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Monday, March 1, 2010

To Keep and To Love by Serena Yates

To Keep and to Love by Serena Yates
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (293 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 5 cherries
Reviewed by Tuberose

Ryan Johnston and Daniel Miller, reunited at Ryan's twin sister's wedding after four years of forced separation, are hoping to build a happy life together. Ryan wants nothing more than to be an equal partner to his lover, but his self-confidence is very low and his biggest fear is that he has nothing to contribute to their future. Daniel, thinking all is well now that Ryan has accepted his marriage proposal, is unprepared when their relationship is threatened.

Ryan's homophobic parents plan to break up the couple, and they let nothing stand in their way as they attack Ryan, hoping to force him to end the engagement and leave town forever. It almost works—Ryan is ready to give in to protect his lover—but Daniel isn't willing to let him go. Ryan can fight the outside forces trying to tear them apart, but only if he realizes what his fears of unworthiness are doing to the man he loves. Daniel and Ryan will have to stand together to protect their right to keep each other and their love.

To Keep and to Love kept me on the edge of my seat and I loved reading it. Ryan Johnston and Daniel Miller are very much in love. There are a few problems in their relationship that they need to work through, though: Ryan’s homophobic parents, Ryan being unable to contribute financially to the relationship, and Daniel’s need to protect Ryan from everything.

To Keep and to Love continues the story of Ryan and Daniel where To Find and to Keep ended on the day after Ryan’s sister married Daniel’s brother. Ms. Yates had my emotions involved in her story from the very beginning and took me on an emotional roller coaster ride right along with her characters. Ryan and Daniel found each other again before the wedding after years apart.

The love scenes between Ryan and Daniel were sweet, erotic, and even had me smiling at how funny Ryan and Daniel could be while intimate. Then, when Ryan’s parents start with their threats, I was so angry I actually had to put the book down for a while to cool off. This book was an emotional roller coaster where I was thrilled with Ryan and Daniel’s other family members and friends for embracing and helping the couple but ended up mad again as Ryan’s parents continued with the threats.

Of the amazing cast of characters I absolutely adored Eric and Edward, the children of Daniel’s business partner and best friend. They immediately accept and love Ryan and also Ryan and Daniel as a couple. They truly helped make the story enjoyable.

Ms. Yates does a wonderful job of engaging the reader’s emotions completely, while portraying the challenges facing Ryan and Daniel with nuance, depth and respect, including societal and familial homophobia. Ryan feeling inadequate about the disparity in finances, and Daniel’s overprotectiveness made for a bit more tension to keep it interesting. My heart ached for all Ryan had been through while he was on his own, and I fell in love with Daniel for his conviction that he would be with Ryan, and that building his businesses up was a dream to focus on until Ryan came back to him. To Keep and to Love is a beautifully written, emotionally-charged story, and Ms. Yates is a definite must read author for me now.

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