Lost Boy (The Loyal Boys #3) by Charli Meadows

Lost Boy is book 3 in the Loyal Boys series and gives us a grumpy/sunshine pair with first times and a boy finding his way back to himself. 

From the blurb:


Being alone is nothing new. I’ve been abandoned by everyone. Now, I have absolutely no one. I might even prefer it that way. All I really need is a guitar and my thoughts.

Just shy of my eighteenth birthday, I’m forced to move across the country to live with my uncle in California. He’s the head basketball coach at Acadia Lake Prep, the new private academy I’m attending. Ryder Cruz is his star player.

He makes me question things about myself and what I want. Things I’ve never once considered. The oversized and enthusiastic jock is always around, insisting I smile and laugh with him. But it won’t work. It can’t. The painful memories and regret I carry are too strong. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel again.


Basketball is great. So are my friends. Dad. My little sister Sofie. I’m team captain, and I’m taking us to State.

It’s easy to forget that nothing is ever as it seems. I fight my demons with smiles and awkward jokes, but things are starting to pile up. Pranks between my guys and the rival public school, issues with my mother, and a secret I can’t tell anyone. A truth that holds me in its grasp. I can’t risk the team or my college acceptance—my future . Can’t risk my dream.

I’m gay. And no one can know.

It wasn’t as hard to keep this close to my chest until Fallon Rivers showed up with his big, sad eyes and bright blue hair. I’m not sure I can continue hiding who I am. I need this boy to smile. To talk to me. I need to spark some life back into his soul.

He doesn’t realize my dad and his uncle are partners, but he’ll find out soon enough. Sleepovers happen almost every weekend. And now that he’s here and staying for good, I guess he’ll just have to get used to my presence. Because I’m determined to make him feel again and maybe even free myself along the way.

Lost Boy is a 90,000-word friends-to-lovers gay romance. It is book three in The Loyal Boys Series, a collection of standalone contemporary M/M romances. You can expect opposites attract, forced proximity, hurt/comfort, steamy first times, and a supportive found family. This novel is intended for 18+ readers and contains explicit scenes, mild violence, language, and bullying from outside sources. See Author’s Note for a full list of Content Warnings.

Jacqueleen the Reading Queen's Review:

"𝙃𝙚'𝙨 𝙨𝙪𝙣𝙨𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩, 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙄'𝙢 𝙟𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙙𝙖𝙧𝙠𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨."

Oh Fallon. My heart went out to him. He hasn't had an easy life after the passing of his father. The one person who was supposed to support him unconditionally, his own mother, turned out to be the person most responsible for him losing all he had left. It kills me when parents do this to their children. It's incredibly selfish and makes me wish I could open my own home to all those kids who live in neglect. Seeing what those 5 years living with his mother did to Fallon was horrific. The best thing that ever happened to him was his Uncle Joel taking him in, even if he didn't realize it at the time. It's hard to feel anything if you're dead inside already.

It doesn't take long for Fallon to meet Ryder. He's his opposite in every way, even size. Fallon is petite with black and blue hair and piercings. Ryder is a muscular over 6 foot basketball player who is rarely seen without a smile. Fallon doesn't even remember how to smile, but that doesn't stop Ryder from trying to get him to crack one.

"𝙄'𝙢 𝙖 𝙢𝙚𝙨𝙨. 𝙄'𝙢 𝙖 𝙬𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙠. 𝙃𝙚'𝙡𝙡 𝙟𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙫𝙚. 𝙀𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙙𝙤𝙚𝙨 𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙬𝙖𝙮 𝙤𝙛 𝙖𝙣𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧."

Fallon has a lot of trauma in his past to work through, abandonment issues being a major one. He also has major self esteem issues courtesy of his mother's many loser boyfriends constantly degrading him while she did nothing about it. Ryder's mission to make that sad, lost little boy smile isn't an easy one, but I loved seeing him try. Little by little we get to see Fallon come out of his shell, to blossom into the boy he should have been all along. It warmed my heart and totally stole Ryders from his chest every time he'd see one of Fallon's almost smiles. And when he finally hears him laugh? Hook, line, and sinker. Boy is a goner over Fallon and thank goodness Fallon feels the same.

"𝙃𝙞𝙨 𝙡𝙤𝙤𝙠𝙨 𝙘𝙖𝙥𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙢𝙚, 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙖𝙪𝙧𝙖 𝙚𝙣𝙨𝙣𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙢𝙚, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙣𝙤𝙬 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙨𝙤𝙪𝙡 𝙘𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙚."

I really loved how everything turned out in the end. Despite the dark cloud that arrived hanging over Fallon, I felt the story was one of lightness. Working on your mental health takes time. So does healing. And grieving. Fallon was never really able to grieve the loss of his father and I think that contributed to his trauma. Seeing him grow surrounded by Ryder and their entire loving family was lovely. There is one side character that has stuck in my head though. And that's Jackson. Though it's clear Ryder didn't trust him seeing as he's from a rival school, Jackson never did anything untoward. In fact, he was nothing but friendly to Fallon. I'm wondering, more like hoping, we'll get to see more of him in the future.

Rating: 5 Stars

Lost Boy is available to buy as an ebook, paperback, or to read with Kindle Unlimited subscription.

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Meet Charli Meadows

Charli Meadows is an obsessive reader, avid Bookstagrammer-turned PA, and now an author herself. Lover of all things romance, she plans to write a little bit of everything but make it sweet and spicy.

Living in North Carolina with her husband and young daughter, you can usually find Charli working her boring corporate job or at home playing video games. When she’s not reading, writing, or daydreaming about books.

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