Sam is taking out the trash behind his bar when a young man leaps into his arms and refuses to let go. Sam’s only able to get the man’s name, Tally, before he realizes how hurt Tally is. The hospital patches Tally up, but calls him by a different name, and then turns him loose. Knowing Tally has nowhere to go, Sam brings the clearly traumatized man home with him.
But when Tally spills his story, Sam knows the man must be delusional. Tally says they were lovers two thousand years ago, when Sam was someone else, and that Tally’s finally escaped from hell to find him. Sam refuses to take advantage of the clearly ill young man, but Tally refuses to be parted from Sam.
Tally learns about the world, continues to insist that his story is true, and constantly tries to get Sam to sleep with him. As the days go on, Sam starts to think Tally might be telling the truth. He feels connected to Tally in a way he can’t explain, and he’s drawn to him physically and emotionally. When certain things happen and Sam sees them with his own eyes, he knows that Tally isn’t lying. As their relationship deepens, Sam knows he wants forever with Tally. But there are forces that just might want to keep them apart.
I was intrigued by this story because of the reincarnation and reunited lovers storyline. Unfortunately, this book didn’t give me everything I was expecting. The writing style was a bit simplistic for my taste, and combined with the lack of depth to the narrative, it left me wanting.
The story is told almost exclusively through Sam’s third-person POV. And since this story is of his acceptance, that made sense. Sam is immediately shown as a kind-hearted person and it was easy to see how much he wanted to believe Tally. Not because he actually believes in the paranormal aspect or that he’s the reincarnated soul who used to be Tally’s, but because he wants to be loved for who he is. Tally’s claim on Sam feels good. And as the story progressed, little things kept adding up. Sam’s feelings grew, he was able to piece some things together, and he saw things he couldn’t deny. So even though the story barely scratched the surface, his journey pulled the narrative along.
Tally is a quirky character to say the least. He’s been trapped in hell for two thousand years, though it’s a not fire, brimstone, and suffering sort of hell. He took the opportunity to escape, and has now taken over a body. He’s learned things in hell, which can explain some of his knowledge, and he also has some of the body’s memories to reference. But for me, it was a bit strange that he was so wholly focused on sex and getting Sam into bed.
As I said, this story barely scratches the surface. Nothing gets too in depth, and the book suffers for it. Despite some of the heavy subject matter, like addiction and abuse, as well as some violence, it’s not too heavy on the angst. And while I think that worked to a degree, it also felt, at times, as though this story was a caricature of what it could be. The world building suffered here somewhat, which was disappointing. Considering the demons, the magic, and reincarnation, I expected more in this regard. The lack of concrete place, coupled with the lackluster world building, left me wanting.
Overall, this book was just okay for me. I was looking for more from this interesting premise, but the book failed to deliver. There were a lot of interesting plot points, and this book has a lot going on, but the author missed the mark by just glossing over certain aspects. I would only cautiously recommend this book to those who like paranormals, but are looking for a simple read and are ok without a lot of world building.