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Sweetshade #1

Blind Faith

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Sonny Lakes is as lost as a person can be. After being discharged from the US Army following a traumatic event, he’s sent home, where unbearable nightmares and deep despair lead him to attempt to take his own life, a choice that puts him on the path to a new home in a new town where no one knows him. But as Sonny tries to settle in, mysterious vandalism and harassment begin to take over his life, destroying the anonymity he craves.

Abe Ellis has lived his whole life in Sweetshade, Texas, and that kind of loyalty lends itself well to being a small-town cop. His quiet life changes when a handsome newcomer moves into town and unlikely events begin to unfold. As Abe and his partner Nate begin looking into the crimes, Nate grows increasingly suspicious of the stranger with no history, no enemies, and few friends, to whom Abe is so drawn.

Can Sonny’s faith in himself be restored in time to find the love and stability he seeks? Can Abe count on his instincts and trust the young man with his safety and his heart?

Sweetshade is a small town, as calm and inviting as the name suggests. But even places like that can hide sinister secrets and dangerous threats.

Warning: PTSD, suicide attempt

252 pages, ebook

Published January 1, 2020

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About the author

Delphia Baisden

2 books22 followers
Delphia Baisden is a proud indie author. In 2016, she finally decided to use her passion for writing to tell the love stories of her heart and hasn’t stopped since. She is an avid rock ‘n’ roll fan who feels most comfortable in a band tee and a pair of jeans. She currently lives in a small town near Columbus, Ohio, with her mom, Lola.

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5 stars
15 (23%)
4 stars
20 (31%)
3 stars
19 (30%)
2 stars
6 (9%)
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Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews
Profile Image for Sandra .
1,674 reviews308 followers
January 3, 2020
This is the author's sophomore effort and the first book in a new series.

The book includes the various effects of PTSD, including mentions of suicide, so heed the trigger warning.

Sonny Lakes was a medic in the US Army and honorably discharged after a traumatic event happened while he was serving overseas. When we first meet Sonny, we're not given full info on what the trauma was, but we are immediately aware that he's suffering from PTSD. Frequent nightmares and nearly unbearable survivor's guilt have tormented him to the point of a suicide attempt. While he's in getting help for the PTSD, Sonny feels that it's in his best interest to start over, in a place where no one knows him and he has to fend for himself. Which is what brings him to Sweetshade, TX, where he's buying a house and hoping to find a church that will accept him as he is.

Abe Ellis is a cop in Sweetshade and immediately intrigued by the newcomer to his town. Gay and single, Abe lives a relatively quiet life in his small town, where nothing much happens and everyone knows everyone. When he has an itch to scratch, he usually finds someone outside of town, and that suits him just fine.

Soon after Sonny moves into the house he purchased, he starts being harassed for his sexuality. At first, it's minor vandalism - an ugly word spray-painted on the garage door - but the harassment escalates with each subsequent act.

Abe's partner cop Nate is suspicious of Sonny. He doesn't quite believe that the harassment is actually happening and thinks that Sonny might be doing these things himself for attention.

I quite liked this book. The author did a nice job exploring Sonny's PTSD episodes, his overall feelings of guilt and his continued suffering from the trauma he experienced, as well as Abe's attempts at getting to know the other man and having to defend him and himself to Nate's suspicions. It was clear to me early on who the villain would be - it was rather obvious. Even so, it's not obvious to the cops, so the events become more and more dangerous and escalate into violence.

While it was easy to like and root for Sonny, I didn't get a full picture for Abe. He seemed like a nice guy, sure, and he was pretty steadfast in his defense of Sonny for the most part, even if he screwed up a time or two, and his actions were understandable to me. Sonny's distrust is just as understandable as well, and the thing that caused the conflict between them felt realistic to me.

The author has a well-rounded writing style, focused on showing the reader what's going on with the characters and letting dialogue take the place of narrative to move the plot along. This book didn't affect me as deeply as the first one, but it's definitely worth your time, so check it out.

** I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. **
Profile Image for Joyfully Jay.
7,294 reviews412 followers
January 1, 2020
A Joyfully Jay review.

3.75 stars

Blind Faith is an exploration of PTSD in various forms and the crippling effect it can have on sufferers. This review does come with a trigger warning for suicide, so consider yourself forewarned. Sonny is a veteran struggling with PTSD after the death of a close friend overseas. He’s trying and failing to manage the nightmares, hyper-vigilance, and soul crushing guilt. His confusion and desperation to pretend he’s fine are profound. As a reader, it was impossible not to be sympathetic towards Sonny and, while his initial move to Texas seems too easy a “fix”, the author does a good job of balancing this out later in the book. Abel is harder to get a read on and I never felt like I knew him as a character. He isn’t quite a caricature, but we just don’t get as much depth with him as we do Sonny. They’re fine as a couple, but more than once it feels as if they’re together because of convenience rather than passion or love.

Read Sue’s review in its entirety here.

Profile Image for Jay.
381 reviews60 followers
February 4, 2020
As far as I can tell, Blind Faith is Delphia Baisden’s second published story and she is already leaving her mark on the queer romance genre. One of the primary reasons I read and review for a blog is the exposure to new authors. Delphia has a new follower after this read!

Let’s get the triggers out of the way to focus on the amazingness that is Blind Faith. As the blurb tells us there are a couple that predominate. So, if these are no-no’s for you as a reader, this book isn’t for you. Sonny Lakes suffers from severe PTSD and attempts to take his own life. The key word here is “attempts”.

Now then… Sonny served one tour as an Army medic in Afghanistan. After a traumatic and personal experience, he is honorably discharged. Returning to his hometown in Maryland, he struggles to recapture himself and his life. The love and support from his family should be all the backing he requires, but they are smothering him.

Delphia Baisden creates a world of suspicion, intrigue, and mystery.

He fell in love with Texas while he was training at Fort Sam in Houston. In a bold move, he relocates to the small Texas town of Sweetshade, seeking space. Hopeful for the future, Sonny settles in, buys a house, gets a job at the local bar, and pursues comfort for his somewhat shaky faith at the local Episcopal Church.

Discrimination and homophobia strike, beginning with the vandalization of Sonny’s new home, thrusting Sonny to become the center of attention. Caught in the suspicious eye of Nate Landis, the responding officer, Sonny’s world tilts on its axis, when he needs to rebound not only from the blatant attack, but the lack of official support.

Abel (Abe) Ellis, another of the local officers, is gay and out. When he hears of Sonny’s plight, he seeks out the young man, at first just to get a read on Nate’s assumptions. Neither Sonny or Abe are seeking a relationship, but there is a connection that grows from friendly and flirtatious banter, into protectiveness, friendship and love.

Delphia Baisden creates a world of suspicion, intrigue, and mystery. The secondary elements enhance the storyline, even if there are a couple of people you want to throttle along the way. Although the perpetrator is easily identifiable, the tension between friends, the budding romance between lovers, and the infliction of heinous acts, create a fast-paced melodrama that captures from beginning to end.

Blind Faith has all the elements of a great romance. Sonny and Abe do not enter into things blindly. They argue, struggle, and make mistakes but above it all they find their way back to one another though communication and work.

Baisden handles the PTSD and attempted suicide delicately and with care, as we see Sonny grow and heal from his new experiences and newfound love of life. For the rational, there is only outrage, disgust, and revulsion at the torment and hate crimes that Sonny and Abe endure. However, in the end, justice prevails, and the guys weather these atrocities with grace and acceptance.

Blind Faith has all the elements of a great romance. Sonny and Abe do not enter into things blindly. They argue, struggle, and make mistakes but above it all they find their way back to one another though communication and work. Blind Faith is not all rainbows and unicorns there is tough subject matter sprinkled throughout. Yet, I found myself devouring every word and physically feeling the exact same emotions Sonny, Abe, and even Nate were experiencing.

Kudos, Delphia Baisden! I can’t wait to see what else comes out of Sweetshade, Texas.
Profile Image for Josh Dale.
224 reviews5 followers
January 1, 2020
Oh wow, where do I start reviewing this book?

We are introduced to Sonny a Afghan medical Veteran, who could not save his friend after a bomb blast, He just can not get the scene of his friend begging him for help, out of his head, and carry’s the guilt with him every waking moment. Being smothered by his family’s concern, he decides to move to a sleepy Texas town of Sweetshades, with his Counsellor’s blessing. Surely things will be easier there?
But on returning to his new home to find homophobic abuse written on his garage door, it soon becomes clear that life may not be so easy in a sleepy town. Especially as the police officer suspects him of doing the incidents himself.
Abe, the partner of the Officer that visited Sonny, finds it hard to believe Nates theories about Sonny, and puts down to his friend over protecting him, when Abe gets close to Sonny.
But the attacks get more serious, to the point where Abe is severely beaten up. Rather than splitting the new couple up they really bond and get even closer.
Until secrets are revealed and they hit the rocks.
We follow these two charming characters as they navigate their budding relationship amidst all of the homophobic attacks. They learn to trust each other and allow each other to love them.
They have no idea who is the attacker until come face to face with him at gunpoint.
The story is quite intense and exciting, A little frustrating as Nate refuses to accept Sonny’s doing the attacks and even has him arrested for Abel’s beating.
The story is tender and moving, with a lot of emotional and sad scenes, but with plenty of healing and Abes Snarky sunny side up attitude that balances the story nicely.
Profile Image for **Kαчcєє**.
628 reviews17 followers
January 16, 2020
**2 stars**

Sonny is a man who suffers from PTSD and depression following a tour in Afghanistan. After being discharged, he moves in with family and continues to struggle...eventually attempting suicide.
Deciding he needs a change of scenery, he moves from the East coast to Texas. It is here, in a small town, that Sonny meets Abe-a local cop. There is also a mystery sub-plot that throws Abe and Sonny together.

This book had potential. But it fell flat in many ways. My disappointment began when Sonny up and left for Texas quickly following a suicide attempt and it went downhill from there. The two MCs fell in love immediately. They were immature. And I got tired of the amount of times the characters blushed or their skin turned red from flushing.
Profile Image for Erin.
335 reviews10 followers
January 14, 2020
As far as a mystery goes, Blind Faith's effort was in good faith, I'm assuming. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough.
Profile Image for Cee Brown.
1,305 reviews34 followers
October 16, 2020
•*´¨)✯ ¸.•*¨)
✮ (¸.•´They had to learn to trust each other.

This was a suspenseful romance. When Sonny moved to a new town to figure out life, he never thought he'd get caught up in more than he'd faced than when he was in the military. Being called a suspect was bad enough, but when the guy you were interested in seemed to believe it too, what was a man to do? Through unbelievable faith, Sonny and police officer Abe found that if they believed in each other, they could survive the worst of anything.

For me, I loved the author's first book Credence. With the way it touched me, I almost felt like that one book would pave the way for the other books by this author. I won't say I am disappointed, as both books fall under different tropes, but so much more could have been given here. I will wait to see what the other books bring to the table.
Profile Image for Barbara.
989 reviews6 followers
May 21, 2020
This was truly an intense story about two men who are completely different, but willing to try to hold their love together. Sonny as PTSD, anxiety, depression, nightmares and flashbacks after a stint in the army in Afghanistan. A friend died after an IED ripped him apart and Sonny as never been the same. Taking a chance and moving to Sweetwater, Texas. Meeting up with Abe after his home is vandalized. Then the vandalism heats up and becomes dangerous. Hate crimes against gays, but who is it. Sonny doesn't even know anyone in Sweetwater much less well enough to have the person hate him. Feelings, Sonny's mental issues and Abes not knowing Sonny's secrets pull and push them apart at times. An excellent story that needs a few tissues near by. Well worth the read.
Profile Image for B.H. Lynn.
Author 4 books15 followers
January 1, 2020
So. Many. Feels.
How can I even begin to summarize my feelings about Blind Faith? I was a hot mess reading this book in all the best ways (Angst, feels, and STEAM)

Sonny Lakes finds himself at the bottom of the barrel after discharging from his job as an Army medic with soul crushing PTSD that made him feel more like a burden than a man. Following a chain of events that leads him to the lowest of lows, he starts to find not only some relief through therapy, but a longing for independence. Leaving his family and hometown behind, he heads off to Sweetshade, Texas to start anew with his newfound sense of stability.

Things start off as pleasantly as they can in Sweetshade for Sonny. He’s found a job, a home, and even a local church who are welcoming of the LGBT community. But just as he is getting settled in, a string of homophobic fueled crimes starts to unravel his sense of acceptance, and pull’s him into the circle of Officer Abe Ellis. Abe is a homegrown police force talent, who takes a liking to Sonny, and in time they begin a relationship among the madness surrounding Sonny’s life.
But when the pursuer turns violent, Abe not only takes a beating, but takes matters into his own hands in such a matter that the risk’s don’t outweigh the gain in Sonny’s eyes. Their relationship starts to tailspin as they fail to find a reconciliation of the way they viewed the altercation that could have seen one or both of them killed.

The way they fight for one another, and the hurdles they must overcome are captured beautifully by Delphia! Even as they start to mend fences, there is no magic sex scene that fixes all their problems. They have to feel every little part of the struggle it takes to form a relationship given their pasts and let me tell you…you’re going to feel it too. I literally was shocked when I put this book down and realized that these characters were not sitting in my living room because it felt so real.
I cried. I laughed. I hugged my tablet and refused to turn to the last page for quite sometime because I wasn’t ready to let go.

I’m so glad this is a series, because I absolutely need more of these incredibly built characters!
Profile Image for Belinda Zamora.
1,037 reviews6 followers
January 3, 2020
Wow! What an emotional powerhouse of a book.
This book put me through the wringer.
Poor Sonny just about broke my heart.
What he endured during his time served in the military was horrific and left an indelible mark upon him.
Now that he's home, he's having difficulty adjusting which leads to him making a rash decision which almost ends tragically.
In order to begin healing, he moves out of state, even though his mother doesn't necessarily approve approve but he needs to regain some semblance of life which begins with his independence.
His arrival in town seems to have stirred up someone and he finds himself on the offensive after some unsettling events take place concerning him.
Upon meeting a local police officer, Abe sparks fly between them.
Unfortunately, Abe's best friend isn't exactly welcoming and they start off on the wrong foot.
The situation isn't helped when Abe is seriously injured and Sonny is blamed.
Things reach and explosive conclusion and Abe takes a calculated risk to save them.
Sonny finds himself in a dark place and their relationship is almost derailed because of it.
Fortunately, they seek help and get their HEA.
I really enjoyed how realistic their struggles were portrayed.
The issues they had to deal with were very serious and they had to struggle both individually and together as a couple in order to make it work.
Profile Image for Smut Report.
986 reviews112 followers
February 15, 2022
Full review available at The Smut Report.

Heat Factor: Really great physical affection. Lots of hugs. Also some hot sex. But, oh, the hand kissing in the truck…

Character Chemistry: These two were super committed super fast, even with everything else going on.

Plot: PTSD, independence, homophobia, mistrust, love

Overall: The love story was totally sweet but the drama stressed me out like crazy

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

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Profile Image for Whatbeareads.
11 reviews
January 2, 2020
DNF - 85% I’m a bit gutted about this one, I was super excited to read it and I expected to love it a lot. It has a lot of things I usually love in MM romance: veteran hero with PTSD, romance with a police officer, bit of suspense and it was well rated and reviewed on GR. So where did it go wrong? I really struggled connecting with both the main characters and the story just felt very flat to me. I got quite frustrated with some of their actions and some of the things that happen in the book seemed pointless, just angst for the sake of angst. I really wish I’d loved it, usually once I get to a certain point in a story I’ll stick it out but I got 85% of the way through and still wasn’t invested so this was a DNF for me. 3 stars because there wasn’t anything wrong with the writing, on another day I maybe would’ve stuck with it but the lack of connection wouldn’t have improved.
Profile Image for Shaay.
67 reviews1 follower
January 5, 2020
Sonny moves to a small town after failed suicide attempt (due to PTSD from tour as a medic).
It's a week or so after he moves into a new house, gets new job, and starts attending new church, when vandalism starts - derogatory word on garage doors, break in... He doesn't know that many people yet, but from reader's point of view it's quite obvious who the culprit is. The responding officer is a prick (the heck, Nate), who believes Sonny staged said incidents. Anyway, he then meets Abel and they're immediately into each other. There's a brutal attack on Abe and Sonny takes care of him when he's out of hospital... the culprit attacks them again (despite all the security measures), they have a fight but in the end find a way to be together.

Oh, and Sonny is vegan (brownie points from me - although he mostly gets to eat salad an tofu)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for AL.
1,106 reviews7 followers
January 2, 2020
There are characters in movies and books that are just jumping out of the pages demanding a hug. And Sonny was one of them! This book was very emotional. In some places, very raw and painfully realistic. Most of all though, it was amazingly written and depicted both MCs and their feeling in an incredible way! So relatable and so spot on! Can't wait to read more from this series!
Profile Image for Keith.
1,512 reviews6 followers
January 26, 2020
Left Me Unimpressed

It’s almost OK. The story just never jelled for me, neither the relationship nor the sinister plot ever felt complete. I did not understand Sonny’s need to be vegan unless it was just to pander to that segment of readers? And Sweetshade, TX failed to impress me as a town or community. I made it through 88%, and then just lost interest.
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews

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