Afflicted is a re-read for me, and I think I enjoyed it even more the second time around.
Author: Brandon Shire
Publisher: TPG Books
Cover Artist: unknown
Rating: 5.0 of 5 Stars
Book 1: A high priced male escort and a blind gay man meet by chance. What ensues is a hot, steamy romance by two men looking for something more than a one night stand. But can they reach beyond their own insecurities to grasp what they really desire?
Hunter Stephens is gay, tall, dark haired, and he’s hot. Very hot. But he doesn’t rely on the visual cues when appraising a man because he’s also blind. He listens to the timbre of their voice, trembles at the touch of their skin, and luxuriates in the deep richness of the aroma of man. He’s hard of the hand because he’s a black belt and takes no shit, but soft of the heart because he’s lonely and has been for a while.
Until he meets Dillon.
Dillon Chambers is straight man candy. He’s a high priced male escort that works with an exclusive agency who handles only the wealthiest of clients. But it wasn’t always like that for him. At sixteen he was thrown out of the house for being gay and struggled to survive, turning tricks on the street and finding food and a place to sleep wherever he could. He met two people that changed his life, but he has never met anyone who could change his heart.
Until he bumped into Hunter.
And now they are both Afflicted.
Hunter Stephens, a blind audiobook producer, and male escort Dillon Chambers meet on an Atlanta street one day, and what began as a quick trick turns into a sensual, erotic journey towards a romantic relationship. Both men have baggage, however, that proves difficult to overcome as they struggle to get closer and build something solid with one another.
This story is, in a word, intoxicating. A sensual feast from the first page, I was lured in by Brandon Shire’s stirring descriptions as he brings the world and all of its smells, sounds, textures, and flavors to life through Hunter’s perspective. Without the visual cues that sighted fictional characters have, the stimuli to the alternate senses and Hunter’s responses to them jump from the page in vivid detail. From the very first sentence, I felt strongly connected to Hunter’s realm, the scope and range of what he perceives vibrantly embellished with the essence of what he experiences through smell, touch, sound, and taste. “Seeing” the world as he does is savoring every little nuance and undertone of the occurrences in his life. Though his character raises awareness of some of the issues and struggles that blind people encounter, he is a strong, capable, and independent individual who sends a clear message that despite not being able to see, there is little to distinguish him from a sighted person.
Both Hunter and Dillon are richly drawn with well-developed backstories and emotional depth. I was captivated by them and by their strengths, vulnerabilities, and their intense desire for one another. Their chemistry and heat are palpable during incredibly erotic encounters that sizzle on the page. Having their dual points of view, their histories, and their respective reactions to each other was beautifully effective in establishing empathy and adding multiple layers to the story. Dillon has a particularly heartbreaking past that creates believable conflict in his present. Secondary characters are also vividly drawn and have a clear impact on the storyline with personalities that are lively, varied, and emotionally compelling.
Mr. Shire’s prose is honest, eloquent, and gritty as he delivers a touching m/m romance in Afflicted. I highly recommend it for anyone who loves fascinating and unique characters, an emotional plot, and raw male passion.
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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