In the Absence of Monsters by JP Barnaby ~ Review by Caroline

I could not put this down!  400 pages and I had to read it in one sitting….it is that good!

cover-preview-finalTitle: In the Absence of Monsters

Author: JP Barnaby

Publisher: Wilde City Press

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the Publisher:

Jayden Carter knew the path he wanted his life to take. He wanted to get his Master’s Degree in History and teach. But when he answered an ad for a roommate and met mysterious doctor, Ethan Bryant, he’s brought into a world he never knew existed and his path changes.

It changes again for Jayden and he leaves Ethan with their friend, Lexi, in tow. Ethan loses himself in a haze of self-destruction and pain. With the help of a childhood friend, Gabriel, Ethan battles the demons of his childhood and finds a way to survive. Gabriel and Jayden wage an epic war for Ethan, but in the end, they may all end up losing.

Originally published as The Forbidden Room and A House of Cards: Deconstructing Ethan

My View

This book is not your everyday fluffy romance! Has Ms Barnaby ever written an everyday fluffy romance….definitely not!  It is layer upon layer of emotion and angst spread out over a number of years and it will take you on a sometimes very painful rollercoaster ride. You will love then hate the characters, but stick with it as the ending is so very worth it..

Jayden is a college student and is so sick of his roommates partying and bringing girls back he has ended up sleeping on his sisters couch. When he spots an ad for a house share he makes the phone call that will change his life. When he meets Ethan Bryant he is fascinated by the man and moves in immediately.

Ethan Bryant is a doctor and to all the world he appears calm and collected. From the moment he sees Jayden approaching his front door he feels a pull towards the man that he can’t quite describe. In reality Ethan hides a devastating secret from the world. He lives an emotionless life with an overwhelming need for control and is truly broken.

Jayden moves in immediately and the two men settle into a routine.  There is only one rule that Ethan has put into place and that is that Jayden is not permitted to enter the 5th bedroom.  After seeing Ethan enter the room with a young girl one evening Jayden becomes obsessed with what lies beyond the door. When he can’t even concentrate on his studying anymore he does exactly what he was told not to do and enters the room.  Welcome to Ethan Bryants playroom.

Of course with Ethans OCD control issues, and with the help of recording equipment, he knows the minute Jayden breaks his rule. The next morning he summons Jayden back to the room and delivers him an ultimatum. Submit to him or leave.  Jaydens life changes again.

Jayden agrees to the challenge and the next morning finds himself on his knees for Ethan and is surprised he is enjoying it and agreeing to come back. Now here is the dilemma for their relationship going forward…..Jayden is sure he isn’t gay but enjoys everything Ethan does with him. Ethan won’t allow himself to be gay because of his past. Enter Lexi.

Lexi has been Ethans submissive for 2 years and is the only real friend he has. She was a shy a plain young college student who had her first sexual experience in Ethans playroom and is fiercely loyal to him. Over the next few months the 3 of them settle into their roles of 1 Dom and 2 Subs and build a friendship outside of the playroom.

Time moves on and Lexi moves to New York to continue her education. This leaves Jayden and Ethan alone and both struggle with the new dynamics of their relationship….neither man admitting to their feelings but with so much need between them. A family crisis forces Jayden to move back to Chicago and he is soon joined by Lexi. Ethan remains at home and he slowly slips into a crushing depression. When Jayden and Lexi realise how bad things have become for him they plan an intervention and bring Ethan home to them to help him recover.

As Ethan heals and tries to take control of his life he makes contact with his family and spends time with them for the first time in 20 years. He is still terribly conflicted and again it is all tied into his past. He doesn’t have the emotional capacity to deal with the jealousy he feels when he sees Jaydens relationship with Lexi. When he reconnects with his old childhood friend Gabriel who offers support he finally admits to being a gay man.

For the first time in 20 years Ethan begins to understand the emotions he is feeling. When Gabriel holds him he feels safe for the first time.  When Jayden holds him he feels alive and doesn’t know if he can ever give that up. When a tragedy strikes them once more he must decide once and for all and help pull the man he truly loves back from the darkness.

Even if you don’t usually read MMF  ( I don’t) you should read this one. The writing is exquisite and the story is sometimes harrowing. The ending will give you hope……I just hope my rambling words do it even a little bit of justice 🙂

Buy Links:

Wilde City Press
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank JP Barnaby for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
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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