Author: Nicola Haken
Release Date: February 29th 2016
Page Count: 287
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.6 stars out of 5
When Theodore Davenport decides to switch his mundane job for a career, he walks into Holden House Publishing with enthusiasm and determination to succeed. As he settles into his new role, makes new friends, and dreams of making it to the top, everything is going to plan.
Until he meets James Holden, CEO of Holden House.
James Holden hasn’t been able to stop thinking about his encounter with the timid man he met in a club bathroom last week, and when he discovers the one haunting his dreams is an employee, he can’t seem to stop himself from pursuing him.
Just a little fun – that’s what James tells himself. He can’t afford to care for someone who can never reciprocate, not once they find out who he really is. James believes nobody deserves the burden of being attached to him. He’s a complicated man. Damaged. Difficult. Demanding.
Is Theodore strong enough to confront James’ demons? More importantly, is James?
(M/M romance. Not suitable for readers under 18 years of age due to language and sexual content. ***Please note*** This book contains scenes of self harm, mental illness and suicidal ideation which may pose as a trigger, or be uncomfortable for some readers.)
A couple of things you need to know before picking up this book:
-If suicidal ideation, suicide attempt or scenes of self harm pose as triggers for you, this may not be a book you want to read.
-This is a very, very long book. Like 8667 kindle locations long.
-The story focuses on mental illness, depression and bipolar disorder.
Congrats to the author for not glossing over the details of mental illness, for using it respectfully, and not as a tool to create angst and unnecessary drama.
I admit I am torn; I had a hard time getting into the story, and I liked the second half way better than the first.
Long story short , Theo hooks up with James in a club, but it turns out that James is his new boss. It’s obvious, though, that James is still interested in another hook-up, even after he learned that Theo is his employee.
I found Theo to be OTT hostile towards James at first. He’s always on edge and goes off with no good reason. He could have just made it clear that he wasn’t interested in another hook up without the hysterics. This “I’m snapping at you all the time because deep down I want you” behaviour combined with Theo’s self slut-shaming (because he doesn’t do hook ups) reminded me some of the reasons I don’t read MF anymore.
But note that Theo is the one who initiates sex the next time!
We get dual POV, but I always find first person-present tense narration jarring, especially when the topic is so heavy.
And then there were little things, like Theo’s lesbian friend who would sniff guests because “a man’s aftershave says a lot about them” (!). Or Theo being unreasonably judgemental (the nurse looks ordinary, so he imagines her having a marriage of convenience with an equally boring husband!).
The second half of the book worked much better for me. Sure, it was harsh and gritty, but it was also very real.
I loved that the MCs were together for the most part of the book. They had good times and bad times, they were trying to work things out or just get to know each other better. But they did it together.
The author does not sugarcoat the details of James’ illness, and eventually he hits rock bottom. And this is portrayed as it should be, with no magic solutions, but with a lot of hope.
The sexy times were pretty hot and emotional too.
Bottom line: Is this a good book? Yes, it is. Did I enjoy it? Hmm..not so much. But I’m literally the only one who didn’t, so it’s probably a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”.