From bestselling author Mia Kerick comes a New Adult novel of Gay Romantic Suspense that will keep you up reading all night!
Matthew North waited ten years to heal from the devastating wounds inflicted by the man who abducted and abused him as a child. Living reclusively on a tropical island—with no company but his four cats—he merely avoids the lingering pain.
Wearing twisted ropes of mutilated skin on his back, Matt struggles with a profound hindrance—the scars that deaden his soul. However, on the night he meets lively Vedie Wilson, a local restaurant busboy who expresses his gender by wearing lipgloss and eyeliner along with his three-day beard, things change.
Gradually, Vedie and Matthew unite in friendship. Through a series of awkward encounters, the pair learns each other’s secrets. Vedie learns that an angelic face can front for a scarred soul. Matthew learns that the line between one’s masculine and feminine sides is blurred. Can they embrace the painful stories behind each other’s scars if they’re to find everlasting love? Or will surrendered love come to be yet another blemish on their souls?
This story was wonderful. It was so full of emotion and made me love Vedie and Matt right from the first page. Ms. Kerick handles some heavy topics in the story and does so respectfully and with attention to detail. If the topics in the book are things that are painful to read or a trigger for you, I suggest you skip this book. While it’s not graphic by any stretch, Ms. Kerick doesn’t pull any punches when talking about the abuse, rape, and kidnapping in the characters’ pasts. That kind of frank honesty is refreshing to see in a romance book.
Vedie is a beautiful soul. He carries most of his hurts inside though he does have his own physical scars. The way he fluctuates between masculine, feminine and somewhere in between from day to day, or sometimes hour to hour, was wonderful to watch. My heart hurt for Vedie when he didn’t feel safe enough to be himself and forced his softer side away. I adored how he figured out what Matt needed quickly and was always willing to be his anchor and safe harbor when Matt drifted. Vedie was such a lively person and truly wanted people to be happy. You couldn’t help but love him right from the start.
Matt was someone so broken at the beginning of the story you truly wondered what a happy ending for him would look like. However Matt surprised me in many ways throughout the story. I wanted to smack him a few times for how he hurt Vedie. However you couldn’t fault him too much since he was genuinely trying to protect himself the best he could those times. I adored the way he grew and healed in the story. I was so proud of Matt with each step he took towards Vedie. By the end of the book, you could tell Matt had found his new normal.
These two were wonderful together right from the beginning. Granted they took a while to get going despite jumping into the sack pretty quickly. But oh my gosh you are cheering for them every single step of the way because you can tell they’re exactly what the other needs at just the right time. Their emotions are beautiful and so real. The way they love each other makes me so freaking happy. Their happy ending just bursts with joy. I want to see more of these two. I want to see them a few years from now to see how they’re doing, how they’re still coping and how they’re still deeply in love. You know they’re going to make it long term, but I would gladly read a sequel.
Four and a half
Seeing this kid cry slices easily through my thick skin and I don’t like it one bit. There’s a heart somewhere under all of the armor I wear, and I like to keep it under wraps. But what’s most fucked-up about this situation is that less than two hours ago we were complete strangers not exactly enjoying a friendly interaction.
When he came to my table, he’d asked, “Yo, what you drinkin’, man?” I guess I must have looked at him cross-eyed because I didn’t recognize him as a regular worker at The Only Tiki Hut on Placida Island. And I should know; I’ve eaten dinner here several nights a week for the past decade. He got right on my case. “What’s your friggin’ problem? I asked you real nice, seein’ as it’s my job and shit!”
It was as if he’d read my mind when he sized up my expression, which made me shiver because nobody knows what I’m thinking, and I like it that way. “Just water,” I’d told him and then I stared out over the beach, craning my neck like I was watching for somebody even though there’s never been anybody for me to watch for.
He hadn’t liked being ignored, so he’d started to play the smart-ass, a part that he’s very good at. “Sorry, big dawg, the lady’s a no-show. You gonna have to fill your bed with somebody new tonight, looks like.” He actually waggled his eyebrows.
“Guess today’s not my lucky day, because I’m planning to sleep alone,” I told him and meant it.
“It can be your lucky day if you play your cards right, my man.” He let go of the tray with one hand, dropped his palm onto my shoulder, and squeezed. “You ain’t gotta be lonely tonight if you don’t—what the fuck, man!”
I’d already jumped to my feet and practically stomped on the guy. “Hands off, asshole.”
“I get it, big dawg, so chill.” The kid pulled back his hand and released a long sigh, like he knew he’d broken one of his own rules by grabbing me. “I’ll get my dumbass hand offa your badass shoulder, if you sit your ass back down on that chair.” And after another sigh, he said, “Not gonna push the issue, man. Just offerin’ you some company on a long, hot, lonely night.”
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—one in law school, another in dance school, a third in school at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. (Mia is a major fan of the learning process!) She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-three years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero. There is, at minimum, one of these in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to CoolDudes Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, and Evernight Publishing for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.
A social liberal, Mia cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.
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