Synopsis: Don’t look back. Don’t you ever look back…
Shy tattoo artist Ash has a troubled past. Years of neglect, drug abuse, and life on the streets have taken their toll, and sometimes it seems the deep, unspoken bond with his lover is the only balm for wounds he doesn’t quite understand.
Chicago paramedic Pete is warmth, love, and strength—things Ash never knew he could have, and never even knew he wanted until Pete showed him. But fate is a cruel, cruel mistress, and when nightmares collide with the present, their tentatively built world comes crashing down.
Traumatic events in Pete’s work life distance him from home, and he doesn’t realize until it’s too late that Ash has slipped away. Betrayal, secrets, and lies unfold, and when a devastating coincidence takes hold, Pete must fight with all he has to save the love of his life. – via GoodReads
Review: I always feel out of depth when I write my reactions to books I’ve really loved. I don’t ever feel my words can quite do them justice. This one is no different. If there were a recipe for a book I’d love, this one is it: beautifully broken characters, angst, hurt/comfort, human fallibility, strong emotional undercurrents, an artist, tattoos, and psychological aspects – I am in heaven. Seriously, I was like a kid in a candy store with this book.
His eyes blazed at me, but it was the best kind of heat. He smiled, and for the first time in my life I believe that, for him, I could be more than I’d ever dreamed.
Even though those are the first words you see, they’re some of my favorites of the whole book. The entire prologue alone was quite beautiful. The love and emotion between these two was so strong at times it was almost palpable, but it never became saccharine.
Poor Pete, from the time he realized how he felt about Ash, all he wanted was to comfort him, take his pain away and make it better. I have such a weakness for men comforting each other. It’s why hurt/comfort is my favorite genre. Everything he did was for Ash, to the point he lost himself. I think he became so run down by it and the emotional demands of his job, that he lost sight of the very thing he was trying so hard to protect. Some are mad about that, and given his training I can see that. But in the same token, it’s honest and real. People are fallible. They don’t often see what’s right in front of them until it’s too late – especially when strong emotions are involved. I really can’t blame him for that any more than I could blame Ash for his downward spiral out of control. Watching anyone you love crash into a hell you can’t rescue them from is awful. I’ve done it, and it’s dark and ugly. I guess that’s why I felt his reactions seemed genuine for his state of mind at the time. It’s almost like he’s conditioned to see the worst in people, he can’t necessarily help it because that’s usually all he sees, everyday. No it wasn’t right, but again, I think it was real.
Even if it did take him too long to pull his head out of his ass. I think it needed to happen that way though for them both to see that they needed help.
Ash. Such beautifully broken soul, that boy. I loved everything about him and how much depth the author was able to give to him. He just made me want to cuddle him up in a warm blanket and hold him – just like Pete. But he never appeared weak or whiny; there was a perfect balance of strength and vulnerability. I adored him. He broke my heart over and over again. I wished that there had been more from his POV in the book, but I know that it wouldn’t have worked otherwise. Perhaps we’ll get more from him in the future. He was my favorite character.
The sex. I saw another review, I think it was Isaac’s, that said it was emotive without being overly graphic. And that’s exactly it. It was perfect for the tone of this book, anything more would have ruined it. There were moments as I was reading when the level of intimacy the author was able to create almost made me feel like I was intruding. It was beautifully written.
Huh. This is one of my longer reviews, clearly I had feelings.
So I’ll end with this:
Was it perfect? No, but I didn’t find anything unforgivable.
Would I read it again? In a heartbeat.
Would I recommend it? Absolutely.
You may or may not agree with me or what the characters do, but I think you’ll find it an honest and engaging read worth your time.
I received a free copy of this book from the author. A positive review was not promised in return.