- Release Date
- Words 84,800
- ISBN-13 978-1-62639-539-8
- SKU 9781626395398e
- File Formats epub, pdf, prc
Travis Gaines and Stephen Davis are as close as two best friends can be. Born less than a month apart, they grew up as neighbors in a small northern New Hampshire town. After college, they make their way together to Boston, craving the excitement and fast pace of New England’s biggest city.
As they get their bearings in Boston, Travis falls hard for Benson, a senior executive at the financial services firm where he works. Benson is wealthy, handsome, and well connected among Boston’s well heeled. At first it seems like Benson is everything a guy could ever want, but behind that glossy veneer is a dark side that threatens to tear Travis and Stephen’s friendship apart and change their lives forever.
Advance praise from Foreword Reviews:
"A Careful Heart is a romance novel by way of domestic abuse. Sound improbable? Perhaps, but Ralph Josiah Bardsley takes on that often-neglected subject within the genre well. The book follows two best friends from childhood to early adulthood. One finds romance, and the other thinks he has but realizes that the “perfect guy” comes with a devastating price....Bardsley crafts the family dynamics of both characters well, giving enough information to enrich the story without lingering too long on secondary characters....Violence in relationships can affect anyone, as A Careful Heart compellingly proves."
Ian Baines seems to have it all—a career as a hotshot software programmer in Silicon Valley, a beautiful wife and family, a nice house in an upscale San Francisco neighborhood, and a past that he’s mostly managed to forget. Life takes an unexpected turn for Ian when he finds himself in Paris for a three-month work project where he meets former fashion photographer Luca Sparks. The unlikely friendship grows and Ian sees a new side to life as Luca takes him on a journey through the glamorous and lustrous Paris nightlife. But something strange starts to happen during their adventures in Paris—the two start to fall in love. Both battle their own demons on the road to self-discovery, ultimately learning how to come to peace with their feelings and their pasts.
Lambda Literary says...
Outwardly, Ian Baines’ life has all the clichéd trappings of success: a rising career as a software programmer at a Silicon Valley start-up; a beautiful, accomplished wife; two above-average sons; a fabulous house in an upscale San Francisco neighborhood. The long hours at his job, however, begin to strain his marriage and threaten to unravel his perfect family life. Against his better judgement, then, he accepts a three-month work project based in Paris, creating a database of the fashion house Môti’s collection. While in Paris, alone, he meets the former fashion photographer Luca Sparks who introduces him to the Paris that is hidden from tourists, and together they enjoy the glamorous Parisian nightlife. Their unlikely friendship soon develops into something deeper, until finally Ian is forced to make a choice.
Such is the basic story behind The Photographer’s Truth by Ralph Josiah Bardsley. The two protagonists appear to share little in common: Ian, the unkempt and logical American contrasts with the impeccable, artistic, and cosmopolitan Frenchman Luca. But neither man is entirely what he seems on the surface: for example, buried in their pasts are Ian’s single sexual experience with another man, and Luca’s marriage to a female photojournalist. Ian, in typical American fashion, is rather out of touch with his feelings, so it takes a while for what is obvious to the reader to dawn on him, namely that Luca is attracted to him and is courting him. Perhaps it is Ian’s liberal Californian upbringing, or being thrust into a milieu so different from his normal world, but Ian is not consumed with feelings of “I can’t be gay or Bi”; instead he is consumed by guilt over cheating on his wife.
Bardsley allows the relationship between the two men to develop at a believable pace; as the narrative unfolds, we gradually learn more about the two men at the center of the story, and how they evolve over the course of the romance. Ian narrates the story, so it is clear to the reader how drastically his attitudes and life change; but when Ian meets Luca’s friends, and through them learns Luca’s backstory, it becomes apparent to him (and the reader) that their relationship has also changed Luca. A notorious recluse, once he meets Ian he begins ignoring even his close circle of friends; he also quits smoking.
It used to be said that “the camera doesn’t lie”—at least without irony before the advent of Photoshop and Instagram filters—but the truth is that the photographer carefully constructs the photograph (using light, shadow, color, setting, etc.) in much the same way that the fiction writer constructs a scene in a chapter. Both use their respective media to tell a story, and both use lies to tell a deeper truth. Luca acknowledges how much artifice goes into making art when he explains to Ian that the “photographer must make a decision. He must decide what his subject looks like before he takes the picture. We have to decide what we want to see….What do you want to see? What do you want your world to be?” Of course, Luca’s explanation of how to be a good photographer could just as easily be applied to the question of how to live one’s life in an authentic manner.
As a baron’s youngest son, Hector Somerville has no real prospects. He will not inherit, and he’s overshadowed by two perfect brothers. While searching for ways to improve his situation, Hector finds respite in an invitation to a country estate—and has a second chance at rekindling his illicit affair with Viscount Wentworth, captain of HBMS Dragon. The upcoming fortnight could be everything Hector dreamed of since their disastrous parting.
Wentworth has forsaken love, and yet, memories of guilt and heartache resurface. He loved a boyhood friend once, Hector’s older brother William, until the man left him, trampling his heart in the process. Years later, he wonders if he ever fell out of love. Is his heart bound by William, or can he create a life with Hector?
Dylan Prescott has all the answers, even when she doesn’t know the questions. She’s in her element cruising the singles scene and crushing cases as a newly minted NYPD detective. Equal parts free spirit and thrill seeker, catching bad guys and charming good girls are what she was born to do.
Briana Logan doesn’t play. A successful Assistant United States Attorney with several convictions on her résumé, she’s a commanding presence in the courtroom. In any room, to be honest. Smart and sexy, she’s got her work-life balance down. It’s simple: career first, everything else second. That is, until Dylan Prescott is assigned to the team investigating a sophisticated narcotics ring.
Their chemistry is undeniable, but the complicated NYC criminal justice system doesn’t leave room for real feelings. Keeping their emotions in check isn’t easy. Where the heart is concerned, no one is bulletproof.
By Jane Kolven
Sometimes it takes everything going wrong to make you see how right things are.
Dana Gottfried is a stressed-out Jewish lesbian who’s just quit her job and wants to get home to see her grandmother. When her car breaks down in Indiana on Christmas Eve, Dana is stranded—until she’s rescued by Charlie, a pig farmer who doesn’t identify as male or female. Although they come from different worlds, Dana is intrigued by Charlie’s sense of humor and kindness. Despite her better judgment, Dana says yes when Charlie offers a ride.
But the journey home is paved with detours. From car accidents to scheming ex-girlfriends to a snowy and deserted Chicago Loop, everything that could go wrong on their road trip does, but it leads Dana on a path of self-discovery that just might end in love.
By Lee Patton
Determined to record every summer day, young history teacher Luke Devlin starts school vacation imagining he’ll describe backcountry adventures in the Rockies and sun-splashed days home in Denver. But all too soon the season veers into crisis, when his older brother faces life-threatening illness and Luke becomes entangled in a love affair that’s as fast-moving and possibly as fatal as his brother’s diagnosis.
As Luke manages the household for his absent parents and struggles with the constant pressure of his unfinished master’s deadline, his fling with a Wyoming rancher grows serious just as his brother’s crisis overwhelms him. Luke’s love of his native ground and his search for romance collide with the hard realities of mortality and loss during an unexpected summer.