Malcolm Montgomery hasn’t had an easy go of it the last few months. A devastating injury left him vulnerable and unable to do much of what he once could. He’s healing, but it’s slow and there’s no guarantee he’ll ever fully get back on his feet. So it’s really not the time to think about dating or starting a new relationship, especially with someone his friends and family seem to dislike. But Mal finds himself drawn to the charming and handsome Brian Kenway. Mal isn’t interested in one night stands and Brian has a reputation as a player, but getting to know one another seems important to both men.
Brian is dealing with the sudden and unexpected arrival of his young nephew, kicked out of his home at 14 for being gay. It’s a situation Brian remembers all too well from his own childhood, but he’s nobody’s idea of a father and trying to figure out how to parent is proving to be a challenge for which he is woefully unprepared. The only thing he can depend on is Mal and the quiet strength he offers. Brian’s past is dark in a lot of ways and there’s no promise Mal will be willing to stick around once he knows the truth. He’ll have to risk breaking both their hearts but if he puts his faith in Mal, it might be enough to save them.
Chasing Forever is the third in the This Time Forever series, following Building Forever and Renewing Forever. I’d say each of the books is a standalone, but the characters overlap and I think you’ll enjoy the books more if you read them in order.
We’re introduced to Brian in Building Forever and we know him as Simon’s ex, a notorious cheater who walked away from their 12-year relationship seemingly without a backwards glance. As a result, we shouldn’t like Brian. Or at the very least, we shouldn’t find him charming. Yet from the start I couldn’t help but like his character and think there was more beneath his apparent oily surface. And in Chasing Forever, we finally get to know more about his past and it’s heartbreaking. It doesn’t excuse his behavior towards Simon or his arrogance, but it does explain it. Brian has so many layers and with each one we get a more complete picture of the fragile heart he’s been guarding. He isn’t a perfect character, but that makes him more interesting and he’s far from the traditional good guy. Mal, on the other hand, is a sweetheart in almost every regard. He’s the hometown boy whose managed to endure not one, but two life changing accidents and somehow manages to keep himself positive and forward thinking. Even when he gets down about his injuries, it never feels like a pity party. He and Brian aren’t a natural pairing, but that complexity makes their relationship feel realistic.
Brian’s nephew Josh was a bit flat in terms of his character and it seemed obvious he was there to provide a necessary catalyst upon which to build the story. So while he doesn’t quite seem as fully fleshed out as he should, he does fit in the wider context and the dangers facing LGBT youth are well highlighted.
The This Time Forever series has been enjoyable from book one and while Chasing Forever is a little darker and more angsty than the previous entities, it has a core of hopefulness that I found endearing and warm. It’s a well-rounded story and has plenty to offer nearly ever reader. Consider this one recommended.