A guest review by Sirius.
Summary: I had some issues with this story, but overall it was a pleasant surprise
For the last six years, Simon has struggled to keep his identity a secret along with a past that, so far, has stayed right where it belongs. Beaten within an inch of his life, he left everything behind when he fled to Washington. Including his family. So when the shrill ringing of his phone wakes him in the middle of the night, the last person he expects to hear on the other end of the line is his baby sister.
After living together for over five years, David figures there isn’t much more to learn about Simon Taverdy. That is, until he overhears Simon talking on the phone. Tied to this life they share by a family of his own, David refuses to pack their things and leave, even if it means putting Simon’s life in danger.
With only four weeks left until Christmas, going home for the holidays takes on new meaning, especially when it involves the cops and an abusive ex who’s still on the run. Can Simon and David survive the fallout of Simon’s past, or will he bolt again to the middle of Nowhere?
I started reading this book with no expectations whatsoever. I just wanted to try a new to me author, so I randomly pointed to the blurb and requested the book. In several ways the story managed to pleasantly surprise me. As you can see the story is about an established couple having to deal with the unexpected repercussions of the events which happened to one of them in the past when they have not yet met.
I expected the story to proceed along the lines of misunderstandings, unnecessary break ups and make ups, but instead the story turned out to be about two men who seemed to think that their six year relationship was worth fighting for and holding on to. I really liked it, I do not think that we have nearly enough stories about the established couples dealing with external negative events together rather than separately.
While the guys do not break up, the story of course has some angst – Simon IS damaged from past abuse and of course it influences the way he acts in the present. I was very impressed by him in the beginning of the story that despite wanting to run again, he stopped and came back, no matter how much hurt and pain came back to hunt him. And no matter how determined David was to stood by Simon (and he did) of course it was still hard for him and of course he had his doubts and worries. What I am trying to say is that in this story the angst made sense to me and the angst did not equal what I would perceive as the characters acting like idiots.
As you can see from the rating I did have some issues with the story. I fully admit that the first issue was something that bothered me personally and not something that did not work within the story. As I mentioned it was refreshing for me the way the author used the past events to make an impact on the men’s present in a sense that she did not make them go through misunderstandings and break ups. At the same time I cannot help but wonder why would so many characters in mm fiction have abusive exes in the first place?
Second issue was something that I seriously did not like and was one of the main reasons if not the main reasons that I dropped the rating. The timeline of the story is rather short (I think couple of weeks, give or take, I could be off but I do not think by much). So when the story started we learned that Simon did not like being topped, which in line of his past made total sense to me. However, at the end of the story he eagerly initiated being topped and supposedly liked it a lot, no flashbacks or anything. And this plot turn made absolutely no sense to me because I felt it was too fast for me. It was especially disappointing because they talk about counseling during the course of the story and I at least had an impression that they seriously intend to pursue it. So I did not feel that the author’s intention was to introduce the story about miraculous healing from abuse in the short amount of time. That is why I was scratching my head when I was reading that scene.
I also had an issue with one of the secondary characters. I like sympathetic female characters, but I could not understand what was her purpose in the story besides reminding Simon of the sister he left behind.
I would still recommend the story overall despite the issues I had, but beware of those.