Author: Amelia C. Gormley
Cover Artist: Kerry Chin
Length: 192 pages
Gavin Hayes is everything Derrick could ask for in a lover. Gorgeous. Passionate. Great in bed. Derrick finds it very easy to just let himself go, to let Gavin guide him and teach him all the things he missed during a decade of celibacy. In the course of a single weekend, Derrick’s routine is transformed, his mornings and evenings filled with sex. Sweet, seductive, wild, or raunchy, Gavin offers Derrick all the pleasure he’s denied himself for so long.
But learning how to be a lover in bed is one thing. Learning to be one out of bed is another. For Derrick, being alone has become habit. Sharing his confidences doesn’t come nearly as readily as sharing his bed. After so many losses, the last thing Derrick wants is to become dependent upon another person who might not always be there.
And Gavin always being there is far from certain. With an ex-lover lurking in the background, and the question of Gavin’s future health still outstanding, neither Gavin nor Derrick feel capable of asking for anything more than right now. But Gavin won’t be kept on the fringes of Derrick’s life. Can Derrick let someone in before the opportunity passes him by?
When I finished Book 1 of this trilogy (Inertia, reviewed here) I was ready to spring into Book 2 right away. Fortunately, the author didn’t make me wait too long. (I know, Amelia Gormley is not my bitch. She should write faster anyway.)
These books should really be read in order, because Book 2 picks up where Book 1 left off, and a few things will be confusing otherwise. Derrick is slowly coming to terms with Gavin’s still undetermined HIV status, and is coming to accept that his new lover’s health should not be the determining factor in staying together. Derrick’s been through a lot as a caretaker, and the uncertainty around Gavin is guaranteed to push his worst buttons. It’s not an easy journey, and I bled with him at every turn.
Gavin and Derrick are still a long way from being a solid couple—Derrick’s so used to keeping people out that allowing Gavin in is a herky-jerky process, full of small successes and larger setbacks. Neither has Derrick ever considered how being gay might attract reaction in the larger world, since he’s so new to accepting his orientation. There are people in his world who push back, something he’s ready to assign to isolated nutcases. Gavin has to pop his bubble about how this might affect both of them, and it’s a huge marker about their relationship.
Gavin has his own issues, and comes to rely on Derrick’s solidity in a way he couldn’t have a few months earlier. This is especially noticeable when Lukas, the awful ex who played terrible headgames and exposed Gavin to HIV, turns up. Unready to cope with him even over retrieving stray possessions, Gavin abdicates meeting with Mr. Bullshit to Derrick. This isn’t an easy encounter by any means, and has repercussions, but is ultimately strengthening for them.
The secondary characters who enriched the first book have strong roles to play here, and ground the couple in their larger world. Miss Ingrid in particular has a lesson to teach Derrick; it may take him another book to completely absorb it, but watching the gears turn in his head is fun.
Do I even have to mention that the sex is hot? There are elements of D/s here that serve to liberate both men from the ghosts of the past and to solidify them as a couple. It doesn’t all go one way, either—Derrick finds that being able to read, anticipate, and fulfill Gavin’s needs brings as much joy as obeying Gavin’s commands. (Aside: I am not much of a BDSM reader, but I enjoyed this interplay greatly. It’s “no implements”.) There’s a lot of sex in the story, but it all drives the plot and isn’t serving as a mask for “soggy middle”.
There are still unresolved issues at the end of this story, but matters are truly accelerating, and I gobbled up the teaser for Book 3 that the author so
On a side note, this is one of the prettiest ebooks it has been my pleasure to see: the chapter headers have snips of the cover artwork, which is beautiful and evocative of the story. 4.5 stars