Successful underwear model Scott Ashworth is lucky—his attack at the hands of an unknown assailant will leave no visible scars. His professional goals are still within reach, and best of all, his stepbrother Rylan Mahoney is back in his life, their teenage infatuation at last getting the chance to deepen into something more.
Thrown together by the circumstances of Scott’s injury, Rylan’s long-dormant feelings for him are quickly rekindled, though he’s haunted by the memory of Scott’s disappearance on the night of his eighteenth birthday and the six missing years that followed. Rylan pushes Scott for the truth, a firm believer in the maxim that secrets lose their power once they’re shared—but resurrecting old demons almost always comes with a price.
Before Scott knows it, his life is spiraling out of control, his toxic insecurities welling up to threaten the fragile relationship he’s building with Rylan. Learning to let go of the past and believe in himself will be Scott’s greatest challenge, or else he risks losing Rylan forever this time.
Wow. This was difficult but rewarding in the end. Scott and Rylan are reunited in the first book and unforeseen circumstances bring them closer together. Scott endures a vicious attack. He needs someone and he can thank his lucky star Rylan is up for the task. Rylan is fighting his own struggles and Scott may not be a knight in shining armor but he can help. He wants to tip the balance a bit back in his favor, he doesn’t like relying on anyone. Life has taught him he can’t count on anyone but himself…and his best friend. Minh is pivotal in Scott’s life. I have mixed feelings when it comes to Minh. I think I lacked any solid connection with Minh and anticipate his story next, so I hope that changes!
Essentially, this part of Scott and Rylan’s story focuses on their fragile relationship. Scott has never had a real relationship before and WANTS this strange new…neediness, unlike anything he has every desired in his life. But he knows himself. He is going to destroy it. So it’s better to walk away before he allows it to go too far. Ha! Doesn’t he understand that was never an option with Rylan? He yearns to feel as though he deserves such a pure and genuine partner, but he can’t see past the blemishes in the mirror. He’s still broken. His pieces haven’t been mended yet. Rylan begs him to…see what he sees. But he can’t. And they are doomed if they continue the path they are currently walking.
Tough decisions must be made.
Tough love is put to the test.
Tough times forge unbreakable bonds.
The story continues as if only a breath was needed to finish a sentence. It’s intense from the very first page. I was bombarded with emotions as I read. The most prevalent was my anxiety. I was so nervous for them. They take beating after beating (some self-induced) and though they fly at times, they tend to crash more than they soar. You will have to work for this one, for it’s not easily given. Melanie has trademark angst. I crave her powerful stories but they also warrant preparation and planning. Her words are potent, have kick-back and often end with a hangover. Hurt so good? Yes indeed.
Rylan loves Scott SO hard. Almost too hard. He is overcompensating because Scott has been denied love for his entire life. And though he is surrounded by people and fans, they all come with strings attached. Rylan is the first and only person to give something to Scott freely. He does not place any demands. He has no expectations. He simply loves with no limitations. Scott wants Rylan but he suffers from mental disorders that convince him to sabotage his happiness.
I loved Rylan’s project. I loved the Native American influence. I loved Rylan’s confidence in their love. I loved Scott’s growth and healing. And I loved the ending most of all.
I believe this could have been stronger with….less. It was nearly double the first book and might have benefited to a similar word count. It felt repetitive at times which only added to the…frustrations of their relationship. There is also a menage scene that wasn’t a favorite of mine. I didn’t feel it’s importance and would have preferred to eliminate it. I just wanted them to be together without so many obstacles.
Spectrum Night fans will most definitely want to read this. It’s actually imperative as a follow up to Pieces of Me. Just don’t expect it to be…easy.