Book Title: BREATHE (London Love book 1)
Author: Sophia Soames
Cover Artist: Christina Stern
Release Date: May 15, 2021
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Themes: Adult entertainment industry, Heartbreak, Found family
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 108 758 words/ 300pages
It is a standalone story.
It is Book 1 in the London Love series.
A companion novella, EXHALE, will be released in May as part of the Love is All 4 anthology.
Trigger warning/Author note: This book contains an off-page description of a sexual assault.
Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited
Meet Ryan, aka, Joey Hole, disgraced former adult entertainer with more issues than he can keep track of. His boyfriend left him for an Instagram twink with 150K followers, his Mum wants him out of her spare room and then there’s that idiot at college who just won’t take no for an answer.
Meet Luke. He was once the rich kid who’d just been gifted his first car, and now he doesn’t even own a bike. He’s also slumming it in a house full of ungrateful siblings and his first trip to the Food-bank gave him some goddamn emotional scars. Life is getting better though, and he’s acing it at college, as well as making some brilliant new friends. Well except for that stuck up twatwaffle Ryan who won’t talk to him and refuses to like his brilliant social media posts….
The first book in the new London Series. This series will follow the ups and downs of three couples living extraordinary ordinary London lives.
My headphones blasted music as I walked down the college corridors towards the on-site gym, where our first session today would cover gentle workouts for the older generation, a topic I found intriguing. I liked the idea of giving something back. Not that I had any contact with any of my grandparents. All except for my maternal grandfather had long departed, and I wasn’t even sure he still lived in the country. Family could be an unwelcome obligation, but if there was one thing I would fight for to the death, it was that Olive would never be sent to some goddamn boarding school and would never, fucking ever be looked after by our parents again. That was like…fuck. I was sweating just imagining the horror my little sister would go through. In any circumstance, it would never happen. She had us in her corner now, and we would bloody protect her to the end of the earth.
The gym was busy as always, a few people huddled over by the water dispenser, and there was muffled giggling coming through from the weights room, where I could see all the girls in our class bent over staring at the phone in Danielle’s hand. Well, all except Bridget, who stormed out and barged past me without saying hello.
“What did you do to Bridget?” I asked, squeezing down on the last remaining place on the bench and huffing in disappointment when Danielle pressed the screen against her chest and glared at me like I’d interrupted something private. I probably had, but as always, I didn’t have the sense to care.
“You don’t want to see this,” she said, an odd mix of excited and horrified.
“Why? Is it porn or something?” I didn’t know why I said these things, but Inez looked like she was about to cry.
The other girl, whose name I momentarily couldn’t remember, whispered, “Go on, show him.”
It was a shitty thing to do. A shitty thing to show any human being. Danielle shoved her phone in my face, and right there, filling the entire screen, someone’s arse was being pounded by one of the thickest dicks I’d ever seen. The sound was off, but from the way the owner of the arse was shaking, it must have bloody hurt. Not that the guy attached to the dick seemed to care, letting his thing slide in and out of the slick hole, which gaped and then clenched before the guy brutally shoved his dick back in.
They were two guys, that was clear. A sculpted stomach came into view as the bloke on the bottom was flipped over, and a curved dick bounced against his stomach.
I realised I was blushing, my face flaming in embarrassment. Not for me, because…it was porn. Gay porn, admittedly, but still porn. I really wasn’t into this kind of stuff in public, and anyway, who watched porn with a bunch of girls?
“Put that shit away before Mr Greenwood comes in and has you thrown out. For fuck’s sake, Danielle!”
“You need to watch it to the end,” she insisted, thrusting the phone back in my face.
“I really don’t want to.” I got up to leave, but Inez grabbed my arm and pushed me back down.
“You should know,” she said, turning even paler. “I don’t agree with Danielle showing it, but someone needs to tell him.”
“Tell me what?”
“No, not you. Someone needs to talk to Ryan.”
“For fuck’s sake.” I was in no way a worldly guy, but seriously?
“Ladies, I’m sure as a gay man, Ryan knows where to find gay porn if he feels the need. I’m not going to go tell him that you girls found gay porn on the big ugly web and feel the need to warn him there are men out there who want to stick their dick up his arse.”
“Who wants to stick their dick up my arse?”
That was Ryan, thank God, because I didn’t want to explain this shit on my own.
“The girls found porn on the web, and it’s done something to their brains.”
I was expecting him to laugh, but instead, he turned around and left the room.
“What’s going on?” I called after him as Danielle once again thrust the phone back in my face.
And on the screen was none other than Ryan, sticking his tongue out with a cheeky wink before swallowing some guy’s dick down his throat.
Breathe is a complicated book to describe. Ryan was a “star” in the world of porn films until his life fell apart and he spiraled out of control. He returned home to London to live with his mother and try and build a new life for himself. Luke is also facing a battle to rebuild his life. He’s living with his siblings, struggling to afford the basic necessities of life, and raising his younger siblings.
When Ryan and Luke meet, they clash. Ryan is closed off and quiet, wanting nothing but his privacy. Luke is chatty, interested in school, and really wants to make friends. He hasn’t had a girlfriend and is feeling a bit left behind as all of his older siblings have partnered up. The thing that I found a little strange was that Ryan bordered on hostile towards Luke when they first met. He even thinks about how Luke isn’t attractive… fortunately, that all changed later on in the story.
What it comes down to is that both of these young men are trying to rebuild their lives. Luke has been taking care of his siblings for a long time, he’s invested in school, determined to build himself a future. Ryan, on the other hand, seems completely lost. Without his career, a steady influx of money, and a boyfriend… he doesn’t really know what to do with his life.
The POV in this story switches between the two main characters. There were times when I found it difficult to remember which character was speaking. As I was reading an ARC, that may be different than the edited version of the book is released. My main challenge was that I didn’t really “like” Ryan – I had trouble connecting with him at all because he just seemed like all he wanted to do was complain. I recognize that some people can be buried so deep in their challenges that they can’t see the way out but I found him annoying. I worried that he was just moving quickly on to someone like Luke because he saw him as a safety net.
I loved Luke and his family. I thought the author did a great job of exploring what it might be like to feel as though you had a great life and then to lose everything. Luke’s story is a real discovery of what’s important in life and how quickly things can change.
I do feel as though this book glamourizes the pornography industry a little bit although the author does explore some of the pitfalls well ie. sexual assault, drug use, STDs. To be clear, I worked with sex workers in a past career so I’m probably unusual as a reader!
All in all, this is a good book about a couple of guys who are looking for different things initially but find their way to one another in the end.
About the Author
Sophia Soames should be old enough to know better but has barely grown up. She has been known to fangirl over TV shows, has fallen in and out of love with more popstars than she dares to remember, and has a ridiculously high-flying (un-)glamourous real-life job.
Her long-suffering husband just laughs at her antics. Their children are feral. The Au Pair just sighs.
She lives in a creaky old house in rural London, although her heart is still in Scandinavia.
Discovering that the stories in her head make sense when written down has been part of the most hilarious midlife crisis ever, and she hopes it may long continue.
Find me on social media @sophiasoames on all platforms
Christina Stern is a Russian based artist. Quick sketches and portraits drawn in pencil are what she likes to do the most. Her work can be found on @christinastern on Instagram
Aurelia Morris is a cover artist, photographer, Photoshop wiz and eternal fangirl. She works in many mediums under more aliases that she can keep track of.
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