5 out of 5 Stars
*I was provided a copy of Outcome by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*
Chase Gallardo hasn’t fully gotten over his kidnapping and five months in captivity, even though it’s been three years since he found freedom. The reason he believes he was targeted, that he’s gay, is just one more reason to keep his true nature to himself, even if it means a life of celibacy. He’s happy helping others and owning the bar he’s spent most of his life trying to afford.
Remy Stahl is on a downward spiral as his guilt eats away at him. He feels responsible for the kidnapping of ten men since he unknowingly gave his half brother the money that funded the kidnapping. His friends want to save him from the self-destructive lifestyle he’s adopted, but Remy doesn’t feel worthy of being saved.
A chance encounter between Chase and Remy, the person Chase was forced to portray during his time in captivity, sets both men on a path toward healing—and toward each other. They both will need to accept help from friends who are more like family, and they’ll need to lean on each other in order to get through the issues they face. When they develop feelings for each other, Chase will have to decide if he’s ready to face the world as a gay man or not.
Outcome is the second book in the Aftermath series by Cara Dee, and it is just as amazing as the first book. Although it builds on the story started in Aftermath, Outcome can definitely be read as a standalone. It focuses on different characters, but the main characters from Aftermath play a big part in Outcome. It is also so much more than a M/M erotic romance. Both Chase and Remy have a lot of growing and healing to do as part of the outcome of the kidnapping that took place three years prior.
Chase likes to fix everyone else’s problems but has never been good at accepting help for himself. Throughout the story, he learns it’s okay to lean on others for support. Sometimes it’s little things, like allowing his friends to help out at the bar, and sometimes it’s bigger things, like coming out of the closet after so many years of hiding and realizing that his friends won’t judge him. A relationship with Remy—half brother of Chase’s kidnapper—is the last thing Chase expects when he offers to help Remy with his issues. But it ends up being the icing on the cake as the two men lean on each other to get through their problems.
Remy’s guilt over what he feels is his part in the kidnapping leads him to no longer care what happens to his life. He’s been abandoned by his family and feels like he has no one left. But when his friends Minna and Andy try to save him, he begins to realize he has something to live for and that family doesn’t have to come from a blood relation. Once Chase enters the picture, Remy finds he can help the other man by helping himself. And accepting love from Chase heals Remy more than he ever thought possible.
I truly enjoyed reading Outcome and watching these men learn to open up and accept friendship and love. Cara Dee writes stories that are real and down to Earth, with problems that don’t disappear at the drop of a hat. Following this journey to self-discovery was fulfilling and exciting. This is another must read for fans of M/M erotic romance.