Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Jacob Riley, star of the time traveling TV series End Game has messed up again. Issues with drug addiction, alcohol, and sex have left Jacob disenfranchised from all around him, family, friends, even business associates. Jacob has done jail time and been in and out of rehabilitation clinics to little affect on him and further disillusionment to those desperately trying to help him. Jacob remains deep in denial about taking responsibility for his current situation as he is arrested again. Now his TV series is on hiatus and his career foundering because of his self destructive habits and bad attitude. No one wants to continue working with him and his father sees only one way out for his son. That would be Mac’s, an education and support center located in the low income area of L.A. run by Ethan Myers.
Ethan opened Mac’s as a way to deal with the death of his partner and to continue contributing to the needs of those around him, just as his partner Mac would have wanted. But while Mac’s is successful in its mission, Ethan and the center face numerous problems from the safety inspector who wants to shut them down because of needed repairs. The last thing Ethan wants to deal with is a spoiled, drug addled brat of an actor, but the check Jacob’s father hands is too big and too necessary for their survival to turn down.
The first meeting is nothing but a clash of wills and preconceptions with the first round going to Ethan. But there are four months to get through and neither man wants to admit his growing attraction to the other. Between strong wills and need, will Jacob learn to accept that love and responsibility are the key to his future or will his past pull him and Ethan down for good?
R.J. Scott has a clear-eyed view of addiction and its effects on the person not only in the center, but all of those around them. Moments pulls us into the ugly mindset of Jacob at the beginning of the story, making it clear to the reader what his self destructive life style is costing him and how it is hurting those next to him. Jacob is deep in self denial, easily placing the blame for all his problems everywhere but where it belongs, on himself. Jacob is a dislikable piece of work, and Scott has done her homework on addictions when creating a portrait of a man whose life is spiraling out of control. It is realistic, and absolutely believable. It will take half the story before the reader will start to connect with Jacob but we do and then we start to hope that he will find his way clear.
Scott’s other characters are equally complex and endearing, from Ethan to those secondary characters whose lives are enriched by Mac’s. Scott gives the reader a real feel for the spirit of community that exists in such a situation as well as the dangers that are inherent by locating the center near active gang influences. The author has a number of plot threads in motion in the story, almost too many to fully explore in this length book. I wish that the gang element had been enlarged, especially considering the importance it plays in the lives of three characters so central to the story. Certain gang members appear, act accordingly as gangs would, and then disappear for the rest of the novel. And another surprising element occurs late in the story with no hint earlier in the narrative that it might occur. It would have been nice to have laid a foundation for such actions earlier because for me to have that person act as they did made no sense as far as their personality and character was concerned. Sorry to be vague, but necessary so as not to give away any spoilers.
But those concerns aside, Moments has a terrific story to tell and Scott delivers it concisely, and with great clarity about her subject. I connected with these characters and that kept me by their sides every step of the way to the end. Don’t hesitate to pick this one up!
Cover art by Posh Gosh is lovely but I can’t think what it has to do with the storyline. And yes, he has his hands on his pants, get out your glasses!