Welcome to our stop on the Freeing Blog tour. E.K. Blair has done it again with this fabulous companion story to Fading. If you liked Jase in Fading, you'll love him in Freeing, not to mention Mark ...
BOOK GENRES: Coming of Age/New Adult
RELEASE DATE: Sept 13, 2013
**THIS IS A FULL-LENGTH COMPANION NOVEL TO FADING**
Knowing who you are and accepting who you are come at different prices.
Jase Kinrick grew up in your typical, all-American household. But after the death of his sister, his parents shut down, forcing him to deal with everything life throws his way alone. Terrified of the person he’s discovering himself to be, Jase has his way with every willing girl to try and rid himself of what he fears he is—gay.
Escaping California and moving to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, Jase frees himself to the reality that he likes men. Never staying with any guy long enough to get to know them, he doesn’t realize that he’s still hiding from who he is until he meets Mark. Scared of having real feelings for another guy stirs up the questions and fears he’s fought hard to bury.
To strip away the barriers to the heart of what is real, and to be okay with what lies underneath, will be Jase’s moment of truth. But he’ll need Mark to lead him there.
(Mark Catches Jase and Kyle)
Picking up my cell, I quickly call Kyle.
“Hey, man,” he answers.
“Hey. Jase is on his way over. I’m running late, but heading home now. I should be there in fifteen or so,” I tell him.
“Yeah,” he says before hanging up.
Traffic is backed up as I make my way home. Something about knowing that Jase is at my place waiting on me causes my heart beat a little quicker, but that’s nothing new. I really like this guy. I could tell he was hesitant with me the other night, but the fact that he didn’t skip a beat when I asked him to hit the gym with me today reassures me that maybe I was just being paranoid.
Pulling next to his car in my drive, I park and hop out. When I walk in and toss my keys onto the bar, I turn around. My beating heart wanes.
“What the fuck are you doing?”
Jase is on top of Kyle, tongue shoved in his mouth, before Kyle jumps off the couch from underneath him.
“Shit, man,” Kyle pants out, and I can’t even focus on him as I’m watching Jase, disengaged from the scene playing out in my living room. Completely void of emotion, he walks to grab his keys, and his demeanor is so irritating.
“You’re not gonna say anything?” I snap, and he doesn’t as much as look my way.
“Jase! What the hell, man?”
He walks past me and out the door. I should have trusted my gut when I first saw him. I knew about him. How he hops from bed to bed. But something about him, something I should have been more cautious of, told me that he felt differently with me. Who the hell am I kidding? I barely know him at all.
“Dude, I’m sorry,” Kyle says and when I turn around, I let my frustration play out on him.
“What’s your problem, man?”
“He said you guys weren’t anything, so I . . .”
“So you what? Forget it. You know what? I don’t give a shit. You’re just like him, always dragging ass in and out of here,” I sling at him as I start making my way to my room.
“Don’t be a fucking bitch, Mark.”
Turning around, I throw back at him, “Fuck you, Kyle. Just get your shit and get the fuck out.”
He laughs, as if I’m kidding.
“Serious. I want you out.”
Slamming my door, I’m beyond pissed. I don’t even know how this guy, in a brief period of time was able to get underneath my skin the way he had. Foolish of me to think that I could have had feelings for him, but I do. Shit.
In Fading I absolutely loved Jase - he was selfless and supportive and endlessly there for Candace as she dealt with the fall out of her brutal rape. While we got to see Jase as Candace's best friend, we didn't get the insight or back story to Jase ... until Freeing.
Freeing is not Fading from Jase's perspective, it is his story. It develops him, his character, his relationship with Mark - all of the things that were hinted at in Fading are addressed, his story is told in detail and it is beautiful.
Jase is such a wonderful character. He is so incredibly complex. His family has impacted who he is, his self acceptance and who he will allow himself to be. Moving to Seattle, away from home, has given him the opportunity to be open about his sexuality. But in reality, Jase hasn't fully accepted that he is gay. He avoids intimacy for fear it will confirm who he is. Instead, he has meaningless flings with many guys, which only adds to his guilt. Jase's world is turned on its head when he meets Mark. Mark is different and evokes feelings in Jase that he hasn't encountered before. While I absolutely loved Jase, Mark was by far my favorite character in Freeing. As Jase struggled to deal with his feelings and the relationship that was developing with Mark he made some pretty poor choices. Each time Mark dealt with the situation just beautifully; he was strong, loving and somehow managed to show Jase a path forward. Mark also accepted Candace unquestioningly and offered her support as she recovered. Where Jase was sometimes indulgent, Mark was always honest and pushed both Jase and Candace to be less reliant on each other. He showed them that they could, in fact, trust another with their hearts.
"I look over at him and take his hand, holding it, lacing my fingers with his. He's beautiful and perfect and all I'll ever want. He has no idea what he's given me. He'll never understand no matter how much I tell him. Everything I've been searching for from the time I realized I was gay, he's given me: my realization, my understanding, my accepting. He makes it okay for me to be who I was always meant to be."E.K. Blair has such a wonderful writing style. Her books are so easy to read, her characters are well developed and realistic and Freeing is a perfect companion to Fading. While you could probably read Freeing without having read Fading I think the story has that much more substance if you read Fading first. I loved knowing more about Jase and I loved watching his character evolve into one that finally allowed himself the freedom to love unequivocally. I cannot wait for Falling to be release - E.K. Blair is firmly on my must read list.
4 out of 5 stars
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