If you are looking for a run of the mill m/m romance, then Nash Summer’s latest novel, Lovers & Fighters ,is not the book for you. However, if you want angst, raw need, hurting, and realistic characters and more hope than one could ever bargain for in a dark romance, then this beauty is just what you’ve been looking for.
I am not sure I can do justice to the depth of this story with this synopsis, so please know there are so many layers to this book—so many blinding and gritty truths exposed that you cannot but feel wrung out on behalf of the characters who grace this author’s imagination.
Scott Halleck has led a safe life, one where very little grazes the surface of his soul, let alone captures any part of his heart. He wears a mask for everyone he meets, even his latest lover, Ryan. While Ryan may make Scott feel safe, their courtship is hardly electric. In fact, it saddens Scott to know that only things that are truly bad for him produce any kind of spark inside him. When Scott meets Julian Reeves. every alarm goes off and his mind tells him to run-–fast and far. Unfortunately his heart, which is alive for the first time in a long time, says otherwise.
Julian is…unfinished…broken and so very scared that nothing will ever make him feel worthy of the forgiveness that has so readily been offered to him. Much like Scott, Julian became obsessed with a man who would nearly destroy him with a life of drugs and abuse. Unfortunately, that within Julian which craves such things still feels the manic attachment to the person who nearly destroyed him. In and out of rehab and living a life that could only be considered violent and abusive still, Julian hunts for ways to quell the demons inside. When he meets Scott, Julian recognizes a fellow liar—one who hides himself deep within and who is unwilling to give everything for the sake of love. There is an immediate love/hate between the two. Time will only tell if this tightrope Scott and Julian walk will send them up in flames or heal the hurt inside both their hearts.
I was mesmerized by this novel. Alternately wanting to gnash my teeth and yell at these two wounded men and then frantically embrace the raw hurt that was slowly morphing into trust, I found myself loving and, yes, hating this novel at turns. This was not an easy story to read. Scott was wound up so tight—so very closed off to any real emotions that when he finally encounters Julian it is almost too much for him to handle. Through fits of depression, loss, fear and anger, we watch Scott finally reveal himself—expose his heart and soul and trustingly offer it into the hands of what seems to be a madman. But Julian is brilliantly deceptive while simultaneously shrouded in a haze of pain and deep, deep sadness. He was nearly impossible to love and yet, so broken that all you wanted to do was hold him close. Author Nash Summers created such incredibly layered characters and set them on a wrenching journey that would ultimately either have them bleed out or finally embrace the need for another to love.
Chapter after chapter this author reveals what it is to truly love—to throw caution to the wind and hand your heart over, hoping that the other person will not destroy it. The path of discovery that Scott must travel to finally reach Julian is just wrenching to watch. Still, the prize at the end of the fight, the hope at the end of this path of sorrow is absolutely incredible and when that final page turns you know these two men will be safe in each other’s arms. I can say little more other than I highly recommend Lovers & Fighters by Nash Summers to you.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.