I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
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While I knew that Rory had some issues, I didn't realize what they were. This blurb makes me worried. Yes, I know this is a fictional character, but childhood trauma won't be easy to handle. And if this trauma is sexual in nature, I'll likely be crying.
Well, damn. I cried. Not just once.
In this 3rd installment of the Coming About series, we find out about Rory's story. Rory, who's steady and reliable, and kind of tends to fade into the background, even as big as he is, because nobody really sees behind his mask of jolliness, and nobody knows, not even Rory, what's making him so sad and feeling lonely.
I'd never heard of skin hunger, but then I googled that, and OMG. Cue the tears. To think that Rory craves touch, needs it like he needs food and water, but can't get it because he can't meet the expectations behind his wife's touches, was simply heartbreaking.
Rory, a photography teacher at a private school, is in therapy because his young marriage is failing miserably. He doesn't like sex, and his wife is demanding it. He can't perform in bed, doesn't get anything out of it, and he wants to get help to make it all better. Because that is the kind of person Rory is - he's there for others and doesn't ask for much himself.
While in therapy, the childhood trauma hinted at in the blurb comes to light.
Yep, cue the tears #2.
Stunned at having forgotten this horrific experience, Rory doesn't know how to deal, until his therapist makes a suggestion - stop all sexual activities, and find out what works for you.
Rory's wife Maia moves out, having expressed in a joined session that she's not strong enough to help him. WTF, Maia? That's your husband asking you for help with a traumatic incident that he's working through for your sake too? I found her reaction callous and uncaring, and good riddance to her.
Rory has a student in his class, Addison, through whom he meets Bennett Foster.
Bennett sees immediately that Rory is not the happy-go-lucky guy he pretends to be. Intrigued, he tries to get to know the man.
I absolutely loved the interactions between Bennett and Rory. Bennett seems to know exactly what Rory needs, and he holds back and lets the other man lead. Their relationship starts out very low-steam, more of a friendship, but blossoms over time as Rory finds out who he really is, what he really likes. It was simply beautiful to watch how Rory learns to ASK for what he needs, as he discovers what he really needs, and how Bennett was there every step of the way to provide it all. I liked that Rory's discovery of "I'm gay" wasn't a huge drama, that he had enough confidence to say "well, this is who I am, alright", and I loved how Bennett didn't fall into a major trap of questioning that discovery.
I also loved that Addison was a fully fleshed-out character, and her teenage angst and conflict rang true and authentic. She's a huge catalyst for Rory and Bennett's progress as well. Jessie, Bennett's best friend and baby-mama, also plays a big role, and she was well done too.
Overall, this is a sweet, somewhat quiet story about finding yourself, figuring out just who you are, overcoming a traumatic experience, and gaining your one true love. Through it all, even with the drama about Maia's brother, and the sadness with Addison's friend Sarah, the whole book has an overall tone of hope and light.
And so much love.
Superbly done; I couldn't put this down. While this can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend you read the entire series, in order, to get the full impact.
Now, JK Hogan, please write me a book about Neal Hesse, yeah? He needs a story too.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **