“We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout…”
That’s what happened to Rhys and Matty–married after knowing each other just a couple of months. Now almost a year into their marriage, Rhys takes his band on the road–and Matty starts to come apart at the seams. Can they hang onto a happy-ever-after when Matty can’t believe anyone would really stay with him?
Y’all, I loved this. Roan Parrish always has smokin’ sex scenes and she did not disappoint on that front, hoo boy. But it was also really emotional and angsty and deep–Matty has a seriously awful backstory full of abandonment, and his struggles over whether or not he should be truthful about everything with sunny Rhys felt very real. And man, some of his nightmares creeped the shit out of me, and I am not that easily crept.
And I loved that it wasn’t an easily fixed “magical healing cock” situation. Rhys’s love is necessary for Matt, but it isn’t sufficient all by itself. Matt gets therapy, and gets help from friends both old and new. And his job is shown as a part of his healing–it’s important to him that he has a chance to help kids in situations as rough as his used to be. The happy resolution feels well-earned and real.
Content: Abandonment, very brief mention of childhood sexual abuse (not either of the main characters), spiraling mental health including intense insomnia and forgetting to eat.
Notes: comes after Riven in the series but you don’t need to read Riven first.
I feel a bit dumb because I was lucky enough to get this delicious book from NetGalley well before release date, gobbled it down and was champing at the bit to review it but made myself wait for release date because of NetGalley rules. And then it turned out that the time around release date was BANANAS for me, with work deadlines and a family health scare which luckily eventually turned out fine and the start of moving house and so on, and here we are, yoinks later. Ah well.
Anyway! SO GOOD. Extremely hot and sexy, and both main characters felt so real and so lovable. One of my favorite things about it was that although there was plenty of angst there were no…villains, really? The other members of Riven made Theo feel left out, yes, but they weren’t terrible people–they knew each other earlier and had gotten used to just hanging out with each other, they were put off by how media focused on just Theo, and they misinterpreted a lot of Theo’s awkwardness as not really wanting to hang out with them. (Plus they were unaware of Theo’s childhood that left him particularly susceptible to abandonment issues.) I like the acknowledgement that it’s possible for basically well-meaning people to make each other miserable.
I like too that Theo has to come to what seems like one of his first huge adult decisions on his own, regardless of what Caleb thinks. And I love that that huge important decision is just that…you don’t HAVE to do what’s expected of you. Even if it’s what you used to think you wanted. Even if it’s something that most people would think was the most awesome thing ever.
I love that this is about two damaged, terribly hurt people slowly learning that they can choose actions that make them happier, including choosing each other. For a book that has music woven so wonderfully all through it, for a book that has some GREAT GODAMIGHTY HOT sex scenes, there’s something sweetly…quiet, somehow, about the way these men come to love one another. Beautiful.