Title : Violence Begets…. Word Count : 282 pgs
Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance
Blurb : After a tragic accident devastates his family, 16-year-old Rick St. James starts his junior year of high school without any friends in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. When he meets Kevin Vincent, he’s too distracted by the promise of new friends to see that Kevin has secrets of his own.
Having created an environment where he’s feared and admired by his classmates, Kevin finds pleasure in using his good looks and violence to control and manipulate those around him. Secretly, he cruises the gay club scene, turning tricks to earn money so he can party and get high.
As Rick’s dad becomes increasingly violent and abusive at home, the two form a surprising and volatile trust. In this battle of wills, their precarious friendship will either keep their lives from blowing up around them or possibly light the fuse that will cause the explosion.
My Review : This was a heartwrenching story about two teenage boys forging their love through the fires of hell.Their relationship is a dysfunctional mess that you are not sure if you want to champion it or dissolve it for both of their sakes. Kevin likes to control every situation and holds the upper hand with his merry band of delinquents. He plays head games and rules with an iron fist so that he comes off as a tough guy. Deep down inside he is a scared tortured little boy who doesn’t know what love is. He takes in the new kid Rick, thinking that he would be an easy target who would dance to his tune. Although he is malleable, Rick doesn’t conform to most of Kevin’s plans. He poses a challenge and soon it turns into an obsessive game for Kevin to get Rick into his bed and seduced by his dominance. Rick fights this surprising attraction for Kevin for awhile, but Kevin expects this reaction and he whittled away until he hooks Rick.
Although Rick is still not comfortable to identify as gay, his connection with Kevin is so strong, it’s undeniable. He is the only one that has seen the sweet, gentle side of Kevin, he has also seen the horrible monsters that lurk inside his home. He realized that they can both relate to having abusive fathers. They have an affinity to each other that is based on the physical and emotional pain they have had to endure. They have both seen the horrors that can be perpetrated by the people who should love us unconditionally , our parents. The violence that they have internalized, overwhelm them at times causing them to hurt innocent people. They are characters that have been sullied by the horrendous acts that they have experienced. Their bond is sustained through the pain and desolation of the scars left by their fathers.
Both Kevin and Rick are carrying some heavy baggage. Rick’s father blames him for his brother’s death and suggests that it should have been Rick who perished. The father is becoming increasingly more violent and brutalize his body with a belt frequently. Kevin’s pious father uses him as a punching bag. He beats him up at least once or twice per week since he was seven. It is really sad to see how immune these two young men have become to the atrocities inflicted by their fathers. Kevin is so adept at dealing with the pain, that he just shuts down his mental faculties as a means of self preservation and endures hour long beatings by his father.
The turbulence that’s in their souls does not ease once they get together as a couple. It doesn’t take much to imbalance their precarious realities. If all they know is violence, can love ever truly be a part of their lives? Kevin spirals out of control when one of his twink hookups recognizes him. He hurts the innocent guy pretty badly, when he tries to out him. Rick tries to get the situation under control by revealing his love for Kevin . This stops Kevin in his tracks and he runs off and goes on a drug binge. I feel saddened and sickened for this poor young man who has so much potential, but his heart is warped by violence.
Rick and Kevin’s relationship turns toxic , but only because Rick tries to push Kevin away to protect their secret love. It becomes a tragic love story when Kevin’s dad catches them kissing. For the first time ever, they decide to protect each other, but this only causes Rick to become a target. Kevin’s father beats Rick senseless and he ends up in the hospital where he flatlines. Kevin is lost without Rick and after confronting his father , he committed suicide by overdosing on drugs, not knowing that Rick had been resuscitated. Kevin missed out on his chance of exploring the undying love that Rick would feel for him for years to come.
The truth finally came out about both their fathers and they were punished. But the horrors that they inflicted on their sons can never be undone. This was truly a tale of love and life lost. Rick ended up becoming a counselor, but he was never able to get over the only man who ever loved him and who he loves unreservedly. Violence begat ….. love. I give this my ratings of 4 – for leaving me emotionally drained and giving me the fortitude to embrace love.
Quotes : 1. “When he goes to hit you, let your muscles go as limp as possible. The more you tense, the more your muscles contract and the force of the blow will be worse.”He let that sink in before rolling onto his back again, and resuming his cold stare-off with the ceiling. “It’s not going to get much better between now and when you get out of here,”he said after several minutes of silence. “The best you can hope for is to roll with the punches, literally. Then we’ll leave and won’t have to deal with any of this shit anymore.” ( It is very sad when victims have to resort to these coping techniques against lifelong abuse.)
2. “You will not make any,”he threatened calmly. He wrapped his hand around my small finger and I stared at him in dismay. His eyes, calculating and cold, betrayed nothing. I tried to pull away, but his grip tightened even more. His stare bore into mine as I slowly felt the tension on my hand increase, and then the searing pressure finally gave and my finger snapped back. I slammed my head back into the wall and bit my lip to keep from crying out. He enclosed my ring finger in his hand and repeated the slow, painful process of breaking it. My free fist flew to my mouth and I bit down to keep from screaming. My mind started scrambling for focus. He smiled but didn’t release me. He wrapped his fingers around my middle finger. “Next time I will break every one of your fingers,”he said gently before he released my hand and walked away.( Sometimes the monsters don’t only lurk in closets, they are the living , breathing ‘upstanding’ fathers. Such a betrayal of trust when your abuser is your father.)
3. “Just like the bruises, people only see what they wanna see. And if they see more, they would much rather hear a sugar-coated lie than the ugly truth that’s staring at ’em.”
….. “You see, people don’t want to believe there are monsters living next door, that there are innocent kids screaming for help. They want to believe the story of the dashing businessman rising to the occasion after the drug-addicted mother runs away. Even to the fuckers who work in the system, it’s just one more case to add to their already overworked asses. They don’t fucking care. Nobody does.
( This is so true and sadly it is more common than we would like to believe. Let’s open our eyes and see the different forms of abuse, we need to look deeper and see the true faces of the abusers. )