Daniel Whitlock is terrified of going to sleep. And rightly so: he sleepwalks, with no awareness or memory of his actions. Including burning down Kenny Cooper’s house—with Kenny inside it—after Kenny brutally beat him for being gay. Back in the tiny town of Logan after serving his prison sentence, Daniel isolates himself in a cabin in the woods and chains himself to his bed at night.
Like the rest of Logan, local cop Joe Belman doesn’t believe Daniel’s absurd defense. But when Bel saves Daniel from a retaliatory fire, he discovers that Daniel might not be what everyone thinks: killer, liar, tweaker, freak. Bel agrees to control Daniel at night—for the sake of the other townsfolk. Daniel’s fascinating, but Bel’s not going there.
Yet as he’s drawn further into Daniel’s dark world, Bel finds that he likes being in charge. And submitting to Bel gives Daniel the only peace he’s ever known. But Daniel’s demons won’t leave him alone, and he’ll need Bel’s help to slay them once and for all—assuming Bel is willing to risk everything to stand by him.
Have you ever seen firewalkers? I’ve seen them in movies and for some reason, I think of firewalking when I close my eyes and think of this story. Let me explain. Walking barefooted on hot coals requires strength, courage, and faith. Daniel and Bel are strong, courageous and build a relationship on trust. And the reader must be willing to dig deep and have complete confidence in Henry and Rock. I know I’m in capable hands when I begin any of their creations because I’ve happily exchanged a piece of my heart for one of their books before. This was not an easy read by any means. It was not pleasant or fluffy. Quite frankly, it hurt and then it hurt in double measure. I don’t read horror and even though this is not horror it certainly had horrifying moments. I was anxious and scared. I was angry, sad, and sorry. I was also…full of hope. This story consumed me. I was gripped by each and every word while reading and once I closed my kindle they followed me into the real world. I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I fought the urge to flip to the end, just to ensure they received the ending I felt they deserved. And then when I finally made it to the last page (without cheating), I read the ending over and over again, until I could almost recite it word for word. I don’t know about you, but that right there is exactly what I think an extraordinary book should do.
Daniel. A dangerous lamb. He is misunderstood and severely misguided. No one has ever taken the time to peel back the layers holding him together…until Bel. He’s the town outcast, disowned by his family and he disgusts everyone, including himself. His sleepwalking is an uncontrollable force…until Bel. His subconscious sought revenge and he’s been paying the piper ever since. His sentence might have been cut short but he’s far from free. When he burned Kenny’s house and Kenny, the flames torched his life as well. The coals have been simmering ever since. And no one has dared to walk over them…until Bel.
Bel. The watchful lion. Daniel caught his eye many moons ago but that was before. Before the beautiful older boy he admired lost his mind. Before Bel became a cop and took an oath with a badge and everything linked to a proud piece of metal. Bel lives in a small town with some small minds, he’s not out and has no grand plans to declare his heart to anyone. Until Daniel captures his focus once more and this time, he’s determined to discover the truth about Daniel Whitlock. Daniel ignites something deep inside Bel. He suddenly finds himself willing to do just about anything for the man. But as the days slip by and twilight looms he wonders if courage is enough to protect them.
Their love blossoms even with the darkness and demons. Their love grows despite the haters and doubters. Their love strengthens every time Daniel takes another step out of the living hell he’s trapped in. It was glorious and gratifying to witness. Daniel is certain Bel is responsible for each milestone reached but the truth is, Bel simply believes in Daniel. His faith is the driving force that reminds Daniel who he truly is and what he can do. He can be a kind neighbor and loving brother. He can be a generous boyfriend and passionate lover. He can submit out of desire rather than need. He may not be totally fearless but he is no longer controlled by his fears. And I was so damn proud of him, them.
I don’t know what to tell you…there’s a lot to unpack here. Deep sleep rules Daniel… delirium, and hallucinations blur with reality. A hunger for pain walks the line of BDSM…yet luckily Bel sees Daniel and knows he doesn’t truly want to hurt, only feel. And roughneck bullies bulldoze their way to cutthroat premeditation. In the face of ALL of this, they have honest and pure love buoyed by humble dreams.
If you’re ever been enthralled by brave souls willing to face flames, why not take a chance on this spellbinding tale? Although…maybe have the burn kit ready, just in case.
TITLE: When All the World Sleeps
AUTHOR: Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock
LENGTH: 360 pages
RE-RELEASE DATE: May 6, 2021
BUY LINKS: Amazon