Title: The Perils of Intimacy
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 1, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Jimmy and Mark make an adorable couple. Jimmy’s kindness and clean-cut cuteness radiate out of him like light. Mark, although a bit older, complements Jimmy with his humor and his openness to love.
But between them, a dark secret lurks, one with the power to destroy.
See, when Mark believes he’s meeting Jimmy for the first time in the diner where he works, he’s wrong.
Mark has no recollection of their original encounter because the wholesome Jimmy of today couldn’t be more different than he was two years ago. Back then, Jimmy sported multiple piercings, long bleached dreadlocks, and facial hair. He was painfully skinny—and a meth addict. The drug transformed him into a different person—a lying, conniving thief who robbed Mark blind during their one-night stand.
Mark doesn’t associate the memory of a hookup gone horribly wrong with this fresh-faced, smiling twentysomething… but Jimmy knows. As they begin a dance of love and attraction, will Jimmy be brave enough to reveal the truth? And if he does, will Mark be able to forgive him? Can he see Jimmy for the man he is now and not the addict he was? The answers will depend on whether true love holds enough light to shine through the darkness of past mistakes.
In reading “The Perils of Intimacy” I am reminded of the phrase “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.” Sex is easy but intimacy, true intimacy, is hard. It’s easy to say “I forgive you” but true forgiveness of someone and acceptance of “the flawed, broken, and beautiful things they are” can be difficult.
Mark and Jimmy meet two years ago when each man is at a critical point in their life – Jimmy in the throes of a powerful addiction to meth and Mark lost, lonely and unknowingly suffering an addiction of his own. When Jimmy steals from Mark, he steals more than trinkets: “You took my trust. Not just in you, but in people. You stole my judgment, which I was naïve enough to think was pretty good. Now I doubt myself so much that it’s hard for me to let anyone else in.”
While their one-night stand didn’t instantly change Jimmy, it sets in motion his going into a recovery program, where he meets Miriam, his sponsor:
“Love yourself, Jimmy. With all your heart. That’s the only way you’ll ever find real happiness. We all make mistakes. But I always remember what my sponsor told me—mistakes are the soil we grow from. Every mistake, every bad thing we did shouldn’t be a regret, because everything we do is simply one more step on our journey. Without the mistakes, we’d never grow.”
What follows isn’t a sweet HEA – and I think if you read this book solely as a romance you’ll miss out on something very extraordinary – but rather a difficult process of transformation and acceptance, and real forgiveness. I loved “The Perils of Intimacy” and yeah, I sobbed at points in this story for Jimmy and for Miriam, and for anyone going through a struggle with addiction of any kind. I highly recommend this book.
… no one knows better than I do that the key to unlock our chains is not in someone else’s hands, but in our own. Always.