Jaxon enjoys being a cabbie. His fares can make for interesting stories and it’s a job he does well despite his severe dyslexia. Jaxon knows he’s stupid. After all life made sure to remind him of that fact at every turn. But thanks to his knack for memorizing logos and street names, driving the cab has proven to be a good fit.
Caleb would rather be anywhere than stuck at a bar with his coworkers on a Tuesday night. But they’ve become unofficial business meetings so he has no choice. And given that drinking is required, Caleb sets up a regular cab pickup. Caleb doesn’t talk much due to a severe stutter, but he can’t help leaving little notes on his receipts for the handsome Jaxon.
Communication should cripple their relationship before it even starts: a man who can’t talk attempts to woo a man who can’t read by writing him notes. Yet both mean realize that actions speak louder than words and that love conquers all.
I have only one complaint about Loud and Clear and it’s a pretty big one. It’s too short!! Caleb and Jaxon are such a beautiful couple and their story is so compelling, you never want it to end. And when it does, you can’t help feeling pretty bereft.
Loud and Clear struck close to home for me in a big way. My mother has a fairly significant reading disorder. Her father made sure to tell her on a daily basis that being a girl was bad enough, but being a stupid one made her useless. Of course my mother is one of the smartest people I know and, like Jaxon, she has entered a profession that plays to her strengths. Despite making his own way in the world Jaxon continues to have a pretty low opinion of himself until Caleb came along. Which is why these two characters are so amazing. They lift one another up and remind readers that having a disability can be far from disabling. Both Jaxon and Caleb exist in the moment. We aren’t given much insight into their childhoods, but this doesn’t leave them feeling less dimensional. Instead, the author does an excellent job of giving them a full sense of being with a limited amount of context. The evolution of their relationship is believable and wonderfully sweet without ever becoming saccharin or silly. Jaxon and Caleb feel like flesh and blood creations and because they capture your attention from page one, they are easy to relate to on every level.
Loud and Clear flew by and I was a bit shocked when I got to the end because I never felt like I was reading a novella. The writing was crisp and clean and the pacing was excellent. And while I would have liked a lot more of Jaxon and Caleb’s story, the author ends on a positive, realistic note. We’re left with no guarantees that this relationship will go the distance and instead of a happily ever after, we are given a happily for now, which feels very natural.
Loud and Clear was an excellent novella and has everything from wonderful characters to an important message to recommend it. Consider this one a must read for anyone who loves romance and cheering on the underdogs. And just as a side note: the stupid, useless girl who grew up to be my mother also grew up to be recognized across her home state as a cancer patient’s best advocate. She helps save lives every day through education, compassion, and tenacity. I think Caleb and Jaxon would approve.