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Living Out Loud

(Free Fall #4)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,104 ratings  ·  166 reviews
Ben Emerson has lived by his minister father’s rules most of his life. Born into an ultra-conservative church community, he’s finally brave enough to break free and move to San Francisco. Distancing himself certainly helps create a new mindset, but living as an openly gay man takes some getting used to. When he reaches out to Xavier, a childhood friend who lives in the cit ...more
Kindle Edition, 250 pages
Published September 6th 2017 by Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn
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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,104 ratings  ·  166 reviews

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Start your review of Living Out Loud (Free Fall #4)
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
If you read Paint the Stars, the third book in the Free Fall series, you may remember Ben. He's Ezra's ex, the one who walked away, the one who attempted to reconcile with Ezra as if he hadn't ripped out Ezra's heart and stomped on it for good measure.

Ben is the child of a preacher and his devout wife. Ben's parents loved him ... but not all of him. When they discovered Ben was gay, they attempted to pray the gay away, and when that didn't work, they sent Ben to the horror that is conversion th
*J* Too Many Books Too Little Time
I struggled with this one. It started out pretty good. But I don't know, then it just fell flat.

The plot was pretty basic and uneventful (until the dreaded 75% mark). Not really much happened, the pacing was really slow. Once Ben and Xavier reunite the rest of the book is about Xavier trying to get Ben to embrace his sexual side. To be more confident and accepting of who he is.

Xavier's chapters felt very repetitive and were more telling us what he felt vs showing us how he felt. I much preferr
4 strong stars

I really loved this one! It has my favorite tropes: friends-to-lovers AND second chance romance.

I loved the dual POV, the super hot scenes and it has just a little bit of angst, but it worked pretty well here. What got to me would be the horrific experience Ben had, going to a conversion camp. He was sent there by his very religious family.

This story kept my attention and I was glued to the pages. What started as a friends-with-benefits relationship bloomed into so much more.
Mar 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
3.5 stars

This story turned out to be sweeter and more tender than I expected and I really enjoyed it, even though there are things I'm usually not fond of.(view spoiler)

I liked both Ben and Xavier. I do feel they jumped into the arrangement too quickly after meeting for the first time, but th
Lost in a Book
“I’m still shaking my bible-thumping traditional upbringing, and he’s as free and eclectic as this town.”

Ben and Xavier reconnect after over a decade of not seeing each other. They were childhood friends that sought solace together when the world around them was cruel and unforgiving. Xavier had found himself and Ben craved that freedom. He wanted to truly live.

Just a warning: I’m not going to give a detailed breakdown of the story because the synopsis is one of the longer and more detailed tha
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, sept-17

Living Out Loud by Nyrae Dawn and Christina Lee was the equivalent of my addictions handed to me on a platter.

Second chance romance + friends to lovers + hurt/comfort/healing + opposites attract

Annnnnd- sexy af! I was afraid my iPad was going to catch on fire! Plus, I love the idea of crossing over characters from two different series.

It's the two story of two childhood friends, Ben and Xavier, who lost touch and reconnected years later. During their time apart Xavier has blossomed on h
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mm-love
4 Stars for Ben and Xavier!!
Re-read October 2018
Still a very enjoyable read.


Very sexy.

Even though I loved the sexy times and was happy to see Ben overcome his 'pray the gay away' conditioning, it did get a bit much eventually. There's A LOT of sex in this.

Ben has just moved to San Francisco. He is finally out from under the thumb of his religious family and is ready to really live now. But he has no idea how to do that. How does he stop feeling ashamed for being gay when conversion camp taught him h
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m
Very nice story with good characters.
I think it was a great way to close the Free Fall series. I know this book is a stand alone and technically not a part of the series but the epilogue does leave you with a smile and hopeful for all the couples these two writers created.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m
3.5 stars. I picked this book to read because it was co-written by Riley Hart (under a pseudonym) whom I love.

There's a lot to like about this story. I can't recall reading any other m/m book that includes an MC (Ben) who was forced to go to gay conversion camps. It was heartbreaking to read what he experienced, but also empowering to later witness him bravely push himself to accept his love for men, and in turn, accept himself.

I also really enjoyed the friends-to-lovers story line between Ben
Sep 16, 2017 added it
Shelves: i-rest-my-case
DNF @45%

Very slow paced and repetitive. I tried but it doesn't hold my interest at all. Probably just me.
3 stars – The fourth collaboration between authors Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn, Living Out Loud, is technically a spin-off from their earlier series and an earlier solo work from Nyrae Dawn, A Hundred Thousand Words. As with their previous joint works, Living Out Loud contains a compelling and enjoyable story—and perhaps unlike the others, this one is heavy on the scorching hot sexytimes—but unlike my impressions of the earlier books, I struggled with the storytelling in one character’s point o ...more
❤Rachel Anne's Romance Must Reads❤
Sweet second chance mm romance.

At 14 Ben and Xavier shared a special bond and neither really knew why. One day X kissed B and he pushed him away. Then things were different and they parted ways and X moved.

Ben was brought up by his parents who were pastor and wife. They told him two men together was a disgrace and did some horrible things to him to set him "straight." It didn't work and now several years later Ben moves to San Francisco to live the life he wants and be who he is. X lives there a
I really enjoyed this one! I enjoyed Ben and Xavier a lot, I loved their connection, and I loved seeing Ben dealing with trying to live on his own as an out of the closet gay man, and that even after he's gotten away from his ultra-religious parents who sent him to conversion therapy he still has trouble sometimes accepting who he is, even though he's trying. That's where Xavier comes in, who is an old friend - and Ben's first kiss - from his childhood, and they reconnect, and soon Ben's asking ...more
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Friends to Lovers done really well. I was hoping Ben would get his story and he does and I am so happy for him.
Awesome read it has low angst, smoking hot sex scenes, and a lovely HEA.
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mm-contemporary
I loved Ben & Xaviers book - what these two went through to finally feel peace was tough. Ben growing up in a repressive religious home, no love, conversion therapy and losing his best friend almost broke him. Xavier who was unwanted, unloved and vulnerable struggled to reconcile his feelings for Ben and gave up on love and any thought of a relationship. Years later a simple DM on Facebook got the ball rolling. Ben put himself out there and Xavier followed. It really was sweet and the epilogue m ...more
Tracy~Bayou Book Junkie
4.5 Stars

I absolutely love second chance romances, it's definitely my favorite trope and this was a really good one.

Xavier and Ben were best friends, but when Xavier realizes he thinks of Ben as more than just a friend and he kisses him, Ben, who is the son of the local pastor and has had it drilled into his head that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination, rejects him. After that day things are never the same between the friends, and eventually Xavier's parents move away from the small conse
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5/5 - Halefreakinglujah! This book was everything I wanted it to be and more.

When I read the blurb to this book, my heart was stolen and I knew I had to get my hands on this book. I don't believe I was familiar with Christina Lee's work, but I have read a few books by Nyrae Dawn, so I knew this one was likely to be good, but I just didn't know how good.

I want to eat, breathe, and live Xavier Ramos. He's a sassy kid from a messed up family that took a really shitty situation and made the best o
Audible Review:
Overall 4*
Performance 5*
Story 4*


Everyone deserves to live out loud!
Living Out Loud is a wonderful story about friendship, finding yourself, and second chances. I adored Ben and Xavier. They both had pretty rough childhoods, with parents who left a lot to be desired. (I hated Ben's parents, let's be honest. Horrible, horrible people.) It really colored Ben's outlook on life. I wanted to reach in and wrap him up and tell him he was good and worthy and there was nothing wrong wi
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Ugh it pains me, totally pains me to give this 2 stars after the fabulous “Paint the stars” was a solid 5 star read. But as kinky and steamy as it was, the story was terribly repetitive. Anytime Xavier had any issue with anything, it was all about his dad and stepmom not loving him. Nothing expanded beyond that really. Just got to hear the same old same old all over again. Ben’s issues with his parents were a bit more developed and gave his character more depth but the whole vibe of the book was ...more
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Decided to crack this one open NOW :-) ... here we go ...
Sep 05, 2017 added it
Shelves: arc, m-m, 2017
Maybe it's just me but I can't seem to get into this right now. I might try later on.

An arc was provided in exchange for an honest review.
I've come to realize that with this author-pairing, the books they produce are either hits or misses with me. This was a miss.

This book/story had the potential to be so much more but didn't live up to even a quarter of that.

There was something definitely OFF about the writing. It felt disjointed. The story didn't flow well at all and by the time I got to the 60% mark, I needed it to be over. I liked Ben quite okay. Xavier was one dimensional and a bit self centered.

Another big issue I had with
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very interested in where this story would lead Ben and Xavier. I LOVED Xavier from the moment we meet him as Toby's roommate. Ben...I was a bit unsure of. I felt for him but I was troubled with how he treated Ezra and him coming back out of the blue. But it didn't take long for my heart to break for all he'd been through.

Xavier is such a beautiful soul and I love his easy going self that lives from his heart and how kind and sweet he is to Ben. I love their past kiss and when they finally
Jul 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I didn't realize this one was from two different authors worlds and series or else I probably wouldn't have picked it up but I'm not sorry I did.

This was a good book. I liked Ben and Xavier and wanted them to find their HEA together.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq, new-adult, arc
Beautiful and heart breaking at the same time, but also SEXY as hell! I loved both Ben and Xavier. They had a difficult childhood that made them into who they are today, but while Xavier is mostly content with his life, Ben has a lot of exploring to do - in the sexual sense, but also personally, learning to not only accept who he is, but to look for the things he loves and enjoys in the new life he is building himself now that he is free from his past' shackles.

Though this book is not a part of
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-5-stars
4.5 stars
Ben Emerson is a minister's son who has been struggling with his sexuality since his teens largely due to the toxic influence of his family and the church trying to convince him that his feelings are wrong. We know him as Ezra's conflicted, college ex-boyfriend from Paint the Stars, and we saw Ben through the hurt eyes of Ezra. But now we see what Ben has really been through and why he made some of his past choices. After much soul searching, Ben is now living in San Francisco and tryin
Suzi (Obsessive Reading Disorder)
Honestly, it blows me away every time an author takes a previously villainized character and makes me fall in love with them. I was not a fan of Ben when he pops up in Ezra's story "Paint the Stars." Ben broke Ezra's heart and he didn't deserve to be treated that way. Let me tell you. You need to read about ol' Mr. Ben and your heart is going to break in a million pieces before it sewn back together. I am always a champion for the underdog and underprivileged. Ben has suffered so much in his lif ...more
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another stunning collaboration

When I read a book, I try to find things in it that I can relate to. With this one, it wasn’t that hard.

Ben and Xavier are both from the same small town, and both have parents that could get “The Worst Parents Ever” award.

Bens, devoutly religious and unbending even when it comes to their own son, going so far as to send him off to conversation therapy when they find out he’s gay.

Xavier’s father and step-mother were quite the opposite, completely ignoring him, acti
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m-romance
Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn are a beautiful writing team coming together again for this spinoff book Living Out Loud. They bring us two sweet men, troubled from their pasts, coming together and overcoming their demons.

Ben is a sexually repressed man born from a preacher father and religious mother. The attempted brainwashing Ben went through was heart breaking and explains so much of his behavior in Paint the Stars. He took time to become comfortable with his sexual identity after being so cond
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Christina writes romance in different sub-genres, mostly with LGBTQ characters, not only because she's part of the community, but because representation matters, and everyone deserves a happily-ever-after. 

You can find more info on her website: From there you can link to her Facebook reader group as well as her IG account and newsletter.

Other books in the series

Free Fall (4 books)
  • Touch the Sky (Free Fall #1)
  • Chase the Sun (Free Fall #2)
  • Paint the Stars (Free Fall #3)

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