Tate Walker's past is too painful to just disappear, even if his dream boy, Brian Cooper, is there to hold his hand. Brian does his best, but Talker—always good at avoiding his own pain—is having a hard time facing the truth about what happened when he trusted the wrong man at the wrong time.
When that truth resurfaces and lands Brian in the hospital, Talker is forced to make a choice. He can either confront every demon in his fragile, bleeding heart, or he can let Brian take the heat for him, just like he has from the beginning. But even Talker knows you don't leave your dream boy alone and undefended when he just saved your life, and he’ll have to find the strength to take care of Brian when Brian needs him the most.
Well. I thought the first book was good. Ha! (It was.) This second one is just as good, written now from Tate's POV as the world that should finally be turning to light for him gets nearly snatched away. It's never fun watching the rug yanked out from under someone, and although it's not hard to predict what's going to happen, that doesn't make it any less horrifying when it does. And just when you think Tate is going to fall and not be able to recover is when it gets really good.
Ms. Lane has crawled into the twitchy, unfocused, confused brain of this man she calls Talker and by all rights, we all should have got lost in there with her, the same as he does. But no. Ms. Lane tugged at the unravelling strings of Tate's world and wove them into something beautiful and vibrant and utterly fascinating.
To see the contortions this guy goes through to deny what happened to him, right up until he's puking on a cop's shoes in a lonely hospital hallway is hard. It's hard because this author has made him, a fantastical creature from her imagination who you would not think could actually exist in real life so real, you want to pick him up and make all the bad things go away.
And yet, even while he's writhing pain from his own trauma, being crushed under the weight of guilt he shouldn't feel, he glows with so much promise and strength...
"…so bitterly angry with himself he was surprised he didn’t just crawl out of his own damaged, macabre skin and run down the streets as a bloody skeleton, shrieking in pain."
"He didn’t think he’d ever heard the woman swear, much less rumble into a fight like a pit bull on meth."
"Since Virginia had also helped Brian to bust out of the closet, Tate would do her the favor of pretending she never existed."
"Brian was unaware of the absolute beauty of the ginormous wonder stick at the apex of his thighs."
"…his hard-on aching in his sweats and his brain on flash-fry."
(and after that, a page and a half of perfect, first-time-fucking perfection that would be too long and spoilery to quote here)
"But who wanted to remind a lover that you were weak and sad, and dissolved like a wet breath mint when things got bad?" (which I love because it's not actually true)
This isn't really the story of a broken man, even though it is. It's the story of a man with incredible strength and power. It's 108 pages of hope and determination and soul set out in black and white, and I can't imagine anyone reading it and not being moved.