Author: AJ Rose
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Elizabeth Mackey
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 09/13/2016
Length: Long Novel (~ 100K+)
Genre: Gay Fiction
From Rainbow Award-winning author AJ Rose, Defenseless is a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping story of love through adversity.
Kyle Decker knew dating Jesse McGovern would change his life. Young and in love, and with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, the world is theirs to conquer.
But their victorious Pride celebration ends in a savage attack, brutally demonstrating they’re far from equal. Instead of wedding planning, Jesse and Kyle face an arduous recovery and a shattered sense of their place in the world, their once-promising future suddenly something to survive.
While Jesse struggles with a permanent injury and its emotional aftermath, Kyle’s single-minded focus on Jesse’s recovery is the only thing keeping his demons at bay…for now. What was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love is now full of lies and resentment.
With their dreams tattered and forever changed, trusting anyone—even each other—is daunting. So how can they have faith in twelve strangers on a jury? They’ve already learned the hard way it only takes a moment to become truly defenseless.
Although this book begins by celebrating same sex marriage it soon becomes devastatingly clear that whilst that is a great win it is not the end of the battle where equality is concerned.
This is a tough read. What starts as a happy story – two men beginning their lives together, moving in together, meeting each other’s friends together, making plans for the future together soon takes on a dark twist when after a day of celebration at Pride it becomes all too clear that not everyone is happy. That awful but thankfully small part of society that believes it has a right to not only disagree with who you are but to act on those feelings and physically hurt you – that is who Kyle and Jesse are confronted by on their way home – a home they are still in the process of building but a home that will never be the same again as they themselves are changed irrevocably in a vicious attack.
The writing is flawless and haunting – in fact this is one of those stories that haunts you for days. You will be doing something innocuous and Kyle and Jesse will spring to mind. Only a small part of the book is about the actual attack as the real story is the aftermath – the piecing back together of two young lives both physically and mentally, living with the fear EVERY day that it could happen again, living with the consequences of a parent fearing for your life and that fear causing them to turn their back on you and living with the breakdown of firstly yourself and then your relationship because you are scared, tired, angry and you can no longer control your temper.
Be prepared for this story to put you through the wringer. The author doesn’t mince words or soften over things to keep your feelings and emotions in check. It’s raw and powerful but sadly a true story for many. There is a happy but it takes time and effort to get there both for Kyle and Jesse and you the reader.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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