Daniel Gilchrist is back in rehab. A childhood filled with a drunk, abusive, and mentally ill mother has left the man feeling broken. Despite a fairly successful music career, Dan’s choices of men have left him feeling controlled. His toxic, super star, and married ex lover, Mac, wants to resume their affair and Dan needs to stay far away from the man.
Meeting Jeremy in rehab, Dan immediately finds himself drawn to the artist with the intense blue eyes. Dan knows he does not deserve someone in his life as sweet and caring as Jeremy. Jeremy is also a survivor and Dan certainly can’t seem to stay away from him. Jeremy sets out to help rid Dan of the childhood that haunts him, which includes his mother’s twisted religious beliefs and his guilt over not being able to protect his younger sisters from her wrath.
While Dan is trying to battle all of his demons, Mac persuades him to finally finish the song they have been working on that stands up for religious bigotry. Before the song is even finished, someone is threatening the men and violence shakes them all. Dan is now more certain than ever that Jeremy deserves someone better. Jeremy, however, will not give up on Dan and pushes him to finally let go and find happiness.
The story starts us out with a 13-year-old Dan hiding once again from his abusive mother. The writing and Dan’s character stood out from the first page and you just know Dan has a long road ahead of him. We then catch up with Dan 30 years later and certainly a lot has happened to him. One slip found him back in rehab and meeting Jeremy. The instant connection between the men is apparent and Dan certainly deserves one good thing in life, only he doesn’t think so.
Once Dan leaves rehab a lot happens. The first half of the book focuses on many areas. There is Dan leaving rehab and being confronted immediately by his ex, as well as the Sobriety Squad. The Sobriety Squad story line seems largely unrealistic and takes up time that could have been devoted elsewhere in the book. There is also Dan’s relationship with Mac and the song they are working on, Mac’s kids, Dan’s sisters and their kids, Dan’s past involving his family, Jeremy’s past, and then Dan and Jeremy’s budding relationship. My attention was split into so many areas. Dan and Jeremy do not spend a lot of time alone together in the first half, due to them both being out of rehab, so when they are physically together for the first time and declaring their love for each other, there had not been enough time where we were able to see them actually fall in love.
Once they are together, the story moves to the song being recorded. There are a lot of religious aspects involving the Catholic Church in the book. The story starts out at a church and religion is woven all the way through the story. There are many aspects of it shown, up to and including Dan attempting to find absolution for himself. There are also references to child abuse, although much of it is not on page.
I liked the characters of Dan and Jeremy and their scenes together working through so many of Dan’s issues were my favorite aspect of the book. Jeremy shows himself to be a strong man and the two men finally find a home within each other. There just was a bit too much going on for me to fully enjoy what they had. The ending, while it put Dan and Jeremy in a good place, leaves yet another story line open for a sequel. The writing itself as far as dialogue is solid, there is just a lot to focus on. If you like broken characters really trying to move past their issues while they keep getting more thrown at them, and a lot of religion mixed in, this would then be a good choice.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.