Title: Painful Lessons
Author: S.C. Wynne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 1, 2016
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Vallie
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
As a freshman both in love and in college, sometimes there are painful lessons to be learned.
Excited to begin his first year of college, Brett Bridgeworth has just one problem: he sucks at math. Luckily there’s the sensual and mysterious math tutor, Jeremy Price, to help him out. It isn’t long before Jeremy is tutoring Brett in more than just pie charts, but it isn’t until they split up that Brett discovers Jeremy’s twisted, obsessive side.
Sam Hawthorne is two years ahead of Brett, and they share a strong mutual attraction. When Brett breaks it off with Jeremy and gets involved with Sam, disturbing things start happening. It soon becomes obvious that Jeremy isn’t willing to let Brett go without a fight.
Told from a first person POV, this is the story of 18 year-old Brett, a freshman in college, eager to be wooed and to enter a romantic relationship. I had to remind myself that Brett was only 18 because his immaturity grated on the nerves quite a bit, but it’s part of the age group, isn’t it? Brett falls head over heels in love with Jeremy, his math tutor.
Let’s take a minute to appreciate what a creeper Jeremy was.
The author did excellent with this. The book overall had this creepy, dark side because of him, and I was honestly reading with my stomach clenched, waiting for disaster to happen at any moment. Even the sex was creepy. We were only in Brett’s head and let’s just say the encounters were weird and awkward. The descriptions were graphic enough but purposely strange, leaving the reader with a sick feeling towards Jeremy and pity towards Brett. Because you see, Jeremy wasn’t your average creep who couldn’t take no for an answer when Brett decided to end things. He stalked. He harassed. He was suspected of criminal activity. The reader was not told a lot of information about Jeremy, which added to the mystery and extended the possibilities of how far he was capable of going.
In the middle of all of this was Sam. Sam was an all-American boy, friendly as they come, smitten with Brett, funny, and overall someone I was rooting for the whole time. I did not appreciate the fact that Sam wasn’t forthcoming with information about creeper Jeremy for a big part of the book. I wanted to shout “Just tell him (and me, hehe) what you know already! You’re supposed to care about him!” After the break-up, Sam and Brett became closer and there were so many lovely moments between them that I wanted to squee! The intimate scenes were miles different to those with Jeremy, rightly so, in order to highlight the different dynamics and emotions in the relationship between Sam and Brett. There were miscommunication issues, temper tantrums, and overall juvenile behaviours, but hey, Brett was 18, he was entitled to them I suppose.
The sub-plot with Brett’s dad wasn’t handled very well I thought. We were told throughout the story how distant the relationship between dad and son was and were shown interactions that proved just that. But the resolution -or should I say the road to recovering their damaged relationship, came a little too easy and in a choppy way. I just didn’t buy it. I am glad it ended on a positive note, but I think it needed a little more developing.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read that coming-of-age fans are sure to enjoy. I had a few niggles about the miscommunication issues and the characters themselves being a little too immature for my liking, but all in all I had fun reading this.