Rating: 5 stars out of 5
When I began to read this story in the morning, little did I know I would not be able to put it down until the last page—and that was somewhere past midnight. This story was so interesting, so riveting, and so beautifully written that I kept reading throughout the day to the exclusion of everything else in my life.
Character-driven, this emotional tale takes us from the time Jake learns his older brother Caleb has died in a traffic accident through the next year as Jake discovers that he’s not the only one with a Caleb-sized hole in his life. Through Caleb’s death, he learns more about his brother as he meets both his partner and his friends who lead Jake on a journey that reveals details of the last seven years of Caleb’s life. Some details are sweet, and some are shocking, but they help to bring him closure. They also give him the willingness to accept who he is and move forward with a new strength to his convictions. He falters and stumbles along the way but ultimately with support of his new friends, he discovers the love of his life, a man who can be both friend and companion, supporting him, loving him, and giving him hope for a bright future together—that man is Liam, Caleb’s former lover.
Without giving away spoilers, it’s tough to describe the full scope of what takes place, but I must say one of the things that stood out clearly to me was the fact that the story wasn’t rushed. Details weren’t glossed over. Situations were realistic. And the pace was unhurried. This story literally unfolded, page by page, and each page was filled with dialogue. To me, an author who “shows” the action rather than “tells” the action can engage the reader and pull them into the story more easily. Allowing the characters to come to life with words and thoughts through dialogue, text messages, and email conveys what’s actually happening at the time and adds to the overall enjoyment.
Ms. Wells also covers sensitive topics throughout the story. Liam is black and gay and Caleb and Jake come from a rural, predominately white Southern town. Several gay couples Jake meets while visiting Caleb’s friends in Atlanta have an open relationship. He learns intimate details of Caleb’s relationship with Liam that shock him. And he learns the pros and cons of PrEP and bareback sex for men in a committed relationship. The author brings a sensitive approach to these topics but is clear and concise in explaining a variety of views.
I believe this story is the best KC Wells has written, to date. I have my favorites as I’ve read almost all of her work, but this touched my heart in a special way. I don’t recall being so captivated by a story in a long time. It’s the love that shines through here—love for a brother, a lover, a parent, a family, a friend, and more. I suppose I could go on and on, and I could go into detail about Jake’s discovery of love and Liam’s discovery of the kind of love that lasts a lifetime, but it’s best if I leave the details for the next reader. And I hope there are many. This is a story that deserves to be shared. And it’s most definitely going on my Best of 2018 list. I very highly recommend it to all lovers of MM romance.
The cover by Meredith Russell perfectly depicts both MCs, exactly as described in the story.
Sales Links: Amazon
Kindle Edition, 403 pages
Published August 3rd 2018