Author: Sloane Johnson
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: unknown
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Two words stripped Austin Pritchard of the privileged life he’s used to. The moment he uttered the words, “I’m gay,” he realized there is no such thing as unconditional love. Now, he’s gone from traveling the world with his family to living on the streets trying to figure out how he’s going to stay in school.
A chance opportunity changes everything. Austin impresses the foreman and lands a job, but even more, he catches the eye of David Becker, who is determined to teach him that true love doesn’t come with strings.
The only thing David had as a child was love. His family struggled to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. That has driven him to stay focused on his goals; become a tenured professor at a university and save enough money to build a home of his own. It’s not until he sees an insecure college student working on his new house that he realizes that he hasn’t planned on someone to share his life with. He’s about to learn that everything he’s already accomplished is nothing compared to the task of making Austin see that he is worthy of love.
This is my first time reading anything by Sloan Johnson and will certainly not be my last. This book looks at a sad but common event where a young man has his whole life taken from him by a parent who can’t accept him for who he really is.
Austin is a young man who has lived a life filled with the very best money can buy and as far as material goods go has wanted for nothing. It has been a shallow existence without love and nurturing with the only thing important being how his father’s friends and colleagues view the Pritchard exterior. Behind closed doors he has no voice and is expected to conform to the ridiculous ambitions of a bigoted old man. When he tells his parents he is gay, finally being truthful with himself and them, he is given a bus ticket and told not to come back. As the school term ends and his friends are collected by their parents for the holidays Austin packs up his back pack and starts this new phase of his life as a homeless man.
His first night living on the streets he meets Casey and Bree, a couple with their own story to tell, and they take him under their wing with advice on how to survive. Not only is Austin scared, mainly alone and completely out of his comfort zone he feels tossed aside by the people that he thought loved him and those scars will run deep and change him for a long time to come.
Casey and Austin are given the opportunity of a couple of days work at a construction site and on the first morning there they meet the owner of the house being built. David comes off as a bit of an impatient and arrogant ass but once again Austin’s life is about to change.
David grew up in abstract poverty often missing meals due to lack of money. He has worked hard to get where he is today and is determined never to revisit his past. He is a college professor and the house he is having built is a bit of a status symbol for him. Never one to shy away from hard work he plans to spend his summer getting stuck in with the construction crew, mainly to keep an eye on them, and he is immediately struck by the very young looking Austin with the soulful eyes full of hurt and worry.
The relationship between Austin and David is slow and often awkward. There is a 15 year age gap which we are often reminded of. Austin has had to grow up very quickly but he is still a 20 year old man just making his way in life and is deeply lacking in his ability to trust anyone. His emotions are all over the place and this is especially true when he thinks about a sexual relationship with David. He is both desperate and terrified and spends all his time waiting for David just to toss him aside as his parents did. The result is anguish and tantrums and a lot of running away but David is very patient with him and slowly trust begins to grow.
This is a story of healing and of learning to trust. It’s not an easy relationship but for whatever reason David is adamant Austin is the man for him and he will do whatever it takes to make Austin realise that he deserves to be loved. Austin has to do a lot of growing up and relearning of behaviour before he can feel truly settled but I think by the time we get to the epilogue it is apparent that the lost boy has grown into a compassionate young man who truly believes in himself.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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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