This novella is part of a larger series all based on the aftermath of Flight HA1710 crashing in the hills of Ireland, told from different survivors’ points of view. This is the second episode of the series, and can be enjoyed as a standalone.
Phil Stewart is a free-wheelin’ free lovin’ club scene guy, thinking nothing of hooking up with any and many when he spots Davin on a night out. Phil is so attracted, he leaves his sure thing in the dust and chases Davin down the raucous NYC streets. Davin, for his part, is attracted, but he wants nothing to do with the wild boy who insists on walking him to his hotel. Davin’s out, but he’s the keeping sort—and that means no one-night stands. Besides, he’s due to return to Dublin in the morning.
Still, they talk. A connection is made in friendship, but it kindles something Phil hasn’t felt before. They continue to interact over text, phone, and Skype for six months—the time Phil needs to save his money and relocate to Ireland, quite literally knocking on Davin’s door out of the clear blue sky. Six months later, they are flying to Chicago to introduce Davin to Phil’s mother when the plane goes down.
The story begins the day after the crash, with Phil waking in a hospital, bandaged and casted, and having no idea where Davin is. As he slowly regains his senses, he agonizes over Davin’s whereabouts, and we learn all their backstory in flashback. Phil has a broken leg and other smaller wounds, but it’s his heart that aches most when no one can find Davin in the hospital. When he’s coherent, all Phil does is badger the staff regarding Davin—and one nurse takes it on herself to find his lost love. And, Davin is his love, even if he couldn’t tell him so before. Phil rushes to Davin’s side, only to learn that he’s in a coma due to a head injury.
There are none of the isolation issues that we often see in injury stories. Davin’s mum adores Phil, and is half-mum to him as well. I was frustrated with Phil, however, after so much internal profession of love that he’s barely able to tell a conscious Davin his true feelings. Davin can sense the full change in Phil—and both men have been in a committed relationship since Phil stepped on Irish soil, but is it enough? To know Phil loves him, but hardly be told? And what if Phil goes back to his clubbing ways, after all? No. Davin wants a serious commitment. Marriage.
This book had all the feels. Injury, abandonment, rehab, commitment, possible betrayal. Phil did a lot of growing up, both in his year spent knowing Davin and in the aftermath of the crash. His notions of love changed dramatically as he experienced love with Davin, and also by seeing all of Davin’s gay friends in committed relationships. Davin is a kind and special soul. Earnest, and affectionate, and worth keeping—no matter what. I particularly enjoyed how Phil looked at his old life when they returned to Chicago. All those party boys who made up his old inner circle were just that: boys. Their excesses held less appeal than a quiet night with his man. I was a little frustrated, also, by the point of Phil’s wild days being repeatedly brought up. It seemed clear that he was a whole different person from the club kid who followed a stranger all those months ago, and I didn’t think Phil or Davin gave him enough credit for the changes he had made.
Still, there are some yummy sexytimes and this is a super fast read. I will admit to being completely captivated by the first half, and a little less so by the middle chunk. This is when I wanted to kick Phil’s leg cast for him not communicating openly with Davin. The ending scenes held a bit of conflict, especially with Phil’s old pals pulling some dirty tricks, but the end resolved in a gooey HEA. So, yeah. I liked that bunches.