Title: Lovers & Fighters
Author: Nash Summers
Publisher: Dreamspinner Publishing
Release Date: September 9, 2015
Page Count: 127
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
Scott Halleck and Julian Reeves are polar opposites in almost every way. Scott, a modern arts curator at a museum in Chicago, relishes the finer things in life. Julian is a strange photographer whose hair color changes as frequently as his mood. As far as Scott can see, Julian is an erratic know-it-all who lives his life one day to the next. To Julian, Scott is an uptight, too-coiffed perfectionist.
As the two men continue to run into each other, their dislike grows, but beneath that animosity, a fire is beginning to spark. Scott is baffled when he realizes he is falling for Julian, a man who burns hotter than a wildfire. Scott will have to decide, for the first time in his life, if he’ll let the flames take over.
“This kind of romance would consume us both. We were creatures of habit, self-destructive and toxic in ways that neither of us even knew.”
Nash Summers is a relatively new author to me, meaning that after reading her story for this year’s “Don’t read in the closet” event, I went back to check her other work and ended up reading everything within two days. I loved it all and this book is no exception. If you liked fawn, you are going to love Lovers & Fighters.
This book is unique. For the most part of it the MCs try not to be together. In fact, Scott has a boyfriend who is a pretty nice guy (don’t worry, no cheating involved). DO NOT let this deter you.
“I HATE your shoes.”
“Excuse me?” I replied, trying my best not to choke on my own saliva.
“I said I hate your shoes. They’re hideous, like some useless loafer-moccasin hybrid that turned out to be the runt of an ugly litter.”
Yes, as far as first impressions go, this couldn’t get any worse. This is the first of a series of chance meetings. Call it fate, call it coincidence, Scott and Julian keep bumping into each other until they can’t ignore it anymore. Encounters that are sometimes funny, sometimes a little tragic.
The two of them are polar opposites. Julian is wild, covered in tattoos and piercings. He changes his name and hair colour every few days. He punishes himself by letting other men beat him and use him. No excuses, no childhood drama, no abuse. Julian made bad choices, he messed up and carries that guilt.
Scott is always buttoned up, too rigid, too perfect. He wants everything around him to be perfect, including his boyfriend, because otherwise he will get hurt. He knows the things that make him feel alive are those that hurt him, so he choses to not really live. So, yes, polar opposites. Or maybe not.
“When you look at me, what do you see?” Julian asked…[…] “I’m just framework. I’m an empty shell, walking around, laughing and pretending to be real. And do you know what I see when I look at you, Loafers?”
I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye. Julian smiled and leaned toward me to whisper in my ear.
“I see the same thing.”
Not so different after all. Under the animosity and the fighting there is a strong attraction, not only sexual but emotional too. Because no matter how much they dislike each other, they can’t ignore the fact that the only times they feel alive, are those they spend together.
And when push comes to shove, Scott will have to decide if he’s going to “step out of line and reach for the stars” or choose his safe but boring life.
His lips almost touched my ear when he whispered, “If you want me, Scott, then give me you. Give me the air in your lungs and the heart in your chest, but don’t you dare give me a picture of the moon and tell me that it’s mine.”
There isn’t much steam but Nash Summers can get away with no steam at all. All the moments they shared, steamy or not, felt precious.
The ending left me wanting more. But that is because I’m greedy. It is a tentative HFN, more like a sense of finally letting go or a feeling of coming home. Nash Summers can get away with that too.