ebook, 176 pages
Published May 7th 2013
by Loose Id
Ryan Halloran's cousin Nick has been on a downhill slide for a long time. Despite that, Ryan does everything he knows to help. Ryan only understands part of what happened between Nick and Jack in high school, but after Nick's suicide, Ryan agrees both he and Jack need closure. They work together to clean the scene and despite the situation, heat flares between them.
Jack is keeping a painful secret and fighting his attraction to Nick's lookalike cousin, Ryan. Ryan calls himself a magnet for lost causes and worries Jack might be the next in a long line of losers. Despite his misgivings, despite the past and the mistakes they've both made, Jack gives Ryan something to look forward to, and Ryan gives Jack a reason to stop looking back, in Grime And Punishment.
You never know what you are going to get when you open a book. You might love it. You might hate it. You might think WTF or OMG or simply be unable to finish it. That's that great thing about books. So I opened this up. And loved it from the get go. I wasn't so sure what to make of Jack at first--he seemed so disconnected and cold. Almost like he was missing something. And he was. He really was. But Ryan helps him get it back.
Jack: He's a character who's stopped living. His experience with his ex Nick was so heart breaking, such a betrayal of love, loyalty, friendship, that Jack hasn't opened himself up to a single human being since. And now that he is broken in body thanks to an accident during a rescue, Jack is not only sick at soul, but physically less than the man he was once. As the book unfolds, we see how important fire fighting was to Jack, and how hard his recovery had been. And the more time Jack spends with Ryan, the more I came to understand that Jack wasn't a cold, dispassionate character, but a man who'd been too hurt to want to have genuine closeness with another person. It made perfect sense why he didn't do relationships. I was glad to see him unglue in that respect, to embrace warmth and love once again with Ryan. I was so glad he finally laid Nick to rest, emotionally speaking. And even though some of his friends act like jerks, in the end I was glad they had his back because thanks to them and Ryan, Jack finally has himself back again.
Ryan: OMG pure boyfriend material. Such a sweet, tender character. I totally get why Jack felt at ease around him, why he felt like himself again. Ryan is honest, caring, full of hope even though he says he knows he's fostering loss causes. He too, wants to help people. He too has been through a lot. I loved that he was so kind, well adjusted, so accepting of what he could do and what he couldn't, even though he sometimes felt like he should have done more, as in Nick's case. He was so clued into everything that I understand why he had some doubts about Jack. Looking so much like Nick, he didn't want to be the one on the fall out if what Jack saw in him was some replacement for Nick. And I loved that he was also willing to take a chance on Jack at the end. He kinda did, but then Jack was persistently patient. I just gotta say, I adore Ryan.
Z.A Maxfield wrote a beautiful story about life, honesty, and love. The writing is clean and pulls at your heart strings in places. I loved the way she handled this couple in the bedroom--so wide open one to one another, filled with such passion. Those scenes were key to zoning in on who these guys are, and that's how I love my steam best: hot and integral to the plot rather than just there to fire things up. I cannot wait to read more of this author. I would like to thank the publisher, Loose-Id for providing me with a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
4.5 glittering stars