Ricky - Ashley John Review originally posted at Sinfully.

3.5 stars

Although this book is a standalone, if you’ve read [b:Timing|29756459|Timing|Ashley John|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1459536880s/29756459.jpg|50115224]Timing you’ll remember Ricky as Tom’s friend and also remember his alter-ego, Miss Kitty Litter the drag DJ. I really liked Ricky in that book and was glad to see more of him here, though it may be harder for you to warm up the brashness that is Ricky if you haven’t already seen his sweet, caring side.

Ricky equates love with heartbreak. He has spent last 10 years having meaningless sex, following rules that keep feelings out of the picture. He’s basically a “one and done” kind of guy. He says he’s happy the way he is, but his friends Tom and Cole aren’t convinced. Soon even Miss Kitty Litter isn’t enough to keep Ricky from cracking.

Tattoo covered, muscular gym owner Chase lives for his six year old son. He works and goes home except for the occasional nights where he finds a hook up at one of the gay bars. He tolerates the father that walked out on him and his family when he was a kid for the sake of his son. His brother seems to be a lot like his father and his bitchy sister-in-law harps on him non-stop about his parenting skills and finding Dylan a mother. The only one who seemed tolerable in the family was Barbara, the woman his father left the family for, but she really didn’t have a lot of page time. He allows his awful family to shape the way he thinks, and is convinced he needs to find a mother for his son, so he hides his attraction to men.

When Chase is on his way back to a hook-up’s apartment one night, he finds Ricky badly beaten in an alley and calls for help, staying with Ricky in the hospital until he wakes up. When Ricky takes him up on his offer of some self-defense classes, they strike up an unlikely friendship that soon turns physical. Chase’s brother makes it clear that he doesn’t know why Chase is wasting his time hanging around Ricky and Chase’s bigoted father turns out to be the officer who is investigating Ricky’s case. Chase tries to keep the nature of his relationship with Ricky secret from his family and Ricky tries to keep Chase at arm’s length.

These two have plenty of secrets that slowly come out and some hurt more than others. The real crux of the problem however is can Ricky let go of the past and risk his heart again on Chase and, does he even want to? For Chase the problem is bigger. Even as he starts to admit that he’s not completely straight, and starts to accept himself, he still allows the family that thinks so little of him to have a lot of sway over his life choices, and they’ve convinced him he needs a mother for his son. He is afraid to come out to this horrible family for some reason and goes to great lengths to hide Ricky from his family and his family from Ricky.

I was a bit hot and cold on Chase. I understood he was trying to figure out his sexuality and trying to do what was best for his son, but one moment he’s being a doormat and the next saying he didn’t care what anyone thinks, it was pretty frustrating at times. Ricky was pretty consistent throughout although he does take some drastic steps when all the feelings between him and Chase got too strong. I would have liked to see Ricky interact more with Chase’s son Dylan as the little time we did see them together was pretty awkward and adorable.

The two had great chemistry and I did enjoy much of their time together. They are both trying so hard to fight the best thing to have happened to either of them in a long time though and it did, at times, become a bit repetitive. I think a bit of editing would have definitely helped the flow of the book.

There was a lovely bit of support in Chase’s elderly neighbor Annie and of course, Cole and Tom are back and have plenty of interaction with the guys too. The book definitely had its highs and lows for me, but I think if you liked Ricky in Timing you’re going to want to read this. There was a lot of back and forth, but not a lot of angst. If hurt-comfort is your thing and you don’t mind occasionally wanting to knock some sense into your MCs as they really fight against getting to their HEA Ricky will probably work well for you.