Author: Riley Hart and Devon McCormack
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 08/28/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Gay Romance
“The world’s an awfully big thing to carry by yourself.”
Zack lost his job, his apartment, and his hope, which is why he ends up on the roof of a high rise, certain that one final step will solve his problems. But a mysterious stranger named Rob happens to be on the roof that night too. He talks Zack down, convincing him there’s still hope left in the world. Zack thinks maybe he’s right, which is why he’s shocked when he turns on the news the next morning to find out Rob jumped himself. Disturbed and confused, he searches for answers, starting with Rob’s brother Tommy Rayburn.
It’s been Tommy’s job to take care of his brother since they were kids, taking the blows from their father so Rob wouldn’t have to. Tommy thought he could protect him, even if it meant carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Considering Rob threw himself off a building, he obviously couldn’t.
Then he meets Zack, a friend of Rob’s who’s suspiciously evasive about how they knew each other. But they’re both grieving and determined to find out why Rob jumped. Answers don’t come easily, and soon they’re soothing each other with sweat-slicked, passionate encounters. Hot as things get in the bedroom, it doesn’t take them long to realize there’s more between them than mind-blowing sex and their pain. But the heaviness is still there, threatening to pull them under, and if they can’t open up with each other to lighten the load, the weight just might be enough to crush them both.
This made a good start then got a bit lost in the middle before absolutely nailing it at the end.
The blurb tells you the “what” of this story but it doesn’t touch on the “why”. The “why” is hurtful, devastating and difficult to unravel. It’s impact leaves ripples in two people’s lives that will eventually calm down but to begin with are stormy and dark. How do you deal with being the one that is left behind, who had no idea and who just desperately wants answers – this is Tommy and Zack’s story.
Rob was Tommy’s younger brother and thought he hung the moon and the stars. He was protected by Tommy for most of his life but he hid his pain and kept his secrets until it all became too much. Rob committed suicide and set himself free. Tommy has never really been free, a man who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, Rob’s death doesn’t set him free either but meeting Zack who was with Rob for the last few hours of his life looks set to change that.
Zack has been on his own for a long time – a throwaway who is used to having only himself to depend on. Circumstances lead him to a rooftop one evening when he sees no alternative for his future. The wise words of a young man he shares a joint with will stay with him forever and give him something to live for. Robs words save Zack’s life so why then is Rob dead?
This is a story of healing and moving on. It’s a story of grieving and was often quite difficult to read. Two men looking for answers in their grief who are drawn to each other more and more but one of them is keeping a secret that is likely to shatter them all over again. The epilogue is devastating and packs a punch that won’t leave a dry eye in the house but is so very much deserved.
Sometimes you get lucky and cross paths with someone who can make it all feel a little less lonely. Rob was right.
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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