Prompted by guilt and chained to an abusive brother who will sell him to the highest bidder, Elias is trapped in a spiral of pain, humiliation, and a hungry need to be loved. When he notices the handsome older man in the local gay bar who chooses a different man to go home with each night, Elias wants what those other men seem to get from just being with the mysterious man—peace, a good feeling, and happiness.
Detective Thomas Doyle lives a compartmentalized life in order to keep both his anxiety in check and his heart safe. Losing his partner tore Thomas apart and the only way he dealt with life was to keep his one night stands and his private life separate from his professional one—until Elias steps up and tears down the walls Thomas has so carefully constructed. Despite the worrying age gap of fifteen years, Thomas finds himself more and more enamored of the troublesome young man. Elias has the tendency to drop an emotional bombshell and then run, leaving Thomas behind to pick up the pieces and make yet another move that he feels will ultimately leave him open to be hurt again. But there is something that draws these two men together and even the dark secrets Elias hides from Thomas will not be enough to change the course of the attraction that grows between them.
Erin E. Keller begins a new series with the release of her novel, Elias. While I feel there were times when the connective tissue needed to keep the story from losing its way was absent, the author was able to keep the novel on track and write a compelling story. It is true that I felt the plot sometimes threw some serious curve balls that made the pacing of this novel jerky and the story feel a bit incomplete. Specifically, it was due to the fact that we were not always privy to some pretty critical conversations between Elias and Thomas, but instead were only given second hand descriptions and their reactions as the story jumped from one point of view to another. However, I felt the alternating POV’s really added to the story and allowed us to get inside the minds of both men, so even though we missed out on some important relationship moments, I also applaud this author for her ability to develop her characters fully and allow us to get to know them quite well.
In the end, this novella really packed a fierce emotional punch. Elias was such a believable character and my heart just wept for the hand life hand dealt him. Thomas was coping as best as he could and so often all of us tend to shut down our emotional needs in order to survive trauma—both of these guys had that, in spades. I am interested in seeing where this series leads and if it will continue to focus on Elias and Thomas or introduce others into the picture. For now, I can safely say that there was much to like about this novel and am eager to read more by this author.