It took Anthony Potosi years to recover from the accident that claimed his father’s life, and doctors told him he’d never walk again. He proved them wrong. Now he’s back at the landscaping business, Potosi and Sons, he shares with his two older brothers—but they seem more interested in getting Anthony to sell out his share than in celebrating his recovery. The oil-and-water relationship between Anthony and his brothers is hardly new. Even when they were kids, Sal and Chip delighted in terrorizing their baby brother with stories like “The Hook,” complete with visits to the abandoned Victorian a half mile down the two-lane.
Now Anthony towers over his brothers…but he’s still the youngest. When the new owner of the Hook House calls in an order, they take a little too much satisfaction in sending him to face his old fears. And learning to open up again to trust, desire—and maybe even love—is far scarier than The Hook.
When the story opens Anthony is feeling very much like the outsider in his family since his brothers seem to be ganging up on him at every turn, and he thinks that his disability is the main reason they want to buy him out of the business. As the youngest he was always the butt of their jokes since childhood and now, as adults, they are still trying to find new ways to intimidate him, similar to the way they did at the “Hook House” as he calls it, all those years ago. Because of his bum leg and back, injuries he suffered in the accident that killed his father, his brother Chip thinks he’s useless as an active participant in the family’s landscaping business which requires a lot of manual labour, and he is trying to encourage Tony to look for another job such as a desk job or go to college so that he could eventually get a degree that would help him in a new career.
On that day he volunteered to make a delivery to the Hook House, his old nemesis, but when he arrived, the house and its surroundings looked different. The house was no longer a scary, delapidated ruin next door to a graveyard, although the graves were still there, but the grounds and the house were well cared for, and the new owner looked even better. When he saw David Dean that first time he was very impressed by his looks in addition to the changes he had made to the property. David, it seemed, was just as taken with Tony, and before 5 minutes had passed they had already exchanged a few things, including some bodily fluids in a kiss. By the time Tony left for home he had a date for dinner that evening.
That night after dinner they went back to the house and Tony was initially afraid to go into the Hook House which still put out the wrong vibes. He was also concerned about taking things further with David because he hadn’t had sex since his accident 2-1/2 years ago, and he didn’t want to be laughed at if he couldn’t perform. But he need not have worried because David seemed to know instinctively how to reassure him. The sex was so much better than he expected and he felt cherished.
The next morning he found David lying on the burial plot on the property, which brought back unpleasant memories of his childhood, and then David started to talk … about the things he would prefer to forget.
This is a sweet romance – quite different from most of Jordan Castillo Price’s other books because, although there are are a couple of scary elements which you will have to experience for yourself, and there is a graveyard, you need not be afraid because there’s no one there.*g* This is not a paranormal story, it just has a few paranormal elements. David was quite a lot older than Tony, about 13 years older, 42 to Tony’s 29, and has experienced his own ups and downs in life. He tried to show Tony that everyone has challenges and how we deal with them (or not) makes an important difference in our lives.
I think Sympathy indicates once again what a multi faceted writer Ms Price is and that she does not need to scare readers for them to enjoy her books. She proves that quality work is a matter of skill which she possesses in abundance. The prose is excellent and her characters are three dimensional and vibrant. Remember, there could be some truth to the saying that there are only 6 degrees of separation if you look around to find the connections. This book is told from the first person POV in Anthony’s voice. Definitely recommended!