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Review: Shared Secrets by R. Cayden Leave a comment


Rating: 3.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Russell Young has just moved to Pittsburgh to start his new life, determined to be himself now that he’s out on his own. But after only three weeks, his roommate apologetically tells him he needs to go, and Russell faces either having to take help from his brother’s best friends or be homeless. Despite wanting to prove he can make it on his own, he accepts the help. The problem is that Blake and Casey have starred in all Russell’s dreams and fantasies since he was old enough to have them.

Blake and Casey have been inseparable since they were teenagers, and have always been there for each other. They also have a friends-with-benefits thing going on, even though Blake is basically straight. But Blake would definitely go for more with Casey, except Casey is bound and determined to stay single and hook up with Blake and others, rather than to settle down. Casey knows he needs to let Blake go so Blake can find the relationship and forever that he wants. But they take care of each other, and neither man is ready to let the other go, and especially not their friendship.

After Russell moves into the spare room, the three men find an easiness that has been there since they were younger. But there’s definitely tension sizzling under the surface. Russell finds the confidence to show both Blake and Casey who he truly is: a tool belt and make up wearing man. Both Blake and Casey are drawn to the younger man, and when the three finally act on their attraction, sparks ignite.

It isn’t long before all three are together regularly, but lack of communication plagues them. Casey thinks Blake and Russell would be perfect together, Blake thinks the same for Casey and Russell, and Russell has no idea how to tell both his men that he’s falling for them. But one moment in time has all three taking a leap for a happily ever after.

I enjoy the mostly low angst storylines in the His Best Friend’s Brother series, so I was happy to pick up another one of Cayden’s books. And while I really liked the characters and the relationship they built here, I definitely came away with from this one with mixed feelings. The author relied too heavily on lack of communication here to drive the plot, and it didn’t work as well for me, which was disappointing.

I really enjoyed the first person POV of all three characters throughout the book. It definitely worked to the reader’s advantage, because without it, we wouldn’t have been able to see exactly where each of the three men were coming from. I loved the found family feel of this story, especially between Casey and Blake (and their other best friend, Russell’s brother Peyton, though his role is relatively minor here). Casey’s life, in particular, has been rough, especially growing up. He’s got a tender heart underneath a somewhat indifferent seeming exterior, and it was great to see Blake and Russell have his back. I also appreciated that he got closure toward the end about one major issue in his life.

Russell is finding the confidence to express himself the way he feels most comfortable, and a chance meeting with River (from Forbidden Friend) gives him the extra push he needs. It helps that as soon as Blake and Casey find out, they are not only supportive, but just as, if not more, attracted to Russell. He’s definitely newer to relationships and sexual experiences than the other two, but all three men fit together well and it’s easy to see what draws them together.

Blake might seems like he’s the most together out of all three of them, but he also is seen as straight, though he admits to himself he’s not entirely straight. He has to do a little soul searching, but it doesn’t take him long to realize that while he’s mostly attracted to women, he’s also occasionally attracted to men, and especially attracted to both Casey and Russell. I thought the author handled this well without straying too far into “gay for you,” as this is definitely not that.

As I said, I really enjoyed these guys and the story of them finding how to fit together. But this story was plagued by lack of communication that, frankly, drove me a little crazy. Blake thinks one way, Casey thinks something else, and they never, ever talk about any of it. As close as these guys are, you would have thought that at some point, somehow, some of these things would have been discussed in one way or another. Russell even gets into the act by holding back on his own feelings, but he gets more of a pass given the situation. So many times, I just wanted these guys to talk, especially considering the reader is privy to what the guys are thinking. It was frustrating, and at times, down right annoying. It was the only thing that kept these guys from moving forward, and it felt to me like a weak conflict point.

Overall I liked this book and it was a nice addition to the series. I really enjoyed the characters and they fit together well. It’s low angst and definitely a sweet story, with a few heavier moments that give the book a nice weight. But relying so heavily on lack of communication gave the story weak points that didn’t work as well for me. It won’t keep me from reading more in this series though, and if you’re looking for low angst, trope heavy stories, this series is one you should consider.



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