Title: Sounds of Love (Senses and Sensations #1)
Author: Susan Laine
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Buy Link Amazon:
Genre: contemporary m/m romance
Length: Novel (220 pdf pages)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Feliz
Summary Review: A nice enough sweet romance, but the writing style didn’t quite agree with me.
The Blurb: What does love sound like? If you hear it, will you heed its call?
Police officer Jordan Waters is recovering from a shooting by moving to a new apartment in a new town and taking a new job. In other words, he’s lonely. His first instinct is to relieve his anxiety through uncomplicated sex—until he meets a man so far out of his league and experience that he stumbles for the first time.
Police volunteer Sebastian Sumner may be deaf, but his spirit, openness, and sense of humor give him the strength to get through anything—even the emotional defenses of Jordan Waters. But it’s his own family history that poses the biggest challenge. Can he learn to trust Jordan with his heart, or will his upbringing blind him to the sounds of love?
The Review: After being shot on the job, former NYPD homicide detective Jordan Waters moves to Washington, DC and joins the Financial Crimes and Fraud Unit. To his own surprise he finds himself welcomed by his new colleagues, despite his tats and piercings and his bad-boy attitude. Jordan being openly gay doesn’t seem to be a problem either. His new partner, Kevin Thompson, even invites him over for poker night with some other colleagues from the department. This is how Jordan first meets Sebastian Sumner, a police volunteer who works in the record office.
Two men couldn’t be more different. Where Jordan is standoffish, spiteful and contrary on purpose, Sebastian is sunny, open and resilient, taking all that that Jordan dishes out at him and giving back as good as he gets. Sebastian is deaf, but reads lips perfectly and speaks just fine. For Jordan, Sebastian’s handicap doesn’t matter at all. It’s lust at first glance for him, and by the end of poker night, Jordan is hopelessly taken by the small but fierce beauty that is Sebastian. The attraction seems mutual, but Sebastian makes it quite clear from the beginning that Jordan’s usual fuck-and-go routine is not what he’ll stand for. All or nothing is the name of his game, and Jordan is already in deep enough that he’s willing to tag along. They take it slow, maneuvering around several road bumps like meddling family members and friends on both sides, benevolent and otherwise, another shooting, an IA investigation and a grievous loss, but as they’re both moving into the same direction, they’re likely to eventually reach their mutual destination: each other. Or are they?
It’s Jordan who tells this story from his 1st person POV, so he’s the one we get to know best. He is portrayed as an internally inconsistent character, and I guess this is supposed to give him flaws and depth, like his rough shell hid a vulnerable golden heart or something. To me, he started out unappealing and didn’t get much more likable over the course of the story. Now Sebastian, he’s rose-tinted throughout as we only see him through Jordan’s eyes, which makes him appear almost superhuman at times. Definitely the nicer half of the couple. The secondary cast remains a bit obscure, except for Sebastian’s brother Ambrosius, who was actually my favorite character.
The plot was all about the romance here with anything else – for example, Sebastian’s handicap, or both main characters being with the police force – taking a back seat. As different as they may appear, Jordan and Sebastian are actually quite alike. They both come from defunct families, they have both a younger brother they’re very close to, they’re both lonely and ready to find their respective other half (even though Jordan takes a little longer to realize the latter). Next to the romance, family was another big theme here, resulting in the oft-stated realization that who someone calls family is a matter of choice rather than birth. The story flowed smoothly and pleasantly enough; aside from some all-too-convenient solutions, I found it nicely done.
I had big problems with the writing style, though. In the beginning, I found Jordan’s narrative voice agreeably sarcastic, if somewhat chatty and prone to ramble. Like this:
“… By that I mean that if provoked into an emotional and/or physical confrontation, I remained cool and calm and composed—in essence, mellow. I distanced myself from my own emotional responses and physical reactions, aware of them but not allowing them to control me or to dictate my conduct. I was mercilessly mellow, in the sense that I tended to go straight for the jugular when antagonized and irritated—which meant I spoke the cold, hard truth to my one-time adversaries, not holding anything back…”
Further into the story, though, the prose turned more and more purple, particularly during the sex scenes. This is an example:
“… Leaning back on my heels, I studied the picture in front of me contentedly. That snow white skin glistening with a thin coat of sweat. Those cinnamon-scented pitch-black strands framing his face I wanted to shift with my fingers from covering his eyes. That supple and lean bloodhound type of body with hidden strength, shivering with anticipation. Those full, red, kiss-swollen lips, like ripe strawberries, quirked up from the corners into a sensuous smile. Those blue eyes, like glass, looking up at me with love and lust and trust…”
Speaking of which, there was also quite a bit of deep thinking and soul-searching contemplation going on during intimate scenes, expanding them to a point where a single kiss could span almost two pages. To say nothing of actual bedroom scenes – of which there were not THAT many, but they took up a lot of page space. Now, I’m well aware that this is mainly a matter of taste, and as for me, this is what it comes down to with this book. If you’re into this kind of intense,verbose and detailed writing style, you’ll most probably like this novel a lot better than I did.