Adam Walker (stage name Adam Love) is the biggest pop star around. His records sell by the millions and his shows sell out every night. Adam does and says what he wants, whenever he wants. He’s also got a secret. He has a bad heart and refuses to seek help because he knows the doctors will tell him to stop doing what he loves, and he’s not ready for that. Adam can, literally, drop dead at any minute, so he’s going to live life to the fullest.
One night after another sold out show, Adam and his bodyguard, Tara, go out to dinner at a fancy seafood restaurant where he meets the chef. The attraction between the two men is so strong, they decide to get together after the restaurant closes to “spend some time.” They share a wonderful night of no strings passion, but in the morning, they both wonder if they’re missing something.
Jerrick Ramhart is a chef and his dream is to own a restaurant of his own. Jerrick is also making a huge sacrifice. His brother, Gerard, is going to be marrying the man he loves, Jace, much to the dismay (and that’s a generous description) of their wealthy, ultra conservative parents. Jerrick agrees to disregard his own sexuality, marry a woman, and produce a son if they’ll leave Gerarad and Jace alone. After his night with Adam, Jerrick begins to wonder if he shouldn’t give up the charade, come out to his family, and live the life he’s always wanted.
Adam and Jerrick each head to small town Abingdon for Gerard and Jace’s wedding, completely unaware they’ll be crossing paths again (Adam is best friends with Jerrick’s brother’s fiancée). Their attraction is powerful. Gerard must decide if he really wants to ditch his “beard” and come out, and Adam needs to face his health issues so he can continue to do what he loves and be with who he loves.
Adam’s Trial is the second book in the Trials in Abingdon series. I reviewed the first, Jace’s Trial, here on the site back in March, and I think this is a nice follow up. Both men play a role in the first book, and it was great to see their story here. I had more of a connection with Jerrick than with Adam, but both characters are very well written, and I was hooked on the from the very beginning. They weren’t perfect people, and they weren’t ashamed to admit it. They seemed to have met their match with each other. Their chemistry was fantastic. Certainly, there was heat between them, but there was sort of a kinship and it was almost as if they could see only one another.
I rooted for Adam and Jerrick right from the start. They had a deep uphill battle to achieve happiness. Adam’s health issue and his identity as a pop star are more important to him than actually dying! He feels as if he’s nothing without Adam Love, so he continues knowing Adam Love is killing him. Jerrick’s turmoil due to the secret he is keeping about his sexuality is eating away at him, and I genuinely felt his pain. His powerful love for his brother is more important to him than his personal happiness. Both men are making overwhelming sacrifices, and that made me love them both.
The middle of the book seemed to drag a bit. Between Adam’s hiding his heart problems and Jerrick’s hiding his sexuality, I felt like skimming on more than one occasion. I was starting to believe Adam was being selfish and Jerrick was falling on his sword way too often. At one point, Adam does something that made me angry with him, and even though it wasn’t necessarily out of character, it was infuriating. He redeemed himself, but it did play a role in how I was going to write this review.
There were quite a few background characters in the story. However, there were only four that I felt were actually important. Tara, Adam’s bodyguard, never shied away from telling it like it was, and she acted almost as his conscience. Mikayla, Jerrick’s roommate, BFF, and fake girlfriend, played the same role as Tara. Of course, there was Jace and Gerard. They were days away from getting married…and completely clueless. In fact, Jace turned into a bit of a Bridezilla, and it provided some comic relief.
A terrifying crisis comes along and this was the turning point in the story. The families come together, and it was so good to have that happen. They were united against Jerrick and Gerard’s parents, and that was satisfying to read.
The ending was neat and tidy, and that was certainly not a problem. Adam and Jerrick fought hard for their HEA, and even though there were no surprises, it left me with a warm, happy feeling. By then, I’d fallen head over heels with both men, and could actually see myself being friends with them in “real life.” In fact, I think Abingdon seems like a nice place to live, and I’d happy move there if given the chance 🙂
While Adam’s Trial is secondin the series, it can be read as a stand alone. There is plenty of exposition included. However, I honestly think reading the first, Jace’s Trial, would be handy, not only to grasp the other characters and the city of Abingdon itself, but because it was a great book unto itself. I have no problems recommending this story, and I can’t wait to see what book three brings.