Scott Ashworth thought he finally had a break with his modeling career, but an assault in a parking lot left him injured. Although he will carry no visible scars, he feels like he has let everyone down. But Rylan, Scott’s former stepbrother, remains at his side and offers Scott unconditional support that Scott doesn’t think he deserves. He knows that he doesn’t deserve someone as good as Rylan and he’s just waiting for Rylan to realize that Scott cannot give him what he needs.
As Rylan stays with Scott while he recovers from his injuries, the men fall into a comfortable routine, while the spark that started when they were teenagers continues to grow and they think they might finally have a chance to really be together. But Rylan still has questions about Scott’s disappearance six years ago and the more he looks to Scott for answers, the more Scott becomes unglued. Scott knows he needs to get a handle on things, but his past is ingrained deep into him and if he can’t find a way to forgive himself, he may push Rylan away for good.
This book picks up right where the previous one left off and offers great continuity to the overall story. While I enjoyed the story in the first book, there were areas that didn’t work as well for me, but the writing here came together much better. Scott and Rylan are both integral characters here, but it reads a little more as Scott’s story as he has the most to overcome. Years of being told that he was worthless have certainly taken their toll on him and even though men and women constantly throw themselves at him and he makes a living off of his looks, he has no self esteem. He wants so much with Rylan in the worst way, but he has no idea how to enjoy any of it as he’s sure Rylan deserves better and doesn’t think Scott has anything to offer.
Scott is determined to sabotage his relationship with Rylan at every turn as that’s the only way he knows how to react. He feels that he should push Rylan away before Rylan decides to walk away for himself. He hurts Rylan and puts him through a lot, but what works here is that Rylan sees right through Scott. So as much as Scott pushes Rylan away, Rylan hangs in and hangs onto Scott and that made it all the more interesting. The author took some chances here with this story line and that made it all the better for me. Their past and their relationship aren’t easy and Hansen didn’t all of a sudden make it simple for them. Scott has a lot of emotional baggage that weighs him down and some readers could view Scott and Rylan’s relationship as co-dependent and unhealthy. But, it appealed to me that Scott worked through things in a less traditional way and the author showed another side to trying to overcome the damage left by the past.
This is a more in depth story as the men try to work through their issues and come out the other side into a relationship. I’m not going to say that every reader will relate to this one as Scott’s lack of coping mechanisms have to be taken into account. Scott and Rylan work well together as they get each other. Well, maybe Rylan understands Scott a bit more, but they have a history and the love they have for each other shines through as they fight for each other and their HEA is definitely well deserved. This book struck a note with me and I would certainly be interested in returning to this world if the author has anything further planned.