Jace Garrison is a talented musician. Considered somewhat of a prodigy, he had been attending Julliard when his father, Riley, a Navy SEAL, was killed in action. Suddenly, Jace’s ability and desire to create music left him. He dropped out of Julliard, packed up his instruments and the songs he’d written, and fell into a spiral of grief, anger, and depression. Now, a year later, all he does is work and stay in his room.
Gerard Ramhart is a retired Navy SEAL. Not only did he serve with Riley, he was Riley’s boyfriend. They were in love when Riley was killed, and he wasn’t able to make it to the funeral because he was overseas. Now that he has the time, Gerard has come to Abingdon, Riley’s hometown, for a memorial that’s being held in Riley’s honor. Upon visiting Riley’s house and talking with Riley’s sister, Desiree, Gerard is invited to stay in the guest room rather than finding a hotel. That’s when he sets eyes on Riley’s son, Jace.
Sparks begin to fly between Jace and Gerard while they face the grief they share. Can Gerard help Jace find his love of music once again? Can the two men have a relationship despite the fact Gerard had been in love with Jace’s father?
In love May/December romances. I also love a good hurt/comfort story, so I was excited to be able to read Jace’s Trial. I found it was an interesting story that held my attention, smoothly transitioned from Jace’s POV to Gerard’s and back, and had likable characters with whom I was able to feel a connection. There were a few things I felt…unsettled about, and I will get to them later.
Jace and Gerard were well written, well fleshed out characters, and I was an instant fan. I wanted to hug them both as they cried over Riley. I wanted to get to know them as people, individually and as a couple.
I really felt for Jace. Not only did he lose his father, but he lost his muse. It was Riley who’d introduced Jace to music and helped him to want to spend his life making it. Jace simply lost that love when Riley was killed, and it broke my heart. Also, in an interesting subplot, Jace had been involved in a twisted relationship with a professor at Julliard where he was mentally and physically abused. The poor young man was lost in life, working himself to the bone, and bottling up his feelings of grief, shame, and anger.
Gerard came from a SEAL family. His father, grandfather, and several other relatives had been Navy SEALS, so he was carrying on the tradition. Basically the only reason he’d enlisted, though, was because his family knew he was gay and hated it. He wanted to prove to them he was still strong enough to be able to represent the Ramhart name, and he hoped it would make them proud of them. That, alongside his grief and sadness over Riley, had made Gerard just as lost as Jace, so it was almost natural the men would find their way to one another.
Gerard had planned to spend two weeks in Abingdon, so everything seemed to happen at a breakneck speed. Jace and Gerard lock eyes and felt something right away. I believe in love at first sight, so this was not a problem for me. Gerard was able to make Jace face his feelings and let out all off his pent up sadness and anger within two or three days, and they were sleeping together soon after. Again, I had no problem with that. There are no time constraints when it comes to love. I confess to feeling a little squicky when Riley was brought up during smexytimes. It felt inappropriate to me. That’s just a personal thing, though. Others might not think much about it.
Speaking of the sex, it was smokin’ hot! Jace and Gerard had a lot of chemistry, and it showed. They burned up the sheets. There was an intensity there, along with a kind of…desperation. They were clinging to each other, offering comfort with their bodies. The author was able to capture that nicely.
There were a few background characters who played a significant role on the story. Desiree, Jace’s aunt/Riley’s sister; Patricia and Malcom, the people Jace worked for; Adam, Jace’s BFF (and friend with benefits); and Brett, the abusive professor. Each of them helped make the story move along and fulfilled their roles exactly as they should. I would like to add I felt the Adam character was a little over the top and said some rather inappropriate things. I know it was supposed to be for some comic relief, but to me, it came across as way too much.
The ending was neat and tidy and exactly how I expected. I was pleased with it and it left me feeling good about Jace and Gerard’s future. In fact, I would have loved to have seen more. Hopefully, they can be revisited a bit in future installments of the series. I definitely recommend Jace’s Trial.
PS…I loved how the author gave a nod to Lucy Lennox’s Jumping Jude. When Gerard asked Jace about musicians that inspired him, Jace answers Jude Marian of the band Jude and the Saints. He even mentions performing the band’s signature song, Blue Bells. VERY nice touch.