Love knows no limits…but fear could keep them from seeing it.
Gabe lives a double life. As Gabriel Henson, he works multiple jobs to support his remorseless, alcoholic mother. As Tony Ryder, he does internet porn for extra cash and regular safe sex without complications. Yet when he encounters a scared young man freaking out in a night club, he’s compelled to reach out. Ever since then, the memory of that young man has haunted him.
Tristan Lavelle lives his life thirty minutes at a time. After a traumatic brain injury three years ago, he gets through his day recording his life in spiral notebooks and sticky note reminders. A month after Tristan’s embarrassingly public meltdown, another chance meeting with Gabe sparks a warm, emotionally fulfilling email relationship. Both men crave more, but fear of the next step stands between them.
Until Tristan gets the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial that could improve his memory—if the side effects don’t kill him. But for Tristan, the possibility of a real life with Gabe is worth any risk…
Warning: Contains two damaged but lovable heroes, secret-keeping friends with good intentions, and an abundance of inappropriate food innuendo.
Source: ARC from Samhain Publishing via NetGalley
I really enjoyed this book. It has a great mix of serious and humour, with a couple of really likeable heroes and a set of unusual circumstances that keep things interesting throughout. I haven’t read the first book in the series, or anything else by this author, but I picked it up just fine. Except it might have been nice to have seen Tristan and Gabe’s first meet in this book as well.
Actually, the beginning was a bit confusing – there’s a bit of a time jump between events in the first few chapters, but this isn’t explained and I only picked up on it because of how long another character had been out of porn, and how long it had been since Gabe first met Tristan. However, it was quite minor and once the story settled down I forgot about it.
Mostly because of Tristan. What a character he is, and not just because of his awful short-term memory issue. A head injury thanks to a gay bashing incident means he struggles to retain information for longer than thirty minutes at a time. Repetition does give a sense of familiarity, such as knowing he sees his best friend Noel twice a week and that Noel has a boyfriend, but he can’t remember said boyfriend’s name or what they did on their outings. So he uses notes, lots and lots of notes, to keep track of the world around him.
However, as big a part of Tristan as that is, it’s not the whole story. He’s also a vivacious young man with a flirty personality and an amazing artistic talent, who also has parental issues and is no stranger to loss and heartbreak. Ever since his attack he’s suffered from anxiety and depression – understandably – but I loved seeing him recover throughout this book, and not just because of the drugs trial. Being with Gabe makes him happy and brings out all the fun sides of his character that had almost become forgotten. He’s just an awesome guy and I loved reading about him.
I liked Gabe too. Yes, he’s a porn star, but I liked the fact that while he partly did it for the money, he also did it because it meant safe sex on a regular basis. True, I think he should have tackled the whole issue with Tristan a lot sooner than he did, and he has some pretty hazy lines as to how he justifies not doing so earlier. However, on the whole, I liked that it wasn’t this terrible shameful secret that he needed to keep locked away, or that he wasn’t being exploited because he was desperate. It was a thing he did, it involved sex and that was that. (I also loved Tristan’s response – it fit him perfectly. I don’t think many people could approach such a thing in such a way, but I believed it of him.)
Then there are Gabe’s dads. Those men are wonderful and supportive and amazing – to Gabe, anyway. Things with Gabe’s mother are definitely more complicated, mixed up as it is with bitterness, guilt, alcoholism and being taken advantage of. Add in Tristan’s friends – Shane and Noel – and there’s a big enough cast to add variety and colour to both main characters as well as keeping everything interesting. I have to say Noel didn’t entirely endear himself to me in this book, despite how amazing he’d clearly been to Tristan in the past, but I did like Shane so I might have to take a closer look at their story sometime.
If you’re looking for an M/M read with plenty of heat, some emotional issues and an unusual disability, all nicely balanced with humour and really supportive friendships, then you will probably enjoy this. I certainly did and I’ll be looking out for more from this author.
The World As He Sees It is out October 20th!
Visit A.M. Arthur for more details.