Author: Raine O’Tierney
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 05/06/2015
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance
A Piece Us Back Together story
Beau Bell is a former Olympic hopeful, left paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident. He has every reason in the world to be pissed off and miserable, yet he’s training for the Paralympics Men’s 100m—S6 division. The chair? Just a part of who he is now. Beau’s attitude is golden. If only he could contend with this one little issue: errant erections and no way to relieve them!
Nikša Meríc is a lonely scientist and really bad poet living underneath the old building where he does his research. Every night he watches his neighbor through his basement window as he undresses in his wheelchair. Although there is no apparent reason for Nikša to be unhappy, he’s struggled with depression his whole life and has tried to kill himself on multiple occasions.
When Beau proposes that his “voyeur” come over and help him experiment with the erections he can’t actually feel, the relationship they build is a sexual one. But the relationship they need is one that will heal each other’s heart as well.
I picked this one up because the blurb sounded so promising. I mean come on paralympics, scientists, and wayward erections! But it was more than that. The blurb hinted that I would meet two characters who were struggling through life and those are the types of characters I love to meet, especially when those characters are well done. And for a novella, Niksa and Beau were well done.
This is the somewhat strange story of two crippled men. Beau is physically crippled after an accident paralyzed him from the waist down. On the surface he appears to be well adjusted and moving on with his life. He has found a way to keep swimming by training for the paralympics in their men’s swimming division. He still works very hard to be good at what he does. But as the story moves forward, the reader can see that while he is mostly in control, he is still struggling with some aspects of his paralysis, namely not being able to feel his penis so he cannot deal with his random erections. The author then pairs Beau with Niksa, his voyeuristic neighbor.
Niksa is emotionally crippled. He battles severe depression to the point of suicide. We meet him after his latest unsuccessful suicide attempt. While I liked Beau and was sympathetic to his plight, I fell in love with Niksa. Niksa was a great and dark character. He was stuck inside his own head and through this character, the author portrayed one case of how depression can rule and ruin someone’s life. What I liked the most about Niksa, was that I connected instantly to portions of his depression, because they are some of the same portions I battle and the author portrayed them almost exactly like my experiences. Niksa is lonely and feel alone even in a crowd. He struggles with the desire to be near enough to people to feel included in life, but not so near as to have to navigate social norms which he does not understand.
Niksa was just so well written that as he and Beau entered into a sexual relationship, I almost actually hated Beau for the potential damage he could do to Niksa with his hardened behavior and disregard for learning more about Niksa as a person. But then Beau softened and he and Niksa were so great together. Both men needed each other and in the end helped the other heal in some way. Beau learned to let out his emotions and connected with another human being outside of the pool and for something other than casual sex. This desire for love and his gift of love to Niksa is what allowed him to overcome his inability to ejaculate. And what I loved most about Beau’s growth was that he showed Niksa that he was worthy of love and life. Beau became Niksa’s reason to live and for me that made Beau perfect. Because I loved Niksa and only wanted to see him understand that his life was valuable just because he was Niksa. He didn’t need to be more than he was and Beau showed him that.
This story really got to me. It was at times annoying, at times dark, and at times emotional. I sat in bed for quite some time after I finished reading this book and just reflected on all the ways this one hit home for me. I struggled to find the words to express why I connected so deeply to this story, and I am sure my review did not do it justice. It was very well written and thought out. I could tell the author cared about her characters and that care extended to the reader. I will read this one again. And probably soon because I feel a second read will only make me love this book even more.
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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