This is a re-read for me in preparation for the rest of the series.
Author: Mickie B Ashling
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: unknown
Rating: 4.25 of 5 Stars
When Sloan Driscoll and Cole Fujiwara become reluctant roommates, neither man is willing to share too much. Sloan is instantly attracted to Cole but knows it’s a hopeless cause; Cole has a steady girlfriend. But one night they share a joint, and Cole opens a window neither anticipated. A relationship may be impossible-both men are living with heart-breaking secrets. While Sloan is smart, sassy, and a brilliant graphic artist, he’s also a pothead with severe body image problems. Cole, a former major league pitcher, has his own personal crisis: he’s going blind. Sloan and Cole are suffering on so many levels, they might not realize that the ultimate salvation could be within each other’s arms.
Sloan Driscoll and Cole Fujiwara are two of the most emotional characters I have read about recently. This book is a rollercoaster of feelings with both men having to bare their souls to deal with issues both real and perceived.
Sloan will never be the man his father wanted to be. He was expected to be his father’s clone and have an illustrious and successful career in sports. His younger brother managed it and it is all he hears about. He sees his body as letting him down, he is too tall, too thin, and too gangly and he can never gain the weight he thinks he needs to. All this internalised hatred of himself needs a release and that comes in the form of cutting. He is not adverse to using drugs to forget but the only time he calms is when he bleeds a little.
In a last ditch attempt to make Sloan a productive member of society his father sends him off to college and to move in with an old family friends son, Cole Fujiwara. The two boys haven’t seen each other since they were 8 years old and are kind of dropped into a situation that neither are too keen about.
Cole Fujiwara was following in his father’s famous footsteps on the baseball field until genetics intervened and he started losing his sight. He only has minimal vision left and is trying to adapt and ready himself for the day he wakes up in complete darkness. The last thing he wants is a flatmate but as he has all his life he gives way to his parents ‘request’.
There is tension from the beginning. Sloan may get the impression that Cole is a jerk from his hostile and confusing behaviour but he can’t help admire how beautiful he is. From the start the relationship they develop is unhealthy and it is not long before Sloan is cutting again.
Cole is dealing with going blind, a girl friend he is no longer in love with, over protective parents and now it seems his sexuality. There is a part of Cole that he buried a long time ago and he lives his life with seemingly the sole purpose of pleasing his parents and living up to his idea of the perfect Japanese man. His sense of duty may be admirable but it starts to drive him a little crazy and the tension between him and Sloan is dangerously high.
After a couple of rushed sexual experiences between them both men are hanging by a thread and neither of them is in a good place. To me the relationship wasn’t really the most important part of the story. It was everything else they had to deal with to even start a relationship that pulled at me, made me angry and started to give me a little hope.
Mickie Ashling has written a book packed with emotions and with no easy answers. I loved the writing and the way some very difficult but real problems were dealt with. I adored Sloan who just wanted to find love and happiness.
He wanted to find his place in life but had such a skewered view of himself. Cole was a much colder character but came through for Sloan in the end and was influential in helping with his problems. This is not a difficult read per se but neither does it skip over either of the problems as an easy option.
This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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