endless, forever coverRating: 4 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Oliver Sasaki left England for California with his sibling, Leo, as soon as they were old enough to escape their mother’s clutches. The pair grew up with an absentee father and an abusive, religious fanatic mother determined to rid Oliver of his homosexuality through any means necessary. While Oliver took the brunt of her attacks, neither sibling made it to adulthood unscathed. Oliver is haunted by nightmares of his past, hiding his scars and unable to talk about the torture he endured, even to Leo. Both Oliver and Leo are drinking to excess and looking for ways to distract themselves from their trauma.

Oliver has never even considered a relationship, but he finds himself surprisingly drawn to adorable barista, Gabriel Bensaïd. The two men find an immediate connection and Oliver realizes he is actually interested in more with Gabe than just a hookup. As the months pass, the two men fall hard for one another, and Oliver is happy for the first time in a long while.

But Oliver has never processed his trauma, and when he is forced to face his past once again, it throws him into a tailspin. Oliver loves Gabe, but he also knows he is not good enough for the man in his current state. Now, Oliver has to accept that he needs help in order to find a way forward, and hopefully he will still have a chance with the man he loves.

Endless, Forever is an intense, dark story about a man who has suffered greatly and now has to find a way to move forward in his life. It is not always an easy story to read, but as always, Lindsey does such a great job building these characters that the story just drew me in. This book really deals with multiple intertwined elements that come together in one story. We have the romantic and relationship storyline between Gabe and Oliver as a key plot. But Oliver’s individual journey is a strong plot element as well, and often includes his sibling, Leo.

When the book opens, it is clear that neither Sasaki sibling is in a good place. Their wealthy father moved to America when they were young and left them with their mother. She is a conservative religious fanatic who had Oliver kidnapped by her church to have the “gay demon” exorcised from his body. Oliver was abused and tortured for a month under their hands and he has both physical and mental scars from the ordeal. (This is not recounted in detail, but do use caution if this is a sensitive area for you.) Oliver came out young enough that he was a focus of his mother’s abuse, but when he saw Leo as a teen in a skirt and lipstick, he knew he had to protect his sibling, even at his own expense.

It is clear early on that neither sibling has dealt with their trauma and they are both drinking too much. Leo is even further out of control and Oliver spends a lot of his time watching out for his sibling and bailing him out of trouble. Gabe encourages Oliver to give Leo some space to rise or fall on his own. He shows Oliver that he deserves his own happiness and Oliver begins to find that with Gabe. But it is clear that Oliver is not in a place where he can be a solid partner for Gabe. He still can’t talk about what happened to him and, when those dark thoughts come to the surface, he gets angry or freezes Gabe out. So even as we see these two men falling for each other and so happy with one another, it is obvious as a reader that the situation can’t last as it is. Oliver needs help and, until he gets it, he isn’t going to be able to be a real partner for Gabe.

The story then shifts gears as the Sasaki siblings both take time to work through their trauma. They come out better for it on the other side, but Oliver’s relationship with Gabe takes a toll. The front matter notes that the guys do break up and Oliver does have another partner while they are apart. However, for those who want specifics,

Spoiler title
the men are apart for several years by my timeline and both have other relationships in the meantime. We do see Oliver with his other boyfriend, both romantically and sexually.
I actually think it works well for the story, as this was just not the right time for Gabe and Oliver and, when they are reunited, they are both better for it. I do feel like the story ties up a little fast though. I would have liked more time with the men after they are back together to see how they move forward in a little more detail.

As I said, this one is intense and it is not always an easy read. There were times I just wanted to scream at Oliver to get himself to therapy (which he eventually does) and stop this spiral. But I really loved Gabe and Oliver and I was rooting for them to find their way. The ending we get is so sweet and rewarding and I was happy to see these men find their way back to one another.

Note: This version of the story was released in 2023 and is a slightly expanded version of original from 2016.

jay signature