Title: The Way Back
Author: Carter Quinn
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Riley, Jason
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
In freshman year, Riley Evans met the best friends he ever thought he’d have, Jason and Eric. But then his friendship with Eric turned into something much more. That relationship ended almost as soon as it began, and Riley hasn’t let anyone near his heart since. Until now.
When Riley needed him most, Jason helped pick up the pieces. Six years later, he’s once again part of Riley’s life. Riley is slowly letting Jason past his defenses and is starting to see how good they are together. They’re even planning a romantic weekend getaway. Then, out of the blue, Eric calls, claiming he wants Riley back.
Riley has been dreaming about Eric for six years, but suddenly he can’t he stop thinking of Jason. Jason, who has always been there when Riley needs him—who puts Riley’s happiness above his own, even if that means his own heart will suffer. Jason insists Riley face his old feelings for Eric to make sure they’re really gone. But are they? If Riley can’t learn from his mistakes, he may be destined to repeat them—and Jason won’t wait forever.
First love. We’ve all experienced it, and many of us were heartbroken when it didn’t work out. Although most of us are able to go on with our lives, unfortunately there are some of us who do not. There are those people who can’t get past the pain of losing their first love, and in my opinion the book, The Way Back is an excellent portrayal of exactly what can happen to those who have difficulty getting on with life after losing such an important person in their lives.
For the past six years, Riley has been going through the motions of life. Although he enjoys his job and has good friends, Riley has successfully kept perspective suitors at bay. You see, six years ago Riley fell madly in love with Eric, and when his lover left him to marry a woman, Riley never got over it. For years, Riley was consumed with the hope Eric would come to this senses and return to him, but to Riley’s utter sadness it does not. But, one of Riley’s best friends, Jason, has been a staple in Riley’s life. Ironically, Jason is Eric’s brother and he’s been estranged from Eric for years.
Ever since he met Riley, Jason has loved him. He’s been a devoted friend, and helped Riley pick up the pieces of his life when his brother left him heartbroken. Finally, after years of hoping that Riley will see him as more than a friend, they start to date and quickly become comfortable in their new budding relationship. But just as things are starting to really heat up between them, out of the blue, Eric calls and Riley is faced with the difficult decision of what to do.
I really loved this book! I could easily empathize with Riley’s loss. I understood why Riley had difficulty letting go of the hurt and betrayal that Eric put him through. I also quickly rallied behind Riley and Jason’s relationship. Early on, it’s very apparent that these two men really fit well together and have a strong foundation of friendship and more between them. When Eric calls and once again disrupts Riley’s life, I was a little surprised that Jason actually encourages Riley to see Eric, so he can hopefully get some closure from the past. It was painful to me to watch Eric and Riley try to rekindle their feelings, while the sweet and amazing Jason patiently waited for Riley work through his issues.
I loved Jason! He’s smart, sexy and such a patient and amazing man. I also appreciated that even though he wants Riley to work through his issues, he’s definitely NOT a doormat either. I liked that he took no crap off of Riley (you’ll have to read why) and once Riley got a clue and realized how much he loved Jason, he actually had to fight AND eat a little crow to keep Jason beside him.
As much as I loved Jason, I hated Eric. Honestly, I don’t know if I ever really warmed up to him much. I realize he too had to find his own way, but I thought he was very self-centered and careless with his actions, and it was because of these careless actions that led to some serious consequences for all of them. He kind of redeemed himself in the end, but I still never cared for him.
I loved the complex triangle Mr. Carter created between the three characters, and I enjoyed watching the three of them work through their issues and come to a very realistic and natural conclusion. Mr. Carter really is able to get to the heart and soul of his characters. I thought all of them were very well written and interesting people in their own right. I also appreciated how much personal growth Riley goes through as the story progressed. All three of them really do live and learn from their past and past mistakes, and I enjoyed watching them grow into stronger-better men.
The Way Back is written in first person through Riley’s eyes. Because Riley is such a likeable character, I really enjoyed seeing what was going on in his head. I also loved the banter between Riley and Jason, and the strong chemistry they had together. There were also times I wanted to choke Riley for being blind, but then in the next moment I felt the intense need hug him for the bittersweet journey he goes through to truly find his true love.
This is the first book I’ve read by Carter Quinn and it definitely won’t be my last. I really enjoyed the author’s easy style of writing and intense storytelling ability, that immediately gripped this reader’s attention very early on and held it until it was finished. I’m looking forward to reading more by Mr. Quinn and highly recommend The Way Back if you are craving a romantic read about discovering what true love really is. Highly Recommended!
Reviewed By: Gabbi