Strong Enough, an all-new sexy standalone from USA Today Bestselling author Melanie Harlow and David Romanov is available now !
by Melanie Harlow & David Romanov
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance
Publication Date: June 19, 2017
5 Love is Love CROWNS
Strong Enough couldn’t have been any more perfect. Melanie Harlow and David Romanov not only show how brave and strong people must be to embrace who they are but also to show the world who they love. Maxim and Derek’s story is inspirational and filled to the brim with love, of others and of self, and I couldn’t put it down!
Both of the men in this novel are fantastic characters. Maxim has that exuberance for life that just oozes off of the pages. Other characters and readers cannot help but succumb to his positive energy and endless optimism for the future. Additionally, Maxim is a hard worker, someone who knows good things won’t just come to him, and he is willing to sacrifice to achieve his dreams. The one thing he won’t sacrifice, though, is his happiness and who he is, and for that, readers respect this charismatic hero. Maxim’s love interest in this novel, Derek, couldn’t be more opposite than him. Derek has suppressed who he is in the pursuit of the “perfect life,” and while not all parts of him are hidden, one of the most important parts of him is. Watching him struggle with this part of himself, while at times hurting Maxim in the process, is hard to witness. It doesn’t always leave readers with the best feelings toward Derek. Melanie Harlow and David Romanov, however, depict his internal struggle and self-loathing in such a way that readers end up sympathizing with the war raging inside of him. It also helps that the authors chose a dual point-of-view, showing that Maxim, although hurting, understands the war he faces.
What is absolutely clear from the moment they meet is that these two have undeniable chemistry; it radiates from every page of this book, emotionally and physically. With each passing day, it becomes harder and harder for them, but even when they finally give in it isn’t smooth sailing. These moments are so emotionally charged that readers live for the moments when Maxim and Derek ignite again, each moment becoming hotter and more tender.
The pacing of this story is spot on. Melanie Harlow and David Romanov balance not only a romance but also the story of man looking to achieve his goals in a new country as well as a man trying to find his happily-ever-after. The three components of these stories work so well together and act as an impetus to drive the plot forward, allowing for the development of their relationship as well as them individually as characters. Like any great novel, this story is more than just a romance. It chronicles the struggle of someone coming to terms with who they are and who they love and being brave enough to tell the world. It encapsulates what all LGQBT romances show – love is love, and when Derek and Maxim are together there is no better example. Seeing these two come together, fall apart, and achieve their dreams is truly one of the best stories I’ve read.
I am such a fan of MM romances in general, but this one is really special. A lot of MM romances that I have read deal with characters who are open and out to the public, but watching the struggle for those still coming to terms with their desires and fear of exposure is one I do not see often. It, however, is important as many still struggle with this. This novel speaks to that and gives those fighting a voice, someone to look to and to give them hope that they, too, can find happiness with who they are and who they love. Because at the end of the day, everyone deserves happiness, love, and acceptance for who they are.
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.
I wasn’t looking for Derek Wolfe.
I wasn’t looking for anybody. All I wanted was to start a new life in America. But when I found myself stranded here with no place to go, he came to my rescue, offering me a place to stay.
He’s smart, successful, and sexy as hell—I can barely sleep knowing he’s right down the hall. And when the chemistry between us explodes one night with fierce, fiery passion, it’s hard to deny there’s something real between us.
But he does.
He says he was drunk. He says it was a one-time thing. He says he’s not into guys and what we did meant nothing.
He’s lying. Because it happened again, and again, and again. And it’s better every time.
I know we could be good together, and I want the chance to try, but I’m done hiding. If he’s not strong enough to admit the truth, I’ll have to be strong enough to walk away.
Get your copy of Strong Enough today!
Figuring I’d had enough booze to blunt his effect on me, I rolled up the sleeves of my black button-down shirt and moved next to him. “I’ll help you.”
I caught him trying to not to look at my wrists and forearms, and it made me smile. How does it feel to want someone and have to hide it? “You wash, I’ll dry?”
We worked in silence, shoulder to shoulder, and I found myself increasingly—and disturbingly—pleased at the thought of him being attracted to me and being forced to conceal it. It was fucking horrible of me to take pleasure in his discomfort, but I liked being secretly wanted. Being illicitly desired. Being the object of his covert glances and maybe even his darkest, dirtiest thoughts. I let our arms touch more than necessary, as thrilled by the physical contact as I was by the thought of what it might be doing to him.
For there is no man who does not sin.
My dick started to get hard, clearly unbothered by the whiskey that was breaking down my inhibitions, pushing past all my defenses, and letting my imagination run wild.
What’s in that gorgeous head of yours, Maxim? What’s behind those cobalt eyes? What would you do to me, if I let you? What would you let me do to you?
“Carolyn is so nice,” he said, handing me the last serving dish left to be dried.
What? He was thinking about Carolyn right now? He wasn’t supposed to be thinking about Carolyn—I was, goddammit!
But I wasn’t. “Yeah.”
He turned off the water. Rested his wet hands on the edge of the sink. “I didn’t realize you had a girlfriend.”
And I heard it in his voice—the slightest edge of jealousy, so faint I might never have noticed it had I not been so hyperaware of everything about him right now. I fucking loved it.
“She’s not my girlfriend.”
“Oh.” Now there was confusion. “I guess I misunderstood.”
“She wants to be my girlfriend.”
Of course there was silence. Maxim would never ask what the problem was. But I wanted to tell him. I wanted him to know. I wanted to share the impossible longing I felt with one person who might understand it.
“The problem is me.”
He was completely still. Before I could stop myself, I covered his right hand with my left. “Sometimes I don’t know what I want.”
He yanked his hand from beneath mine and we faced each other.
For the first time tonight, I looked him right in the eye. Nothing around us existed for me anymore. I heard only his breath. Smelled only his skin. Saw only his guarded expression.
I had to have him.
Melanie Harlow writes sexy, emotional romance about strong, stubborn characters who can’t help falling in love. She’s addicted to bacon, gin martinis, and summer reading on the screened-in porch. If she’s not buried in a book or binging on Netflix, you might find her running, putting a bun in someone’s hair, or driving to and from the dance studio. She lives outside Detroit with her husband and two daughters.
Melanie is the USA Today bestselling author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, MAN CANDY, AFTER WE FALL, IF YOU WERE MINE, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s.
Connect with Melanie:
Sign up for Melanie’s Newsletter: http://www.melanieharlow.com/subscribe/
For David Romanov, STRONG ENOUGH is to a great extent autobiographical. Born in Russia and raised in Europe, he landed in the United States at the age of 24, where he learned a lot about cultural differences between East and West. David firmly believes in ‘The One’ and learning through love. When he isn’t traveling or educating Melanie in Russian culture, he enjoys books and the company of his husband and dog in Los Angeles.
Connect with David: