ben is determined to help as much as Daniel will allow.
As hard as he tries, Ben can't forget Daniel; but he hasn't used the number Ben supplied him with before they parted. Ben is considering another assignment when he gets a cryptic message from a friend of Daniel's relaying that he's in trouble and needs Ben's help. Ben successfully tracks Daniel down, but is appalled by the condition in which he finds Daniel; he insists Daniel tell him what's going on. Daniel has no choice but to lay out the whole sordid truth about the abuse Daniel has endured at Cam's hands. Daniel's safety is the first thing they have to address and Ben flies into action, using all the resources available to him. Even though he knows the rules, Ben can't help himself for going above and beyond for Daniel. Especially with Cam's abuse, he treads very gently where Daniel is concerned, being as sure as he can a relationship is what Daniel wants, yet, falling in love with him a little more each day.
Daniel has been in a living hell for a long time, having to be constantly on guard, minding his every move, every word, while deferring to Cam in every facet in his life. Daniel is beyond embarrassed that anyone might find out how he is living. At the same time, trying to tell himself Cam does what he does because he loves Daniel and knows what's best for him and the beatings are necessary to set Daniel straight.” The most recent attack broke something in him. Daniel realizes he simply can't live like that any more. As humiliated as he is to have to admit it, Daniel feels a great deal of relief after confessing to Ben; he also knows he's still not safe from Cam's wrath. With his eyes open, Daniel can see how different the world is without Cam. Visiting his parents is a great comfort; their support reminds Daniel how he is loved and how special he truly is. Daniel has become quite attached to Ben, but needs to be sure it's love and not just gratitude. As he sorts through these feelings, Daniel becomes more self-confident, and clearly able to say his feelings for Ben are real.
RJ has created a tale of intrigue and suspense with incredibly strong emotions, especially the feelings between Daniel and Ben. The activity behind the scenes at the contest are enlightening and depressing; Cam's behavior is appalling, distressing, and unforgivable. I was happy Ben could break out of his “bodyguard” persona when the rules didn't fit the circumstances. Daniel's personal growth was exceptional for someone who was battling his domestic violence dragons. If you enjoy stories about rock stars, bodyguards, talent shows, supportive families, and a happy ending, you may like this book. Thanks, RJ, for bringing Ben and Daniel together.