On a cold February evening, Robert Chambers gives a panhandler a significant amount of cash. That gift allows Matt Cosgrove to turn his life around. When the men meet again, Matt, now employed at a local home improvement center, offers to build a shelving unit for Robert as a thank you. They become friends, and soon the chemistry between them cannot be denied. Robert, once betrayed by a faithless lover, believes he can finally build a relationship based on mutual trust and honesty. Then Robert discovers the dark secret that left Matt begging on a street corner. Their relationship appears doomed unless the walls of the prison of silence Matt has erected around his past can be breached.
Not a bad short story, but one that aimed for more than it could be. The big secret hinted at in the blurb and title felt a bit like a letdown, and the lack of honest communication between two lovers did as well.
Robert meets Matt on a street corner one cold night, where Matt is pan-handling. Feeling sorry for the man, Robert hands him a rather large chunk of cash, and promptly forgets about him.
Months later, Robert runs into him again at a home improvement store, and recognizing his benefactor, Matt offers to build the shelves with which Robert is apparently struggling.
They quickly turn into lovers, and there are some spicy sexy times in this short novella, but they're derailed because Matt is keeping a secret.
When the truth comes out, thanks to one of Robert's friends, who's a total douche (who needs enemies with friends like that one), he breaks things off without giving Matt even a chance to explain. Sure, I understood Robert's reasoning, but please - you're supposed to love this man, and you won't even listen to him?
While the story is told entirely from Robert'st first person POV, we get sufficient information into Matt's backstory from an unexpected source, and the author gave the characters sufficient depth to make this work.
What really stood out for me is how much more there is to Matt than what we initially see, and I'm not ashamed to admit that his story pulled on my heartstrings. It made me want him to get his happy ending, and I may have quietly cheered at the end.
The writing is crisp and straightforward, and the story flows well. Some of the dialogue feels a little stiff, especially when it comes to Robert and his friends.
Overall, three stars. Not bad, Mr. Adams. Not bad at all.
** I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **
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