Elian has been riding the rails alone for the past two years. He had a friend in Tyler, but Elian has struggles and has lost the anchors that make life bearable and the more he runs, the more he struggles. Elian feels completely alone, but Tyler has not stopped searching for him.
Tyler won’t stop looking until he knows that Elian is safe. Tyler knew he was falling for Elian, but what he was feeling was new to him and he didn’t know if Elian felt the same. He also didn’t want to scare Elian away. Although Tyler knows he wants more with Elian, he would be happy simply having his friend back and knowing Elian is safe. All of Tyler’s rider friends want to help as well, but Elian doesn’t do well as the number of people around him increases. Tyler has always felt alone too, as he has no family, but he has to realize that his friends have become his family. Tyler’s feelings for Elian run deep and he knows that his new family won’t be complete without Elian by his side.
Tyler and Elian’s story picks up in book two of Nicky James’ Rail Riders series and I am enjoying this entire group and their adventures train hopping. Tyler and Elian were introduced in the first book, End of the Line, and I feel this series does work best reading in order.
We knew from the first book that Elian has been missing and while Dodger suspects foul play, Tyler never gave up Elian. Tyler became a little obsessive in his quest to find Elian and rode the rails alone in dangerous weather to get his answers. While Tyler is now dangerously broke, he has found Elian and that’s all that matters to him.
Elian is twenty-three and has a severe anxiety disorder that results in selective mutism. The most important person in his world was taken from him and everything is a struggle. His story is heartbreaking, and he’s been alone so long that he can’t find his way back, but Tyler is the lifeline he needs. For Tyler, he has no home to go back to like his rider friends. Growing up in foster care, he never had a family to call his own and his abandonment issues are real. He always feels like he’s on the outside of the group and he sees a kindred spirit in Elian.
Tyler and Elian have never dated and being attracted to someone is new to both of them. Their exploration of each other is hesitant and soft, careful and soothing. They have no plan for the future besides wanting to be together, but Elian comes to realize that he needs to put in more work on himself now that he is an adult and he takes difficult steps to gain himself some stability.
This is one of my favorite series from Nicky James for the atmosphere of the rail riding and the found family. Tyler and Elian’s story feels young and tentative, but their bond is strong and it’s possible to see them as life-long partners. The ending was exactly as I expected it to be, but I was also looking for something just a little more at the end. Dodger’s story is up next, and I look forward to reading about his adventures on the rails and catching up with the entire group once again.