Danny and Mike by Valentina Heart

Title : Danny and Mike                    Word Count :80,210

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Sometimes love can be found in the most unlikely places, or so Danny discovers once he finds himself in a bar brawl. With a life of abuse behind him, he’s more than ready for a new, happier start and Mike seems to be exactly what his damaged soul needs.

With a completely different background, Mike is close to a ray of sunshine. Always optimistic and happy, he anchors Danny and shows him life can be about love instead of hate.

But chapters of the past are rarely completely closed, and once Danny’s nightmares come back into his life he has to make a choice—to fight or to save the one who showed him life is worth living.

CONTENT ADVISORY: This title contains a HFN ending, violence and explicit rape scenes. These dark subjects, including but not limited to abuse, rape and non-consent sexual acts, are not in any way meant for titillation, but may be a trigger for some people.

My Review : It’s pretty clear to see from the moment we meet Danny that he has led a horrendous abusive life. It’s almost as if taking abuse is second nature for him. It is heartbreaking how happy he is to be free, something that should be a god given right, but for him freedom seems to be a luxury. He is afraid of the dark and shadows, he has chilling nightmares that leaves him  screaming every night. We get tiny glimpses from flashes in his life from the year 2006 to 2012. We see the fear that controlled his life in the beginning starts dissolving. He becomes  a more self assured young man after religiously taking self defense classes where he learns how to take back the upper hand if he is ever attacked again.  He gains a lot of self confidence  anx assurance from being around other survivors of abuse like himself. 

 Fate has a way of leading our lives in the right direction and sets the course of action. One night after work , Danny goes into a bar and is met at the door with a fist to his face. Unknowingly,  he walks into a bar room brawl. Danny immediately crouched under a table, but a body flies out of nowhere knocking into him, bruising his ribs and breaking Danny’s arm. Danny is so tiny and this causes him a world of hurt. He notices how handsome the big blond stranger is , but he is so scared. He is not sure if the stranger belongs to the group of homophobic pricks who are tearing up  the gay bar. When Mr. Handsome starts to rouse, Danny has a knife at his throat before he can even blink. The stranger, Mike, sees the fear on Danny’s face and reassures him that they are on the same side. Mike picks up Danny who is in increasingly more pain, sneaks out of the bar and takes him to the hospital. 

Mike stays with Danny while he is at the hospital  and he feels the need to protect Danny. He offers to stay with him and help him out while he heals from his broken arm. Danny is hesitant , but there is something about Mike that pulls him in. Mike makes Danny feel really comfortable and before they know it, Danny is blossoming under his attention. It’s the first time Danny has ever truly felt  attraction to another man. He feels really safe doing every day couple things for the first time. Danny has never had a boyfriend and they both have a certain level of intimacy with each other that they have never felt with anyone else. The sex between them is breathtaking and it is really wondrous seeing Danny come alive in a sexual relationship. For the first time he experiences sex as it should be between two consenting adults. He chooses to own that feeling rather than the abuse and rape that he has endured before.

All too soon , their idyllic bliss comes to an end. Danny’s abuser kidnaps him and seriously hurts Mike. When Mike regains conciousness he is in the hospital with a vicious scar on his face. He does everything within his power to try to find Danny. Once again Danny is exposed to the cruelty of humanity. He is brought to the brink of desolation with the horrendous acts that is done to him. His abuser is a vile , nasty animal who does unspeakable things to Danny. When Danny is finally rescued he is a shell of his former self. He has recoiled from everything good in his life especially Mike who he does not want to taint with his ‘dirtiness’. Mike tries really hard to understand and he gives him all the love that he deserves.  This was really poignant, because it shows how abuse not only hurts the victims, but the people who love them.   The book ends with Danny still trying to find his way back to the loving arms of Mike and healing one day at a time. This was my first from this author and I can’t wait to see what else she has to offer. I give this my ratings of 5 – bring out the vibrators.