5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Jackie, Wade Kelly

Wade Kelly’s “Names Can Never Hurt Me” Challenges Labels

Title: Names Can Never Hurt Me

Author: Wade Kelly

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 340 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: What if sexuality wasn’t a definable thing and labels merely got in the way?

Nick Jones can’t remember a time when he wasn’t part of the in crowd. Everywhere he goes, he stands out as the best looking guy in the room, and women practically fall into bed with him. Then, after kissing Corey on a dare led much more and on many occasions, Nick’s “screw anything” reputation escalated, but he didn’t care.

When Nick meets RC at the restaurant where he works, it throws his whole life out of whack. Overweight, always sweaty, gay, and hairy like a bear, RC lives up to his dubbed nickname “Scruffy Dude.” He seems Nick’s complete opposite, but Nick can’t get him out of his head.

Because of peer-pressure and his fears about defining his sexuality, Nick struggles with stepping out of his comfort zone and caring about someone different than himself. If he’s lucky, somewhere between arrogance and ignorance, Nick might find out what it means to be an adult, but if he’s wrong, he could lose everything.

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Review: After reading the blurb for Names Can Never Hurt Me, I knew that I had to read it. I am already a HUGE Wade Kelly fan, and this seemed to be something kinda new from her. I have read her funny and heartwarming work, and her heartbreaking work, so I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for us next. What I found was a very well written, personal journey from a young man’s point of view that you just might find difficult to like.

Nick Jones was not someone I would want to associate with when he is first introduced in the book. He’s gorgeous and he knows it. He seems to be trying to bed every willing female in town, and he doesn’t ever make personal attachments. While attending another party with his rich friends Nick, is dared to kiss Corey Parrish and WOW, he really liked it. This leads to Nick spending some quality horizontal time with Corey, as well as still sleeping around with women. He and Corey are just friends with benefits, until Nick gets himself a girlfriend and that is fine with both of them.

One day a new customer comes into the restaurant where Nick works, and he realizes that he may have been doing things wrong all along. RC, Raffael Coppola, is scruffy, overweight and sweaty. This is not what Nick would usually classify as his type, but what the hell does he know? After a few starts and stops, Nick and RC begin a super cute, comfortable friendship. They eat together a few times a week, and they don’t even speak much sometimes. Their silences together are usually more comfortable than any interactions Nick has with his other friends.

As far as the journey I mentioned before, that belonged to Nick. Not too long after he begins his friendship with RC, it becomes clear that Nick’s so called friends are shallow and sometimes just downright mean. Nick also begins to see himself through RC’s eyes, and he isn’t loving that image too much either.

RC has never had a healthy relationship, and his trust has been broken horribly in the past so he makes Nick take it slow with him. Nick has trouble being platonic friends with RC but close to the end of the book he realizes why it had to be that way, and he is so happy that it led them to a great place together.

Wade Kelly did a fabulous job with this story, and I loved most of the characters by the end of the book. The ones I didn’t like weren’t meant to be liked, and I loved how she made these characters unlikable but realistic. Once Nick realized which friends were good for him and which ones were leading him down the wrong road, he had a decision to make and some serious soul searching to do. I completely believed the struggle he went through, and I believe he is well on his way to redemption. I don’t think he has finished his journey, but for this story I believe he did all he could.

Out of all the secondary characters in this book, Corey Parrish was my absolute fave. I will just be devastated if Ms. Kelly doesn’t give Corey his very own HEA. If anyone earned one in this book, it was Corey.

I would highly recommend this book, and I double dare you not to love it!




You can buy Names Can Never Hurt Me here:

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