Author: Amelia C. Gormley
Cover Artist: Kerry Chin
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Quiet, down-to-earth Detroit handyman Derrick Chance has had enough loss for a lifetime and he has no intention of ever risking his heart again. Living alone in the old house his grandparents left him, with only his dog and a few close friends for companionship, he has written off the possibility of romance or even sex. He refuses to consider himself lonely, or wonder what he might be missing. His life is organized, predictable, and, best of all, risk-free.
Until the day he installs shelves for accountant Gavin Hayes. With his contradictory combination of confidence and self-doubt, Gavin draws Derrick in with an intensity he's never known. As undeniable as gravity, Derrick finds himself falling for Gavin in defiance of all his usual slow and methodical ways. But Gavin carries wounds of his own. Fresh from an emotionally abusive relationship that ended with a dangerous betrayal, his future is far from certain. Can Derrick choose passion over safety, and let himself believe that Gavin is worth the risk?
I first encountered this author when she submitted a hot little ficlet for a prompt picture, and after reading that, I was delighted to find out there’d be more. A lot more. Inertia is the first of three stories with Gavin and Derrick, and I’m looking forward to the next one already.
Derrick’s a loner, huddling in on himself to prevent any more hurt coming his way: at a young age he’s already had more heartbreak and loss than many people coming up on retirement. It’s easier not to take risks or get involved, a dog and some good friends ought to be enough. But Gavin does a come-closer-maybe that Derrick finds intriguing, and in spite of himself, he gradually does get involved.
Gavin comes with plenty of baggage, which unfolds slowly. Maybe he’s not really relationship material for Derrick, maybe he’s a bad idea even for a weekend’s amusement. Or maybe, he’s worth it.
Gavin has issues guaranteed to poke Derrick’s “no way” button, but his combination of flirting, honesty, and a bit of vulnerability make him extremely alluring, and Derrick comes closer in spite of his best intentions. A scene where Derrick goes out on what he tells himself will be an aimless drive “just to clear his mind” swings him like a pendulum between “not in this lifetime” and “right now.” Very nicely done, and just lovely when he finally arrives at Gavin’s door.
This story does have a number of serious issues to address, and takes none of them lightly, but it never devolves into an angst-fest. Instead, we have two grown men making themselves a tiny bit vulnerable with each revelation, and each understands that the other could bolt at a moment’s notice. Derrick’s the man most likely to disappear from inability to deal, and tells himself that he daren’t come to care for someone who could put him through the wringer and then be gone.
An atrocious ex with no face time hangs like smog over the couple, and several issues relating to him get explored, though not resolved. It smells like sequel bait, which is fine with me; I want to know how they play out. For the moment it’s enough to see Derrick and Gavin come together in spite of the obstacles.
A few things bothered me: I wasn’t entirely convinced that Derrick could sleepwalk through his twenties quite as completely as he was portrayed, and I was also concerned about Gavin’s stability, since he hadn’t been ex’ed from his ex all that long. A friend from the past popped in from Central Casting long enough to make some cogent points and then disappeared; she didn’t have much to say that couldn’t have been handled by another friend with a more ongoing role in the story, but perhaps I’m being too picky here.
This is Amelia Gormley’s first book, and in spite of a couple niggles, I think it’s a strong and entertaining piece (I accidentally took a long lunch at work because I was engrossed). The writing is very fluid and the sex scenes very hot, and when the heck is Book Two out? 4.25 marbles