…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
Derek Sawyer thinks he has it all—a high-salaried position, a boyfriend, a dog, even a new cabin on the lake—until a business trip with his manager and best friend, Victor, shatters his world.
One night of drunken horsing around in their hotel room leads to the most intensely personal violation Derek has ever endured. As if the humiliation of working under his attacker every day isn’t enough, Victor reports Derek for sexual harassment. Now he’s without a job, without a boyfriend, and the mortgage on the cabin is due.
Officer Russ Thomas has worked with rape victims before, and it doesn’t take him long to sort out the truth in Derek’s tale. With his support, Derek finally reports the crime, months after it happened. But restraining orders and lawyers further Victor’s anger toward him, and even though a relationship develops between Derek and the policeman, Russ can’t be there to protect him all the time.
Reviewing books is not easy for me. On a good day I have trouble getting my thoughts together in a coherent manner. I always feel like if people could just see me and talk to me about a book, they’d get it… they’d understand what I’m trying to say. When a book comes a long like this one, where there are trigger warnings, issues with abuse, co-dependency, struggling to fight through the pain of being violated in any way, I have an even harder time getting my thoughts out. It’s also hard for me to really like a book like this because it’s not a happy romance or love story. There is a relatively happy ending, and things get better. But as is stated in the book, someone who’s gone through a rape will never be “over it”. They’ll never get past the tightness in their chest, or the anxiety that comes in certain situations. For me as the reader, I’ll never get past the feeling of sadness. Books like these stick with me for a long time after. I was sad and depressed a lot in the last day of reading it and only after I finished it and had some laughs with friends did I start to feel like I could come back and write about it.
But now, sitting here, trying to do just that…trying to write about this book, the words aren’t coming easily. While I didn’t feel emotionally connected to any of the characters, I felt emotionally connected to the content. The story spans many months and has a focus on not just Derek as he goes through this violation and trying to come out of it, but it also has a focus on Russ as he try to navigate dating and finding someone he can love that will love him the same way he wants to love them. It’s not about sex so much as it is about connection, and Russ needs that connection desperately. Touching, holding, caressing… and it’s something that Derek is not able to give him. Not for along time, for obvious reasons.
I liked the way they tried, for the most part, to communicate the issues with each other. I liked that this was thoughtful and real. At times it felt too disconnected but, that might just be me not wanting to be too involved in the characters because of the hurt. Some parts do drag a bit, but I think part of that was also me and wanting the story to get moving because I was trapped in this complete feeling of sorrow for both of these men. So overall I liked the story because of the way the violation as dealt with. It’s not easily swept under the rug, or “solved”. But part of me still struggled a lot with he tone of the writing… like it was told in monotone. Like it was being told to me, rather than me experiencing it. So I liked it… kind of.