Fish Stick Fridays by Rhys Ford #Review

Fish Stick Fridays by Rhys Ford #ReviewFish Stick Fridays by Rhys Ford

Series: #1 Half Moon Bay
Genres: M/M Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Dreamspinner Press on November 30, 2015
Pages: 204
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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four-half-stars      four-flames

I confess it was the title that grabbed my attention first, but then the blurb sounded good.  Little did I know that this was going to be easily one of my best reading experiences probably for the year and beyond.  Loved the blend of grit, humor, sweet, hot, vulnerable, and just so adorable.  There was a romance, the making of a family, and some suspense tossed in for good measure.

Deke grew up lean and hard and it made him tough.  As an ex-con ex-foster care mom did drugs barely making it mechanic, he’s the last person that should have the care of a little girl, but Zig is his now and he will do right by her.  If that means, lemon drops instead of smokes, a sidecar on his Harley, trading fishsticks on Fridays for greenbeans on Thursdays, wearing a tutu to the school to make a point to a bully, and trying harder than he ever has in his life to trust the system, then so be it.

Deke and Zig leave their old life behind and start a new one in Half Moon Bay where they meet clean cut and buttoned up Lang.  Lang comes from wealth and never grew up with Deke or Zig’s reality, but has his own troubled past with a cold and dysfunctional family and an ex that nearly carved his heart out.  Literally.  He lives quietly in his grandmother’s old antebellum family mansion, cares for her cats, and runs his cozy bookstore.  His gray boring life explodes with color when a little girl with fuzzy golden hair, black combat boots and a tutu bursts into his bookstore to seduce his cat, and bring a hot and smoldering bad boy uncle in her wake that curls his toes.  Lang doesn’t know what to make of this odd pair that wrangle about swearing and negotiate the purchases of books and healthy meals, chores, fighting at school, and nightmares that no child should have.  He feels a part of something when he is with them, but danger trails them or does it trail him?   So when stuff starts happening, the police are not lacking for motives and suspects.  Meanwhile, Deke and Lang decide to take a chance and make what shouldn’t be become something special.

Can’t get over how much I fell in love with these characters and was rooting hard for them to come together.  Zig and Deke are an eccentric pair that liven up any scene and it all began when they burst through the doors of Lang’s bookstore and stole the heart he didn’t think he had left to give.  And Lang, he fell in love with a pair of misfits and became one of them.  They all blended so well together.

The romance is quick, but I didn’t mind because it was sprinkled with action scenes and daily life.  These guys just clicked and I could buy that they fell in love on first sight.  They had to negotiate their pasts and reconcile their differences.  Deke is proud and independent so he isn’t sure about being with a wealthy guy who grew up on the straight and narrow just like Lang worries that his fears and hesitancy and weakness from his past make him poor relationship material.  They are slightly envious of each other’s backgrounds.  Deke wonders what it would be like never to hurt for money or to grow up without the fear that comes from living in a rough neighborhood and Lang sees the way Deke warmly protects and loves Zig and wishes he had that since his family is cold and he grew up lonely.

Zig is a huge part of the story.  She is a main character as much as Deke or Lang even though she doesn’t narrate.  The lost little girl who had a terrible life until her Uncle Deke came along is older than her years in ways, but still so very much a little girl who is scared of the dark and wants a friend to play with her.  Watching Deke and Zig figure out being a family like normal people and then bring Lang into their family was too sweet for words.

“And promise that once I give you this cup, it’ll stay that way?” Lang held the brimming mug up for her to see.  “I also know you don’t have any money so you’re going to have to work off that f-word.  Maybe emptying the trash can at the counter.”

“No take backs.  Uncle Deke says only assholes do take backs.” Zig kicked at the leg of her chair.  “Rule one of life is ‘don’t be an asshole’.”

“Really?” he debated the topic, wondering how it would fit into his siblings’ child-rearing techniques…”Does Deacon agree with this philosophy?”

“Who do you think told it to me?” She snorted, then sniffed at the cup he gave her.  “He says it pretty much covers everything.  I don’t really need a rule two if I follow rule one.”

Loc 1739  Zig and Lang of Fish Stick Fridays

 

“Zig’s fine.  It’s all fine.”

His eyes burned, and Lang blinked, not surprised at the tears on his lashes.  Deacon swiped at his cheek, his thumb scraping a rough path on Lang’s face.

“Funny thing is…I’m just like Zig.  I just…you’re the first one who’s just been there for me.  I didn’t realize it until now.  Everything you give her, you give me.”

He cupped Deacon’s strong face, achingly beautiful features he’d grown used to waking up next to.  Lang wanted to breathe Deacon in, hold every bit of him inside for the times when he felt foolish or weak.  He knew they were in trouble.  The run to a seedy motel with questionable bedding was proof of that, but despite the tight grip of uncertainty in his belly, Lang felt safe, loved.

Loc 3084 Lang and Deke in Fish Stick Fridays

And bonus, Lang’s cozy bookstore with the fireplace, the stuffed chairs, the marmalade cat, the cocoa, and they all share a love of books and talk about them.  Deke has wall to wall shelves and Lang has a two story library full.  Heaven, people!

All in all, this was delightful and heartwarming, funny and intense, and I didn’t want the story to end.  This is for those who enjoy this brand of m/m contemporary romance or light suspense.  I will definitely be checking out more from this author.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #67 LGBT
Literary Pickers #64 ‘window shutters

Diversity #14
NtM #29 author/series
Bad Boy #9
Books N Tunes #11 Michael Jackson’s Will You Be There

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

Latest posts by Sophia Rose (see all)

  • Ooh, adding to my list! I can’t remember where I read a review of this, but the reader loved it so I was waiting on some more thoughts before I added it. Great review!

    • So glad you’re interested, Lekeisha. I thought it was fab of course, but would love to see what you think when you get a chance to read it.

  • I so love a couple that just clicks together!!

    • Me, too! Deke was gruff looking and had a hard life, but he could be gentle and protective. And Lang just wanted to belong to a family and feel wanted. They were great together.

  • I’m always so impressed when an author can do insta and make me believe it. That’s so rare! You’ve been on quite the m/m binge, Sophia! They’ve all sounded really great. You may just sway me into trying a couple of them out 😀

    And I’m officially done comment bombing you. Heh. (I’m caught up I swear)

    • LOL! I don’t mind the comment bombs. I have to check through each of my posts once in a while to see if new comments are added since I don’t have another way to know so I’m already there. 😉

      Yes, this was a cutie story and so much about it worked for me though it fell apart for other folks from what I could see in the reviews. Sometimes it just clicks without rhyme or reason and that makes up for all the ones I can’t click with that everyone loves.
      Oh yep, I’ve read probably twice as many m/m books lately as I’ve been catching up my TBR/review stacks. I go in moods just like with other types of romance elements.

      • Ahh yeah. Can you not do the subscribe to post comments button thing? I’ve not done it on mine since I get them but I think some of the authors have done that for posts.

        This is true. It’s always interesting to see how people can react so differently to the same text on page.

        • Maybe, I’ll have to figure out how to do that.

          • At the very very very bottom of the page under the you might like these other posts on D.R there’s a pale grey envelope that if you click it says subscribe to discussion.

            • Thanks! I would have never spotted that. I looked at the Discus home page, my home page, and even around on this page. That will be so helpful.