Title: Lovers & Fighters
Author: Nash Summers
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 9, 2015
Page Count: 127
Reviewed by: Vallie
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 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,
I fell totally in love with this book. I need to seriously fan-girl over this, big time. The writing? How can I possibly rave enough about the prose, the way everything flows, how damn poetic it all is? Nash Summers, you just became one of my favourite authors. So let’s talk about this book.
As I said, damn poetry, is what it is. The moment I began reading, I could tell that this book was not going to be like a run-of-the-mill story. There are layers and layers to both Scott and Julian which are slowly revealed at the right time. No telling. All showing. Scott first appears to be a completely boring, by the book, museum curator who is a bit of a snob and uptight. Julian looks like a freak show and doesn’t give a monkey’s ass about it. Through some weird set of circumstances, they meet, they have a one-night stand, and then they keep bumping into each other.
And this is where the story won me over, 100%. I am a total sucker for co-dependent, addictive relationships. I love reading about them. Scott develops a very unhealthy fascination and an almost stalkery addiction to Julian. He starts thinking about him non-stop. His work is affected. His sleep is affected. He gives up on a very promising relationship with Ryan who is so very understanding of it all and I really hope he gets something good for himself in a later book. Scott starts following Julian around, trying to meet him and talk to him. Scott’s character starts unfolding deliciously slowly, revealing a dark side that has been suppressed pretty much all his life. He had to be the good, stable person. But Julian woke up inside him the adrenaline junkie who will stop at nothing if it means being with the person he loves.
Julian remains a mystery throughout the book. It becomes very clear that his psychological issues go very deep and the way he tries to cope is very unhealthy. Julian is self-destructive in all the ways that count, leaving a flustered Scott trying to pick up the pieces.
Let’s clarify here that Scott and Julian never actually form a relationship. They don’t really become a couple. Scott is chasing the elusive Julian around and Julian sometimes gives in and sometimes doesn’t. Julian doesn’t trust anyone but he starts having feelings for Scott and lets him get closer than anyone else. There is very little steam but honestly, there are so many feelings that I didn’t miss it. The moments we do get are carefully chosen and necessary. No gratuitous sex here, even though it wouldn’t have been unwelcome. These guys have some ridiculously serious chemistry going on.
This is a dark book that is mostly sad and heart-breaking but don’t let this deter you folks. There is a HEA, or maybe HFN? It’s all a little vague but it worked for me. I want MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE!!!! This is one of the best mm books I have ever read and it’s going to my not-enough-stars-to-rate-this shelf, where only a few other books live. I am still shaken but how masterfully the author laid this story out and I am sooooooo going after anything and everything Nash Summers has ever written.