Mel Gough gives us a combination love story and thriller in her latest release, He is Mine. The story is told from three different characters’ viewpoints, giving the novel an almost episodic feel.
Damien Thomas has been chosen to play an important role in a sci-fi thriller directed by Victor Cahn and starring his wife, Vivienne Aubert. She appears to be what one would think of as a self-absorbed Hollywood starlet until the story delves more deeply into her psyche. When it does, we begin to realize she is obsessed with herself and with the things she wants—one of those is Damien Thomas. After an initial sexual encounter, the two do their share of filming and seem to part ways until Vivienne begins stalking Damien. Meanwhile, Damien, himself, is caught between work and a messy divorce/custody battle over his little girl. Flying back and forth between coasts, Damien isn’t aware that Vivienne is following him and pushes him for another tumultuous encounter where she and Damien have unprotected sex. What will follow from there is the stuff of nightmares if you are a star and have ever experienced a crazed fan.
Meanwhile, the novel follows the life of Detective Brad Moretti who has his own share of troubles. Having just broken up with his unstable ex, Brad is filled with guilt over the fact that he could no longer handle all the baggage that accompanied the aggressive mood swings brought on by his ex-boyfriend’s bipolar disorder. Breaking off their relationship was hard—even harder is the fact that his ex had attempted suicide once before and the fear that Brad leaving him could cause it to happen again. After finishing at another police call, Brad and his partner are asked to check on a woman who has claimed she is being followed—that woman is none other than Vivienne Aubert and it’s at this point that Brad and Damien meet. There is a definite attraction between the two and the story ramps up from there with all hell breaking loose eventually and events becoming more dangerous as time moves on.
This story cleverly meshed several plotlines into one thrilling ride. With each interaction, Vivienne became more unhinged, we sympathized easily with poor Damien, and we watched our cop, Brad, grapple with his guilt and fears, and slowly fall in love. There was a near perfect blend of heated sexual encounters, along with connecting storylines, that grew more and more exciting with each chapter (as a note, there are one or two fairly explicit m/f scenes here as well). Author Mel Gough manages to immerse us in not just two, but three lives simultaneously and never lets the waters get muddy. You feel such pity for Vivienne due to being privy to a brief chapter of her life as a child. You slowly grow to appreciate Damien, even while you may think he needs to reign in his sexual endeavors a bit. But, in my opinion, the real hero of this story is Brad. His character is unflinchingly honest, whether it is due to his grief and guilt about not being able to handle his ex-boyfriend’s mood swings and how it led to dissolving their relationship, or his understanding of why Damien acted as he did and how easy it is to give in to the infatuation that led the guy to Vivienne’s bed. These were some really compelling characters and the story benefited from the way their lives intersected.
He is Mine was a well written thriller and a sweet romance wrapped up in one clever package. With methodical precision, the author allows us to watch a mind unravel into insanity and the survivors pick up the pieces. Fans of this author should enjoy this latest offering—I know I did.