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Life can change in the blink of an eye. That’s a truth Andy Slater learns as a young man in 1982, taking the Chicago ‘L’ to work every morning. Andy’s life is laid out before him: a good job, marriage to his female college sweetheart, and the white picket fence existence he believes in. But when he sees Carlos Castillo for the first time, Carlos’s dark eyes and Latin appeal mesmerize him. Fate continues to throw them together until the two finally agree to meet up. At Andy’s apartment, the pent-up passion of both young men is ignited, but is snuffed out by an inopportune and poorly-timed phone call.
Flash forward to present day. Andy is alone, having married, divorced, and become the father of a gay son. He’s comfortable but alone and has never forgotten the powerful pull of Carlos’s gaze on the ‘L’ train. He vows to find him once more, hoping for a second chance. If life can change in the blink of an eye, what will the passage of thirty years do? To find out, Andy begins a search that might lead to heartache and disappointment or a love that will last forever.
One of the many things I love about Rick’s stories is how honest they are. It’s almost as if an undercurrent of integrity vibrates from the pages. Not to say his characters are flawless, they are as perfect as you and I. But it IS their imperfections that I find so endearing. This story is no exception. You should know that this tale is…personal. It’s not simply a fictional gay romance, it is laced with reality.
While it is told in two parts by two MC’s, it flows exceptional well. The first part takes place three decades ago and felt like flashbacks or pristine protected memories brought into the light. It should also be noted that this is more of a journey than a romance. Moments become memories and memories piece us together.
Two young men cross paths and a connection is formed within a blink of the eye. Andy is weeks away from his wedding….to a woman. It’s not a lie that he loves her, but the life he dreams about is not coinciding with life he is living. In a lust filled moment of weakness (or perhaps truth), he brings the stranger from the train back to his place. Yet, fate intervenes and a cockblocking phone call from mother dearest derails their passion before it has a chance to reach its crescendo. Andy puts his game face on and steers himself back to the future he believes is best for him. Best. Such a double-edged sword.
I found it easy to connect with Andy. He is warm, sweet-natured and vibrant. Though he may not agree, I believe he’s a quiet, thoughtful wallflower that sparkles more than he vanishes. Carlos was everything Andy wanted. I don’t think he was at the right place at the wrong time because their magnetic attraction was significant at that precise moment in Andy’s life. As painful as it was, Andy needed that disastrous hook-up to linger, to hold on to, to cherish.
Reed is not one to shy around daring subject matter such as HIV/AIDS, religion and grieving the loss of a loved one. Per usual, they are all handled straightforward but with care. I never felt as though there was…too much or too little, it was balanced. I felt the secondary cast was strong and I’m kinda in love with Tate.
Fate’s hand touches their path once more. I for one, very much believe that everything happens for a reason. You may not find the answers for years, or decades, but they eventually materialize. While it’s important to live in the moment, it’s also essential to not forget your past. We have different seasons in our life and need to treasure every one of them…every single one. Follow your heart and fate’s footprints and you will end up exactly where you are destined to be.
Thank you for sharing your story Rick and I’m overjoyed that you found your happily-ever-after.
Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 23, 2015
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner