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.
This story had me, hook, line, and sinker, from the get-go. It is angsty, and the timeline was a bit jumbled for me before I got the hang of it.
Ash was a beautifully sad character, and I love it when there is a side-character that really steps up and does a human effort to save someone who is drowning. That’s what being a real human being is about, for me, so full kudos to Ellie for being the friend that she is. We could all take lessons from her.
Pete, who is a paramedic, is fantastically flawed but beautiful and steady. His Italian mother Maggie had me howling with laughter. He pissed me off, real bad, though.
Yes, I loved this story, but it has flaws.
I’m not a great fan of first person narration, and especially not when it switches back and forth between the main characters. Which it does in this story, and quite a lot. I find it jarring and it throws me out of the story. Hell, sometimes it even threw me out of the world of this story.
[spoiler starts here - highlight the white space below to see it]
There were too many coincidences in the misery. How can the man that probably was from Ash’s past in Texas also be the one in Pete’s present in two, (no wait! Three!) separate instances of violence, domestic and/or sexual in Chicago? It is simply too much.
[end of spoiler]
I was fine with it all, anyway, somehow, right up until the last chapter and epilogue, where everything suddenly became rushed, and then cut off, almost in mid-sentence.
Yes, there is a book #2, and yes, I have it and I’m going to read it tonight. But it irks me, because a story isn’t done until it is done. It’s not a question of arriving at X number of words achieved, now stop writing. This book could have done with another chapter, or, it could have not brought up the part about the girl in the drawings at the end.
It felt like it was mostly done to pull me in, to make me get the next book. And, yeah, it worked. But it leaves a taste in my mouth that I’m not sure I like. Which is sad, because this is a beautiful book.
I was given an ARC of this book for free from the publisher, Dreamspinner Press.
A positive review was neither expected nor promised in return.
Thank you for reading, hope you liked this review.
Buylinks are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with this book, author or booksellers listed.