Title : The Darker Side of Trey Grey Word Count : 111,720
Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance
Blurb : No one told Trey Grey that life could be dark and unpredictable. With the death of his father when he was eight, his mother’s departure from Earth on a syringe full of Heroin and the brutal abuse of his stepfather, Trey learned these lessons all too well on his own.
Now at twenty years of age, he is nearing the completion of his accounting degree and can finally glimpse the end of his life as a prostitute, the only profession he has ever known.
Wracked by nightmares of Willie’s years of abuse, and controlled by severe obsessive-compulsive disorders as a result, he seems to have a tentative handle on his own life. That is, as long as he keeps a death-grip and no one touches his Camaro, kitten.
But even the best laid plans can be torn to gory bits.
His savior comes in the unlikely form of a spiky-haired blond named Justin, after a night of drunken debauchery that neither of them seems able to forget. Justin might just need Trey as much as Trey needs him.
Trey travels through his fearscapes and begins to find his own forgiveness, but at what cost to the manic-depressive Justin? Will they be able to live through the trauma of each other’s lives and find their own version of normal?
My Review : Trey Grey looks like any other young man going to university on a scholarship. Only he isn’t, Trey has scars so deeply imprinted on his soul and some on his body. He moonlights as a prostitute and every john takes another piece of his sense of self. He doesn’t look at his penis as an extension of himself, but rather as a separate entity. He has had a horrific past filled with abuse and this warps his view of himself. Trey has severe OCD and his ticks are bodily fluids especially semen. His abusive past and being a prostitute definitely contributes to his behaviour. Trey sees himself as very dirty and there are certain rituals he has in place to lessen his uncleanliness. He masturbates out of necessity, rather than for enjoyment and it has to be done in his shower so that he can immediately wash down the evidence with bleach. It isn’t until he scrubs himself bloody and raw that he feels a modicum of sterility and purity.
Trey has a lot of pent up self recriminations for how his body would betray him at the height of culmination while his step father raped him. He gets flashes of his abuse on a nightly basis where he relives the horrors of his past through his nightmares. After having nocturnal emissions after one of his nightmares, Trey has a super meltdown which causes his OCD to kick in and he goes overboard with the scrub brush and the bleach all over his body. When he finally wakes up its five days after the fact and he is surrounded by the dean, his dorm supervisor and EMTs. Trey refuses to go to the hospital as he fears being put in a pysche ward for evaluation. One of the EMTS are very knowledgeable in OCD and he racks up brownie points in Trey’s book. Trey willingly accepts the help of the nurse and this helps during convalescence.
A tale of a boy’s stolen childhood unfolds when his dreams are hijacked by the phantoms and ghouls of his past. His abuse has shaped how Trey lives his life, shutting himself off from most human contact and no true friend. It is very hard for him to communicate as a normal young man, because nothing about him or his circumstances is normal. Up until he meets Justin, the first guy to ever rock his world sexually, he has never felt the need to have a connection with anyone. He tries to protect Justin by shielding him from the quagmire that is his everday life. He runs in the other direction without any explanation. Trey realizes that even after a week he still can’t forget about Justin who features in his dreams rather than his omnipresent nightmares. Trey’s therapist encourages him to explore the unknown of being in a relationship. He seeks Justin out only to find out that Justin is just as screwed up as himself. Justin is manic depressive and has insecurity issues. He has attempted suicide since Trey spurned him without an explanation. Can two people who are prone to self harm and self destruction forge a relationship ?
Justin opens new doors in Trey’s sexuality. He offers him experiences Trey never dreamed of owning. There is a playful side to Justin that helps to bring Trey into the world of the living. There is also a calmness about him that chases Trey’s demons back to hell. Trey might be a little broken, but he definitely has gumption and he has used his skills to survive and maintain his sanity. Being a prostitute might not be ideal and he is constantly judged. However, the most important thing is that he has survived years of abuse, not knowing any kind of comfort or love. Yet, he willingly puts Justin needs before his own and care for him like no other.
It is exhausting watching these two traipsing through the murky demon infested waters that is both their reality. They both have serious mental issues that is extremely taxing in different ways, but they keep on helping each other and being the backbone when the other is down. Their issues take a toll on their relationship when Trey realizes that he is spiraling out of control. The threads of their relationship starts to unravel when Trey refuses to give up his life of prostitution right away. When there is another occurence of self harm that lands him in the hospital, Trey realizes that it’s time to seek help and seriously open up to his therapist and Justin . All three of them decide to work in conjunction to get Trey to a mentally healthy and happy place.
Justin draws the most lurid detailed images of Trey in his nightmares. It allows Trey to see his horrors from another person’s perspective and this gives him a new handle on his abuse. It brings him a sense of peace to think that if he can help someone to speak up against child abuse, it would have all been worth it. He wants to be the face of his abuse so that maybe other people can take notice of what child abuse looks like. Justin and Trey bring out the best in each other. Although everyday is an uphill battle for them, they just have to trust in each other. Trey has to learn how to feel and enjoy for the first time consensual sex. Even when there is a kink that he thinks pushes him past his limits. Trey revels in the beauty of their passion for each other. Trey and Justin are very complicated and needy together, but apart they are destructive in their own right. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.
It takes a lot of strength and courage to move beyond child abuse. I pray for all those survivors and all those who have endured any form of abuse, it is the ultimate violation. Hopefully, with every single person that speaks out, another demon can be vanquished.