David has a hard time remembering his mother, who died when he was eleven. His father took her death hard, turned to drinking, and then took his rage out on David. David endured years of abuse until his father was sent to prison, but his scars run deep. David now is alone. His days are spent working at a comic book store, but other than that, he rarely ventures out.
Adam has returned home after spending years in the service as a Marine. He’s staying with his brother and his nephew who need his support more than ever as a health crisis is upon them. Adam is a protective guy and will do anything within his power to ensure the security of his family, but this is illness is out of his control.
When Adam visits the comic book store, the spark between him and David is tangible and leaves them both shaken. Adam wants more of the same and pursues David, but David is completely closed off and a whole lot scared to let someone in. But Adam may just be his future and his perfect match if he can just believe that he is worthy of love.
This is a debut novel that certainly had potential, but also read as a first novel. There were ups and downs to the story mixed in side by side. We meet Adam as he is staying with his brother whose wife has left him. Adam’s nephew is sick and the focus starts there. While shopping for a gift for his nephew, Adam meets David. The initial meeting was well written and the attraction between Adam and David was instant and had the energy around them sparking.
We are told that Adam is a Marine and that he was in the service for many years. Yet, it was written in name only as he did not come across as a Marine to me and what Adam was exactly doing with his days or what he wanted to be doing was not clear. David is a lost and lonely guy. He has a past, he carries guilt, and we learn early on that he bears scars and that his father is in prison. Adam is a caretaker and immediately wants to take care of David and keep him safe. Their relationship progresses slowly as Adam allows David to take things at his own pace and they spend time texting before spending any real time in person.
The book is written in the moment, meaning that there wasn’t a lot of character development or depth for me. We are basically told brief things about each guy and the book focused on David learning to trust Adam and the two of them building a relationship. In the end, I didn’t feel like I knew them that well, especially David. Adam is patient and kind and sweet and respectful and while it sounds good on paper, he was a bit too good and bland for me.
The guys take tentative steps toward each other until the familiar scenario has David shutting Adam out because he feels not good enough and that his past is a danger to Adam. While it made sense for his character, I have seen this same situation played out one too many times at this point.
David’s storyline is based around what happened to him and there was a long lead to the reveal. While what David experienced was traumatic, it didn’t have the impact I was looking for or expecting. Adam’s nephew’s illness was a big focus upfront, but for the severity of the diagnosis, it was too easy of a fix for me. In fact, the magic fiction wand made everything better and it was all too easy for me.
The book credits both an editor and a proofreader, but there were numerous typos as well as missing and extra words in the version I had. While this book didn’t completely appeal to me, the author does have potential and I would possibly look at future works. Looking In could be a choice if you are looking to try a new author with a lighter, easier tone.