Successful lawyer Jeremy Speer has it all—a loving husband, a beautiful home, and a cherished dream that’s about to become reality. He’s learned not to take happiness for granted, meeting the challenges of life and love head-on with unwavering commitment and fierce devotion. A series of tragic events leave Jeremy shattered, adrift on a sea of unimaginable pain. He’s able to piece his life back together, but instead of embracing it, he merely exists, using isolation and punishing physical exertion to keep the world at bay.
High school teacher Kai Daniels has a heart for at-risk kids—he was one himself, and a teenage brush with the law and some troubled years behind bars left him scarred inside and out. With courage, hard work, and the support of friends, he’s built a fulfilling life that leaves no time for a relationship.
An intense encounter with Kai at a gay club ignites a spark in Jeremy that he thought was extinguished forever, but he’s unwilling to destroy the fragile peace he’s managed to create, and he leaves Kai humiliated and disappointed. Things should have ended there, but a bizarre occurrence brings the two together in a way neither of them expected.
SIGNS OF LIFE (Resilient Love #2) by Melanie Hansen is one of the best M/M romances I’ve ever read. The novel opens with a heartbreaking chapter that had me immediately invested in the story. I desperately wanted Jeremy to find love again, because he was such a caring person and deserved to be happy. He had loved and lost so much that it’s difficult for him to move on. It takes a pretty special man to break through his walls, make him feel alive again, and fill up the empty parts of him with a larger than life kind of love.
Kai is half-Latino and comes from an entirely different background. Jeremy is a wealthy and successful lawyer who has never had to worry about money. Kai’s dad left his mom when he was a kid. He didn’t grow up with money and used to be a gangster. Because of Kai’s troubled youth and harsh past, Kai is dedicated to helping his students improve their lives. Kai has been through a lot and is a survivor, whereas Jeremy came into Kai’s life feeling broken. However, their social and class differences aren’t obstacles in their relationship but actually bring them closer together.
Not to mention, Kai is the most stunningly gorgeous man Jeremy has ever met. When they encounter each other at a club, their chemistry is so intense and consuming that they instantly hook up. Given how caring and tender Jeremy was with his husband, I didn’t except to Jeremy to be so dominating and the sex between Jeremy and Kai to be so mind-blowingly hot and exciting and seriously just… WOW.
Jeremy and Kai are shaken by their intense encounter. Jeremy doesn’t know what came over him. He’s so horrified by his uncharacteristic indiscretion that he leaves Kai without a word. Meanwhile, Kai feels used because he believed they had a real connection. When Jeremy realizes he had been a jerk for leaving Kai so abruptly, he feels guilty and ashamed. Jeremy has some serious groveling to do, because he can’t deny that he feels that same life-altering connection.
When circumstances bring them together again, Jeremy has a chance to make things right. Seeing the world from Kai’s perspective and compassionate nature opens Jeremy up to new possibilities and motivates him to be a better person. Step by step, Kai breaks through Jeremy’s walls and Jeremy lets him in. As Jeremy and Kai fall deeper in love, they become more essential to each other and their lovemaking becomes even more meaningful, ever so deliciously dirty and tender in the afterglow.
Opposites attract as Kai is turned on by Jeremy’s powerful charisma and crisp, tailored suits and Jeremy is turned on by Kai’s toughness and confidence in his own skin. Despite Kai’s past, Kai isn’t afraid of Jeremy topping him and proves he can give as good as he gets. The sex is just as hot when Kai takes charge.
Jeremy and Kai have their ups and down as they navigate their new relationship and intense feelings for each other. I loved how they worked things out in the end and imagined their future together–how they learned to take care of each other and respect each other’s needs, and became real and equal partners in love and life.
SIGNS OF LIFE is raw, moving, and sexy as hell. It broke my heart and pieced it back together, and had me smiling at the sheer sweetness of the happy ending. I loved the positive themes of this novel–the importance of friendship in difficult times and the life-affirming power of love.
I loved how Kai’s best friend Loren helped Kai heal with such loving care and patience. I appreciate how the traumatic incident wasn’t shown in flashbacks or scenes. Instead, since the focus was on Kai’s healing, I felt completely safe reading this book.
It was a pleasure to see a special scene featuring Jeremy’s best friend Jase and Carey, the couple from Everything Changes (Resilient Love #1). I also appreciate how authentically and sensitively mental health issues are portrayed in this series. I very much look forward to reading Loren’s story next and many more M/M romances by Melanie Hansen.
Jeremy stopped trying to pull away, dropping his gaze to the man’s lips, which were moist and slightly parted, the hoop through the full bottom one gleaming in the club lights.
“Have a drink with me, Sexy, and tell me your name.” The man leaned away and gestured for the bartender, the motion causing his T-shirt to pull even tighter across his chest, outlining what looked like a bar through his left nipple… oh sweet Jesus. Jeremy had never found piercings sexy before, but now all he could think about was that lip ring teasing the tip of his aching cock, feeling that hard silver bar in his own mouth while he tugged at it with his teeth and bit down…
Jeremy groaned under his breath, and the man gave him a knowing look as he started to hand Jeremy an ice-cold bottle of beer. Jeremy hesitated once again, and the man set the beer on the bar top and then gripped Jeremy’s hand, pulling it between his legs, pressing the palm against a steel-hard erection. Jeremy squeezed, and it was the man’s turn to groan.
“You wouldn’t leave me like this, would you?” he asked hoarsely. In answer Jeremy cupped him a little more firmly and squeezed again, enjoying the way the man closed his eyes, tipping his head back.
Jeremy took his hand away from the man’s cock and reached for his beer, taking a few gulps while watching the man do the same with his own drink.
“My name’s Jeremy.”
The man said something in return, but the music suddenly seemed to ramp up several more decibels and he couldn’t hear. He leaned closer. “What?”
The man gripped the back of Jeremy’s neck and put his lips directly to his ear, his hot breath making goose bumps pebble Jeremy’s skin. “My name’s Kai.” Kai licked the lobe of Jeremy’s ear and then bit it, and Jeremy groaned. He cupped Kai’s chin in his hand, stroking his thumb along his bottom lip.
“I’m going to fuck you so hard, Kai,” he breathed, leaning closer. Kai parted his lips in anticipation but Jeremy barely brushed their lips together before pulling away.
“Teasing me ain’t gonna make my cock any harder, dude,” Kai gasped on a laugh. “In fact I’m about to come in my goddamn pants.”
Jeremy reached between Kai’s legs again and palmed him, exulting in the feel of Kai lifting his hips into the touch. “If you do, I’ll lick you clean and start all over again.”
When Kai arched his neck back once more in helpless pleasure, Jeremy leaned in and dragged his parted lips up the length of that corded flesh and back down before sucking lightly on the hollow of Kai’s throat, tasting his skin.
“Jesus Christ, let’s get out of here,” Kai moaned, his accented voice husky with arousal. “I’ve got a room right down the street.”
Melanie Hansen has spent time in Texas and Florida prisons… for work. She’s been in a room with a 17-year-old mass murderer who was also one of the most soft-spoken and polite teenagers she’s ever met. After a 13-year career as a court reporter, she can tell many stories both hilarious and heartbreaking.
She grew up with an Air Force dad, and ended up marrying a Navy man. After living and working all over the country, she hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to her stories about people finding love amidst real-life struggles.
Melanie left the stressful world of the courtroom behind and now enjoys a rewarding career transcribing for a deaf student. She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.