In college, Jax was a closeted athlete being tutored by Wilder. Their relationship became intimate and Jax was in love with Wilder. However, Jax knew his family would never approve and when a family tragedy occurred, he left school without a word, leaving Wilder devastated and wondering what happened to him.
It’s been nine years and Wilder has never forgotten Jax. He never knew what happened to him and although Wilder has tried to have other relationships, he can’t move on from Jax. As a writer, Wilder now has a bestselling novel based on his relationship with Jax, but Wilder never thought Jax would read it.
When a fan email lands in Wilder’s inbox, he starts regularly communicating with the sender, not knowing that it is really Jax on the other end. Jax knows he has to tell Wilder who he is, but he’s afraid he will lose Wilder for good, When the truth comes out, there may be too much hurt between them to move forward.
I enjoyed one book that I read by this author and was looking forward to reading this new release. The blurb for this book is an excerpt of one of the messages Jax and Wilder send to each other and doesn’t offer more on what the story is about. I do enjoy the style and the feel of Johnson’s writing, but had I known more of what this story was about, I may not have selected it, as I had a difficult time with much of the foundation.
The book opens with Jax and Wilder in college and we only see a small glimpse of them together. Wilder isn’t exactly out, although he can’t hide who he is, but Jax firmly tells him no one can know about their relationship. Jax then has a family tragedy, doesn’t return to school, and never says anything further to Wilder, he just disappears. Wilder has not been able to move on, claims he didn’t know Jax’s home address, and hasn’t known all these years whether Jax is even alive. It’s not that difficult to find someone, however, even if you have no intention of contacting them.
Jax now lives with his mother and brother who he helps care for. His mother is religious and Jax feels that the family tragedy was punishment for his relationship with Wilder and he has been repenting ever since, which includes denying who he is and dating women. Through a series of events, Jax and Wilder start communication by email under false pretenses. Wilder thinks he is emailing with a fan and the conversation quickly turns overly personal for an author thinking he is conversing with a reader and I had a difficult time with the entire premise of this story.
Wilder then has to see if he can let himself trust Jax again and for all the years that had gone by and all that they both had suffered, it was all a little too easy for me, both in their relationship and how Jax’s story played out. Not that I wanted to see them suffer more, but they had suffered for so long and how it played out didn’t have the same impact. I was led to believe there would be this emotional revelation when they got together again and it just wasn’t there for me.
I still do like this author’s tone and I would be open to trying something else that was more in line with my tastes. The story here wasn’t the one for me, but if you like second chances and the struggle for a character to accept who they are, this might work for you.