My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Expected publication: September 15th 2012 by TPG Books
Edition Language English
Afflicted by love’s madness all are blind. – Sextus Propertius
--I’m a lousy human. I didn’t want to read about a blind guy and a gay prostitute, but when Brandon Shire approached me and asked me to review his new book I was flattered. As a new blogger I thought, wow, someone discovered me. So, I looked into some of his other books (I glanced at his ratings on GR) and decided, “Okay, I can give this a shot.”. Since this was my first read and review of a Brandon Shire book I honestly went into it expecting very little. I didn't really care for the cover and also, no one had recommended him to me before, so what could I be missing, really?
The question hung like flypaper swirling in the air, all the dead carcasses a tribute to that particular twist in life called consequences, which in this case remained unspoken.
I was blown away immediately. The writing style had a heavily descriptive tone and I was instantly walking alongside the characters, feeling the setting. There were moments where I really had to dig for understanding, because I was both; learning the author’s elocution, and because he made me reach to grasp a weighty concept.
I was just beginning to realize that this somewhat demanding writing style would require more concentration and effort than I usually give a “typical” romantic read, when the dialog began. I was delighted to find an easily readable, relatable tone that wasn’t pretentious. The characters were as comfortable to listen to as the descriptive narrative was beautiful. A very enjoyable combination.
Maybe he had been using the stink of independence to cover up his loneliness.
Hunter Stephens – Strong, sexy and fiercely masculine, Hunter is not what I expected in a blind main character. Independent despite his blindness, or more accurately, because of it. He is confident, coherent and extremely cognitive. Yet, he is wary. He doesn’t want empathy. He wants to be treated as a man. He wants to be “taken” as a man.
…and wondered what it would be like to wake up next to someone like him and not feel like an accessory, not feel…disposable.
Dillion – He is beautiful, surprising and secretive. Overcoming the worst in human nature, he remains hopeful and wanting. Despite his successes he finds himself in an endless loop. He wants to leave the circumference and grab at something in the middle.
Look at my gay blind friend, aren’t I so socially forward?
A man who has always been treated as delicate, fragile and vulnerable needs to know he’s just a man. Another man gives him his strength; unabashedly powerful sex is an intro to a deeper connection.
As I said earlier, I wasn't really into the premise, but I couldn't have been more wrong. This isn't at all about a weak, afflicted blind guy. It's about two strong men, two fighters trying to find out if they can let go. Two men taking a difficult step forward to learn whether or not they can be what each other needs.
I was simultaneously thrown into the subcultures of gay prostitution and blindness. Somehow, Shire found a way to beautify and romance me, despite myself. I was overwhelmed with butterflies. I cried. I laughed and I learned, about me.
…he wrapped himself around Hunter like a soft vice of hard passion.
Raw, descriptive, erotic as hell. The sex struck me as "a man's POV", which was fine with me. It was all the more gritty and in-your-face (often literally). Some of the terminology did make me a bit uncomfortable but it fits the story. Maybe I just need to get out more.
What would his feet be like trapped in boots all day? Hunter wondered. Not rank, no; a slight vinegar smell, like chips, only with a more sensual under-tongue taste.
Possibly the most surprising aspect of the book, for me, was how even at the very end, the last two pages, I was experiencing a racing heartbeat and tummy flips. That NEVER happens for me. I was ready to scream at the lack of conclusion but now realize the story continues. The story stops in a good place but, I, for one, can not wait to read more about Hunter and Dillion and more, much more, from Brandon Shire.
My thanks to Brandon Shire for providing me with a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.