Matt Bowers’s life ended at sixteen, when a vicious betrayal by someone who he should have been able to trust left him a shell of himself, fighting OCD and PTSD, living in constant fear and always running. When he buys a remote tract of land, he thinks he’s found the perfect place to hide from the world and attempt to establish some peace. For ten years he believes he’s found a measure of comfort, until the day a stranger begins to run on Matt’s road.
He returns every day, an unwelcome intrusion into Matt’s carefully structured life. Matt appeals to the local sheriff, who cannot help him since the jogger is doing nothing wrong. Gradually, after tentatively breaking the ice, Matt begins to accept the man’s presence—
But when the runner doesn’t show up one day, it throws Matt’s world into chaos and he must make the hardest decision of his life.
I freaking loved Charlie and Matt. They were amazing together and worked to fix the parts of each other that were broken and damaged. Mr. Williams brings another story with characters so real you want to go visit them; and emotions so clear you can feel them with the characters. Charlie and Matt are exactly what the other needed. Their journey was amazing to watch unfold.
Charlie was completely darling. He was patient and kind. He was so good to Matt and wanted Matt to be happy. I loved seeing Charlie pull Matt out of his shell. Slowly and with careful use of stubbornness, Charlie became a part of Matt’s life and made himself indispensable. He had his own past hurts and insecurities. His feelings for Matt and how Matt returned those feelings helped Charlie. By the end of the story he was so happy and so in love.
Matt. Sweet but completely broken Matt. He hurt my heart right from the first page. His isolated life he created for himself was peaceful but so lonely. I hated seeing his panic and anxiety from new and stressful situations. His OCD and PTSD broke my heart to watch as he dealt with life in a completely different way than most people because of his past. He grew so much throughout the story, and I’m not even talking about just leaving his house. He learned about himself and those around him. His transformation of outlook was amazing. To go from running to staying took so much work for him and to see him overcome those obstacles was beautiful. By the end of the story you could tell he wasn’t going to hide himself away any longer.
Charlie and Matt were so lovely together. They built slowly to a relationship and being together. They both had so many things to work on it was nice seeing them take that time to be ready individually and together. Despite Matt’s past, the story is actually quite gentle. I adored how there weren’t many external issues to work on because it would have added an unnecessary layer of drama and angst. They both worked hard to be together. Their happily ever after was wonderful. They are so in love and are clearly going to be together as long as they live. There’s such a great final scene it really gave me the happy and content complete feeling as I finished reading. I loved getting that feeling.
Four and a half
I’m so excited for Matt to join us today. He stops by to talk about his most prized possession. The actual item may not be elaborate, but the story behind the item is wonderful. Sometimes possessions are more about the history than the item themselves. Read and enjoy!
Everything in my collection is precious to me. It connects me to my past, back during a time when things weren’t so… bad. They’re my world and, as such, need to be kept in good working order, and in their proper spot. But…
There’s one thing I own that has more value to me than I ever thought possible. A very tattered copy of Jean Craighead George’s ‘My Side of the Mountain’. I can’t even describe to you what this book meant to me as a teenager. When I was twelve, I got a copy from our local librarian. She said books had the power to transport me to worlds I couldn’t even begin to imagine. I scoffed and tossed it into a corner of my room. Then, one day, there was a storm. A pretty bad one, too. A group of us had made plans to do something, though I don’t recall what it was. Mom said no way was I going out in this weather, then went on to mention my father being right about me not having enough sense to come in out of the rain. I got angry and sulked in my room. After a while, the typical ‘I’m bored’ came out, even though I had games I could have played, including a new one I had been dying to get my hands on. It was easier to play the martyr at this point and whine.
Of course, Mom didn’t fall for it. She said if I was bored, I could help her out by making things for the local food bank. I scoffed in that ‘I know everything’ way and slunk back to my room. It wasn’t long before I really was bored. So bored, in fact, that even reading that stupid book was better than doing nothing at all.
So I picked it up and started to read. And from the beginning, it gripped my imagination. It fired it up like nothing I’d ever known. Video games were okay and all, but a book? Oh, my God. I became Sam Gribley, the hero of the story. Struggling to survive on the land, my peregrine falcon, Frightful, catching my food. The Baron, the little weasel I accidentally trapped, my companion who made me laugh.
But, there was a point that the story changed for me. When a young man showed up on Sam’s property. His name was Matt Spell, and he wanted to write about Sam. Now the story never showed anything beyond their time together, but in my mind, the two of them became lovers. Sam and…me. We slept together at night, built something remarkable during the day, and learned to live and love on the land. I know that’s not how the story was supposed to end, but in my mind, it did. Sam and Matt got together, and lived happily ever after.
This was a heady thing for a kid who was just beginning to realize he was gay. That someone could possibly find a forever kind of love? I wanted that. I wanted my own Sam. Someone who would love me for who I was. And I became enamored with that book. I read it until the pages had to be held together with rubber bands. I should have thrown it out, bought a new copy, but this book? It did exactly what the librarian promised. It fired my imagination, drove me to find other venues. Undersea, deep space, all of them were mine for the plundering. They became my true friends. And if I happened to give them a twist, where the hero ended up with another hero, and love grew between them?
Hey, I wasn’t above trying to inject a little love where I could put it.
After the incident, I withdrew. My Side of the Mountain became almost like an appendage for me. It showed me what I needed to do if I was going to survive—mentally and emotionally—and the journey that I started in a book started for real.
Parker Williams believes that true love exists, but it always comes with a price. No happily ever after can ever be had without work, sweat, and tears that come with melding lives together.