What happens when friendship catches fire?
Former Marine and lower-leg amputee Carey Everett keeps a grueling schedule of counseling fellow war veterans and their families. The injury he received in Afghanistan forces him to rely on a reserve of strength he didn’t even know he had. A much deserved vacation will let him reconnect with his best friend, who saved his life and has been there for him through devastating injury and painful recovery.
Part-time EMT and aspiring singer Jase DeSantis has been in love with Carey for years, but he’s come to accept that his straight friend will never be able to offer more. Jase fills his days with band rehearsals, ambulance shifts, and willing groupies, all while trying to cope with debilitating PTSD.
A week of sun, fun, and music in San Diego changes Jase and Carey’s lives forever when their relationship takes an unexpected turn. Jase has been longing for that change, but it leaves Carey reeling with confusion. As Jase fights to hold things together, Carey deals with doubts, fears, and his own preconceived notions about labels and the true nature of love.
Carey and Jase are friends from the military. Carey is an amputee and dealing with a new body, Jase has PTSD and is dealing with leading a normal life. They lean on each other physically and emotionally until, one day, those emotions begin to change from friend to a more sexual relationship.
Jase has always identified as bi-sexual, so he is not surprised by his attraction to Carey. Carey, is a staunch “straight” guy, who is confused by the change in his feelings and his attraction to his best friend.
In a nutshell, Carey has to come to grips with his possibly being other than “straight” and Jase needs to find room in his busy life for a real relationship.
This is a new author for me, and I think this is her first full length novel in this genre. As such she did an excellent job. Her writing is clear and captivating. I was definitely hooked by the story line and though she did a great job with her character development and realism as regards her subject matter.
I loved the “hurt/abuse” part of this story. I thought the PTSD and the amputation was handled realistically and compassionately. It plucked my heartstrings and felt authentic and seemed well-researched.
I loved the idea of the GFY/friends to lovers part of this story, but it didn’t pan out for me. Their relationship started out with a real sensuous bang and I thought that having them “sort of “ hook up but then go back to being friends was a nice twist on the familiar story-line. I thought, “Yeah, that feels authentic. Carey needs someone, anyone and the low-level-of-commitment- hand-job wouldn’t necessarily make him “gay” but would get him started on that track of thinking.” So when they went back to being friends, though it was frustrating and hard to read (in terms of Jase) it felt – real. But when they do finally embark on a fully physical relationship (which Carey was weirdly eager for and not anxious about) and then Carey suddenly leaves again, both physically and emotionally, I was very put off. If it had been a quick bout of recriminations and worries, that would have been fine, but months?… and a new potential relationship for both MCs? I didn’t like it. I really felt Carey treated Jase poorly and didn’t do much to earn back his trust. The end was just too quick and didn’t feel solid enough for my tastes. I appreciated that no relationship runs smoothly, but after all the build-up, the quick apology and epilogue just felt rushed.
I liked this enough to read another by this author and truly liked, but didn’t love this story.
World Building/Characterizations 4
3.4 of 4 hearts