Authors: Ruth Clampett
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: March 9, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 310
Reviewed by: Steph
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.13 stars out of 5
Would you live a lie to hold onto the one you love?
Dean and Jason are best friends, like brothers since boyhood, now architecture students and college roommates. They’ve always had each other’s back, but when one walks in on the other with another man, everything changes. How do you explain to your best friend that he’s the one you’ve always wanted, that until now your life has been a lie?
Desperation and shame are two dirty words that run through Jason’s veins. He carries the scars from a wayward priest who stole his innocence and left him shattered. Meanwhile for years he’s watched Dean pursuing woman after woman, as his own heart slowly breaks.
When their world blows apart, they learn the powerful bond between them has more fire than either understood. Can two broken souls find the light in their darkness and come together to make a whole, or will sins of the past be forever unforgiven?
This standalone is a M/M love story with graphic sex. Trigger warning.
- Possible triggers may include child abuse and molestation.
- There are a few detailed MF scenes in the story. However, given the characters, their situations and their emotions, it is easily understood.
For this being Ruth Clampett’s debut MM book, she really didn’t hold back. The story of Jason and Dean held my interest from the beginning. It was nice to see both characters unsure of themselves, yet at the same time slowly acknowledging their feelings (more so Dean) towards one another. So, don’t be surprised that this book is angsty to the nth degree, and given the character’s age and that they’re in college, be ready for a bit a spite and bad decision-making on both ends. Not to mention, the flashbacks of abuse that Jason endured. So, yeah be ready for an emotional rollercoaster of sorts.
Essentially this book is about Jason and Dean working out their emotions; given what they’ve known about each other, their feelings towards one another and what they now know about each other. I have to say, at least for me, it was a bit slow in the beginning with Dean trying to work out his feelings after seeing Jason with Ramon together in an uncompromising position. Even though Jason has always had feelings for Dean, he has to work through memories/emotions of past abuse by someone of authority. I’m not going to lie…I had tears people.
What is beautiful though, is that we get to see both characters slowly mature over time; especially in the end when it counts. To see the relationship develop between these two was wonderful, even though throughout it all I was either gritting my teeth, pulling my hair and/or trying to express my emotions to the characters while talking to my Kindle. There were even a couple of times I had to put it down and walk away for fear I would toss my Kindle. Seriously, men are so stubborn. However, what got me was Jason’s strength to seek help for the weight he has carried and Dean’s encouragement and support.
I have to put this out there though. Even though I was upset at times with Jason’s rash decisions on Dean’s behalf; it was understandable given the abuse he went through and how it shaped his life. I for one can say I do understand where he is coming from. Especially the dungeon scene, and I will leave it at that. What matters the most, is in the end both Jason and Dean get their well deserved HEA.