{ARC Review} THERE YOU STAND by Christina Lee

Title: There You Stand
Series: Between Breaths #5
Author: Christina Lee
Published: 21st April 2015
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Source: eARC provided via Netgalley for fair & honest review
Rating: 4/5

From the author of All of You and Before You Break comes a new Between Breaths male/male standalone romance about the silent, inked up skateboarder and the tattoo artist who unravels him piece by piece…

Tattoo artist Cory Easton has worked long enough at Raw Ink to know, just by looking at a dude, what his body art reveals, what makes him tick, what even makes him scared. Until he meets the quiet and remote Jude York—so unreadable, so unreachable, and so unlike anyone else, he can’t help but arouse Cory’s curiosity.

As captivating and complex as his ink, Jude is a mystery—and Cory’s falling fast and hard under his spell. Against his better judgment to steer clear.

The rumors of Jude’s past overshadow him—whispers of prison and an unmentionable secret that’s kept him in the protective shadows of a local motorcycle club. As Cory probes deeper, he wonders how much he really wants to know. Especially since Jude has awakened something inside him that has been buried too long—and has him feeling completely alive for the first time in forever… 

With swoony male heroes, intriguing backstories and a pair of scene stealing dogs, THERE YOU STAND is a fabulous NA romance!

The story:
There You Stand follows the relationship of Cory, a tattoo artist and Jude a mysterious British skateboarder. And yes it's as awesome as it sounds. Cory & Jude's mutual love of dogs provides the perfect meet cute at the local skate park, and sets their romance up perfectly. It gives them some common ground and leads to a few impromptu run-ins at the park. 

As these two grow closer, it becomes clear that they have a few obstacles overcome before they can have their HEA. Jude's hiding something about his past, something that scares him and also makes him want to push Cory away to protect him from the demon's he's fighting. Cory won't let go of Jude that easily but when he discovers the truth, will it be too much for their new relationship to handle?

The characters:
Cory always came across as very happy & confident, nothing really seemed to phase him. But now that we get to know him better, we see a lot of that is a front. He's still dealing with a tragedy in his past and it still affects him years later. Cory is such a 'nice guy' and I reckon he'd be an awesome friend to have.

Jude is very quite and has very little dialogue to begin with, but he had such presence is every scene. Just one word from him could have such a dramatic effect. As the story progresses we learn why he's reluctant to talk or open up, and we get to see the real Jude underneath, who is such a kindhearted man.

Cory's dogs, Ace & Chopper, add so much to the story I had to mention them. Their interactions with Jude & Cory give a great insight into their personalities. And of course dogs are always awesome for supplying some hilarious & heartwarming scenes too!

The romance:
I loved seeing the progress of their friendship to lovers. It was natural and never felt rushed or forced. They get to know one another, develop a friendship and as the chemistry between them grows it develops into something more. They were such a beautiful couple and seeing them grow to trust and respect each other was awesome.

The writing:
I love Christina's writing. Her books are always jam packed with emotions and there is never a dull moment, and she always has the perfect balance of heartwarming & steamy scenes.

With swoony male heroes, intriguing backstories and a pair of scene stealing dogs, THERE YOU STAND is a fabulous NA romance!

Sexuality: strong / several descriptive sex scenes
Violence: mild / minor references to bikie violence
Language: medium / several f words
Drugs & alcohol: mild-medium / minor references to drug dealing