We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Ryan Sanders and Adam Langley were victims of a violent gay-bashing at the end of their senior year in high school when bullies caught the two as they shared a private kiss in a darkened alley behind the local pizza hangout. But more than just their bones were broken that night. The two have never spoken to each other since then, both suffering from misunderstandings surrounding the events of that night.
Now several years later, Ryan and his roommate and best friend, Ellie, are chosen to represent the Paige Community Center in a door to door campaign to local businesses to raise financial support for the after school programs funded at the Community Center. The place is dear to Ryan’s heart, having found a safe place to live as he likes after the desertion of his former best friend and potential lover, Adam. When they get to Langley-Quartermaine Financial, Ryan is relieved that they won’t be seeing Mr. Langley, Adam’s father. A known homophobe would not be the best person for Ryan, who is out of the closet, to meet with. Ryan and Ellie have an appointment with Joe Quartrmaine, but have a rude awakening when Adam Langley, intern at his father’s company, shows up instead.
Adam had a plan and Ryan’s arrival at the office totally disrupts it. He was going to finish his internship and his last year of college then seek out Ryan and beg his forgiveness for not seeing him after their attack. Once Ryan forgives him, he plans to inform his father that he is gay and even though he believes his father will turn against him, at least he’ll be done with school and have Ryan in his life again.
Though Ryan is cool to him at the first meeting, Adam manages to convince Mr. Quartermaine that the company should support the play the center is going to put on and even volunteers to spend some of the community service portion of his internship working on the play. He figures that will be his entry to Ryan’s life again. But when the two young men finally talk, they not only forgive each other, they also discover that neither of them knew the full extent of what had really happened to them that night.Adam had been in a coma for several days from taking a hit from a brick to the head, and when he regained consciousness, he had no recollection of what had happened. Apparently his father used those circumstances to manipulate the facts and make sure that Ryan thought that Adam just didn’t want to see him and vice versa.
Over the course of working on the play together, the two become close again and then eventually lovers. They want to make a commitment to stay together but Adam is deathly afraid of his father’s reaction and nearly jeopardizes the relationship for good when Ryan refuses to go along with Adam’s plan to hide.
This was a great romance, very well-paced with strong characters, both of whom were completely different and yet very loveable. Narrator Michael Pauley did an excellent job in distinguishing the voices of not only the MCs but also the principal secondary characters. I actually forgot that I was listening to only one narrator and that rarely happens for me. In addition, his delivery was so full of emotion that I felt like I was watching the story unfold, rather than just listening to it. Kudos to Mr. Pauley for an excellent performance. I’m raising my rating an extra .5 hearts just for that.