A guest review by Jenre
After seven months of an affair they can only pursue on occasional weekends, Jackson Spey and Adin Swift are more in love than ever. More frustrated, too. Their periods of separation are becoming intolerable. Adin can’t help but feel responsible…just as he can’t help worrying Jackson’s patience is wearing thin.
Celia, Adin’s live-in girlfriend, has been aware of the men’s relationship from the start. She also knows Adin’s sense of honor will not allow him to walk out on her. Neither stupid nor insensitive, Celia realizes most triangles have a breaking point, and this one has reached that stage.
Just as she’s on the verge of arranging a meeting with Jackson, the wizard is summoned to do a strange favor for a fellow practitioner of magic. Noah Curry’s beloved partner, Perez Pei, has disappeared. Despondent and desperate, Noah uses a unique kind of influence to enlist Jackson’s aid.
As the lovers wonder what Celia’s intentions are and as Adin considers taking drastic measures, the hunt for Perez Pei begins. From his Milwaukee flat to an Illinois farmhouse to a shack in rural Mississippi, Jackson must confront forces, beings, and aspects of his freed sexuality he’s never before had to face.
He doesn’t know if it’s extortion or compassion that drives him to help Noah find Perez. He only knows he can’t give up. If he does, Adin could be lost to him forever.
To be Where You Are follows on from the excellent InDescent (reviewed HERE). At the end of the previous book our heroes Adin the ex-vampire and Jackson the wizard had realised that they mean more to each other than the occasional weekend fling. The trouble is Adin is still living with Celia, who he loves and respects but has begun to realise is not the life long partner he once thought she would be. Celia also realises that she has lost Adin to Jackson and also that perhaps Adin and Jackson have always been destined for each other. Before Celia can finally cut the ties that bind her and Adin, another wizard interferes in a desperate attempt to get Jackson to help him find his missing lover.
Before I begin, I feel I ought to mention that this book is part of a ongoing series of books involving Celia, Jackson and Adin (non of which involve a menage, I hasten to add). It’s not necessary to have read all the books in the series before you read this one, but I would recommend that you read InDescent and possibly the one before that, Obsessed (reviewed HERE), to get a true understanding of the characters, especially Celia, and how they have arrived at their present situation.
This book follows two intertwining story lines. Both of these take up equal page time as we swap and change between the paranormal mystery involving voodoo witchcraft and Jackson’s attempt to discover the whereabouts of fellow wizard Perez, and the domestic scenes between Adin and Celia as they struggle to come to terms with the breakdown of their relationship. This actually means that our two heroes don’t spend very much page time together, but instead the focus is mainly on Jackson as he works through the implications of finally admitting he is gay, of being in love and his frustration at being forced to be apart from Adin. This is done quite cleverly using characters who try to tempt Jackson. On three separate occasions in the book Jackson is propositioned by different men and each time the temptation is stronger as he considers giving in to their sexual advances. The way that Jackson reacts to these temptations, coupled with his sexual frustration and worry that Celia may not release Adin, is a turning point in the book and the series as a whole. These incidents show us how Jackson has begun to allow himself to look at other men in a sexual way and to accept that it isn’t just a case of ‘Gay for You’ with Adin, but that he’s attracted and tempted by other men also. It’s quite a subtle shift in Jackson’s viewpoint but an important one for him and for us the reader to recognise.
Alongside that is the paranormal plot involving the missing wizard Perez. At first I was a little irritated at how Perez’s story dragged me away from what was happening with Jackson and Adin, but as the book progressed I began to be drawn into the weird, almost dreamlike situation. Perez is an intriguing character and most of what we find out about him is done second hand through Jackson and Perez’s lover, Noah. When we do eventually get to meet him he is so disorientated that he’s almost a different person to that described earlier. I liked this contrast and also that his own folly has directly affected Jackson. One part that did surprise me slightly was the way that this part of the plot was so easily dealt with. I was expecting some ‘whizz bang’ witchcraft but everything was dealt with quite quickly and easily. I’m not sure quite why I was so surprised, after all, it is probably more realistic to have everything go to plan smoothly rather than have a lot of contrived difficulties added to the plot to make it more of a challenge for the characters!
Finally there is the situation with Adin and Celia. Those of you who are uncomfortable with infidelity, how ever much it may be sanctioned and accepted, will still find this aspect of the book and series uncomfortable. I have always found Celia’s reaction to the whole thing quite baffling at times and as a result she does come across as rather saintly. Having said that, I felt that the way the situation was resolved was handled well, especially as we are given a legitimate future for Celia and I was happy at the way this aspect of the story was concluded.
To Be Where You Are is a character based book which is high on emotion. I love books like that, love getting inside a character and really getting to know them and this book was able to satisfy me through the use of excellent, realistic characterisation. I devoured the book in one sitting and reached the end of the book both with a sigh of contentment and a slight feeling of disappointment that it was all over. This may well be the last Adin/Jackson novel (although KZ Snow has hinted of the possibility of more) and I’ve invested a lot of emotion and time on these wonderful characters. I want more, but I may just have to content myself by re-reading the series again. I highly recommend this book for all those, like me, who have fallen in love with Adin and Jackson but also the whole series in general for those who are looking for an emotionally fulfilling story about two men who have to overcome a series of difficult obstacles to be with one another.