Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Heidi Cullinan for stopping by today.
Title: Lonely Hearts (Love Lessons #3)
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance, New Adult
Even hot messes need a happily ever after.
With the quiet help of his wealthy family, Sebastian “Baz” Acker has successfully kept his painful past at bay. But as the end of college draws near, his friends—his buffer zone—are preparing to move on, while his own life is at a crippling standstill.With loneliness bearing down on him, Baz hooks up—then opens up—with Elijah Prince, the guy Baz took a bullet for last year. The aftershocks of their one-night stand leave giant cracks in Baz’s carefully constructed armor. For the first time, the prospect isn’t terrifying.
Accustomed to escaping his demons by withdrawing into his imagination, Elijah isn’t used to having a happy herd of friends. He’s even less comfortable as the object of a notorious playboy’s affections. Yet all signs seem to indicate this time happiness might be within his grasp. When Baz’s mother runs for a highly sought-after public office, the media hounds drag Baz’s and Elijah’s pasts into the light. In the blinding glare, Baz and Elijah face the ultimate test: discovering if they’re stronger together…or apart.
Warning: Contains sex in a Tesla, sex in a cupboard, sex under a piano, kinky role play, and a cappella RuPaul songs. Just a couple of boys groping, battling, then finally loving their way to becoming men.
DRUG USE & TRAUMA RECOVERY
Especially at the beginning of the book, Elijah and Baz have something of a substance abuse problem. They use drugs legal and illegal to heighten sex but mostly to escape intense feelings. This is a terribly common occurence for young adults with darkness in their past, and the truth is I softballed how much they would have used and how much it would have affected them.
A common misconception (especially in novels and films) is that people in post-crisis situations obsess directly about the event which haunted them, which is in truth very rarely the case. The brain processes trauma in very strange ways. Sometimes it’s PTSD, sometimes it’s in avoidance, often with substance abuse. During the trauma, the brain goes into survival mode and does what it needs to do to survive. Often the person seems obscenely competent—and they are, because the brain has the power to shut off circuits and funnel all energy into staying alive. It’s only after that the piper needs paying, and without support from community and health professionals, that process is rocky and terrible. Elijah’s anxiety emerging only once he’s safe is very common. In instances of abuse in particular, often comfort and care initially seem like greater threats than the abuse the affection is meant to help heal.
Writing the drug use subplot was rather personal for me, as in many ways it was “therefore but for grace go I.” Between chronic pain and my own ghosts, I haven’t always been an angel, particularly with smoking, which I’ve indulged in at conventions to manage stress years after I officially quit the habit. Elijah and I quit together, and from now on when you see me at the smoking section at a convention, it will just be to chat with friends who are there.
If you know someone recovering from trauma, give them love and patience. No judgment, and precious little advice unless you’re a professional or have been through their same situation and are now on the healing side. Though the difficult events have passed, the pain and processing of it go on long, long after the adrenaline fades. Love in all its forms, however, endures much longer. You may not think a simple hug or smile is much, but it is. They must climb out of their pain themselves. It means the world, though, to see cheerful faces and hear encouragement from the sunlight.
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About the Author
Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, playing with her cats, and watching television with her family. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.
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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