Defenseless (Vallie’s Review)

Title: Defenseless
Author: A.J. Rose
Publisher: The Grim Writer Press
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 438
Reviewed by: Vallie
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

From Rainbow Award-winning author AJ Rose, Defenseless is a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping story of love through adversity.

Kyle Decker knew dating Jesse McGovern would change his life. Young and in love, and with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, the world is theirs to conquer.

But their victorious Pride celebration ends in a savage attack, brutally demonstrating they’re far from equal. Instead of wedding planning, Jesse and Kyle face an arduous recovery and a shattered sense of their place in the world, their once-promising future suddenly something to survive.

While Jesse struggles with a permanent injury and its emotional aftermath, Kyle’s single-minded focus on Jesse’s recovery is the only thing keeping his demons at bay…for now. What was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love is now full of lies and resentment.

With their dreams tattered and forever changed, trusting anyone—even each other—is daunting. So how can they have faith in twelve strangers on a jury? They’ve already learned the hard way it only takes a moment to become truly defenseless.


Defenseless chronicles the story of Jesse and Kyle, a young couple in love whose lives were irrevocably changed after a gay-bashing following the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality.

Talk about taking on a beast of a topic huh? The author did the story justice and then some.

I love that we got some time with Jesse and Kyle before their attack. I was reading about this young couple in love, decorating their first apartment together, deciding how Jesse will support Kyle to come out as bisexual and all the while I had this sense of impending doom, just waiting for the attack. When it happened, there had been sufficient page time to convince me of Jesse and Kyle’s love for one another, which made it all the more devastating.

Yes folks, this is gonna hurt like a sonafabitch.


Jesse is injured severely and Kyle is losing his ever-loving mind. Kyle is a nurse and he takes over taking care of Jesse full time. Jesse is a mess; he’s defeated, angry, resentful, becomes a total a$$hole to Kyle. Kyle has the patience of a saint. He grits he teeth and is there for whatever Jesse needs. But the bottom line? They are both freaking terrified. They don’t leave the house unless it’s for necessities. They develop anxiety in public places and they draw further and further apart emotionally. It sucked reading about their pain because it took so many freaking forms.

What I was most impressed with? There was not a single aspect of their lives that could have been affected by the attack that the author did not turn inside out and analyse the hell out of. I mean…everyfreakingthing was addressed and given the proper page time. Their relationship. Their social life. Their finances. The family dynamics, especially with Kyle’s parents. Their friends who were amazing and provided amazing support. The legal situation with the investigation and later on the trial. This was a massive, game-changing, life event and the author succeeded in presenting it in a very realistic, human way. Nothing was sugar-coated. Nothing was softened. And of course, the majestic thing was how Kyle and Jesse came out of all of this.

Their love story is a thing for the ages. Even when things seemed to be grinding to a halt, there was not a single moment I did not believe they would rise above. And they so fucking did.The steam was scorching in the beginning and was introduced in an organic way after the attack.


The last 20% or so is dedicated to the trial which I am happy to say was super detailed. It was like a court-room drama given to us play-by-play on page. And it might seem like too much but after the huge impact this attack had on Jesse and Kyle’s lives, I personally felt like that page time needed to be devoted to the trial proceedings. However, the story overall could have used some chopping I think. It did not drag, exactly, because the pace the story unfolded in felt appropriate, but certain things did not need that much detail.

This story is hurt/comfort extraordinaire and if you are an angst junky like me, you absolutely have to read this. I know readers will be weary of just how angsty this is but fear not –there is a pay out at the end to make all the ugly pain and tears worth it. It is an inspiring story and the romance shines through. The love they share, it’s the stuff of dreams, and even when they fucked up and hurt each other, it still shone through.

Highly recommend.

Buy Link Amazon Global AJ Rose Link GoodReads AJ Rose Reviews

Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Defenseless provided by AJ Rose in exchange of an honest review.

%d bloggers like this: