Shattered (Phoenix Club 3) by CJ Bishop

Title: Shattered                   Word Count: 106 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb: Abel, Part 3

Abel’s heart is crushed by Devlin’s vehement rejection and refusal to believe the truth about his brother. With the threat of prison hanging over him, Abel is sent away with Horatio Kaplan to Italy for safe keeping.

Certain he has lost Devlin forever, and broken by the reality that he has devastated Devlin’s life, Abel takes an unexpected comfort in Kaplan when the man begins to show sincere care and affection for him. 

Warning: This book contains homosexual relations and language not suitable for readers below 17yo.

NOTE: For those coming across the ‘Phoenix Club’ series sporadically, they were written in this order, and if possible, should be read accordingly, due to story lines that run through all the books :

ABEL

CALEB

ANGEL

GABRIEL

MAXWELL
My Review: Having lost everything, Abel allows himself to be whisked away on a private jet with Kaplan to parts unknown. Abel is devoid of all emotion now that Devlin had forsaken him. Devlin himself is also in a world of hurt. He tries to detach himself from his feelings for Abel and concentrate on doing his duty as Savannah’s doctor. Cole and Gabe wish they could do more to help their friend Abel. It is Gabe who is the impartial voice of reason, telling Cole to give Devlin some time to process,  before going to talk to him. Cole wants to protect Abel and make sure that Devlin doesn’t send him to prison. Gabe realize that these two innocent men, Abel and Devlin are being crucified by  the actions of a monster.

The lines are being blurred in Abel’s arrangement with Kaplan when the man starts treating him more like a person rather than a trophy. Although Abel still mourns for the love lost, he finds a measure of release from his pain in Kaplan’s presence. On the other hand , Devlin finds no peace during his days. The look on Abel’s face when he tore him down is on a constant loop running through his brain. His subconcious also tortures him with long ago suppressed memories of his interactions with his brother that comes in the form of dreams. These dreams conflict with the idea of the idolized brother that Devlin remembers. His dreams remind him of a brother who was too willing to teach him how to masturbate when he was thirteen. Some of his brothers actions are borderline inappropriate. Devlin’s convoluted thoughts make him sick to his stomach as doubts begin to form. 

Now that the vault holding his memories has been cracked open, more and more questionable memories keep on popping up in Devlin’s brain. It’s driving him crazy,paired with the longing he still feels deep down in his soul for Abel. He gleans information about Abel from eavesdropping at Savannah’s door. He learns that Abel is out of the country with a man named Kaplan. It pains Devlin to think about Abel being with another man and he feels disloyal to his brother for even thinking about Abel at all.

Abel gets a little bit lost in the old world romantic feel that Italy offers. He doesn’t think Kaplan is so bad once he starts enjoying his company. Kaplan is very worldly and he explains the history of the beautiful place to Abel, his captivated audience. It doesn’t take long for the illusion to be torn and reality of his situation sets back in. It is Kaplan who encourages him to go back and fight for the man he loves. It is clear that Kaplan feels some sort of affection for Abel and aside from paying him twenty thousand dollars , he never treated him like a whore.

Meanwhile, Devlin has been waging a never-ending war between his emotions and his  memories. It is now solidified in his mind that his brother was indeed a child molester. This is corroborated by his best friend who he hasn’t seen in years. When he runs into him at a restaurant and they start catching up, Brandon has the same look as Abel when he talks about his dead brother, a look of relief. Devlin can no longer hide from reality when his own memories are pointing to the same truth, his brother was a monster.

On the day of Savannah’s release from the hospital, Devlin is shocked when he walks in and sees Abel. He can’t bear to look at his sweet tortured boy so he runs away. Since running away seems to be the theme with these two, their friends set a trap for them in mid-air on Kaplan’s jet. Finally, with all the walls broken down they both acknowledge who the real culprit is, the monster Craig. They both commiserate through their pain and reaffirm their undying love for each other. Sparks fly and they join the mile high club in the age old dance of love. This was a wonderful trilogy and I can’t wait to watch all the other men of Phoenix Club have their happily ever after. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

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Hearts in Chaos (Phoenix Club 2) by CJ Bishop

Title: Hearts in Chaos        Word Count: 105 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Devastated after learning his abuser (and the man he killed in self-defense) was Dr. Devlin Grant’s much beloved brother, Abel feels he can no longer have anything to do with the man because of his secret.

Now locked into his agreement with Horatio Kaplan – and suffering heart break over Devlin – Abel finds no purpose in his life except taking care of Savannah. When Devlin refuses to be put off and insists Abel tell him the truth of why he is suddenly pushing him away, Abel must make the hard decision of whether or not to expose the hideous acts of Devlin’s brother – and shatter the man’s heart.

Warning: This book contains homosexual relations and language not suitable for readers below 17yo.

NOTE: For those coming across the ‘Phoenix Club’ series sporadically, they were written in this order, and if possible, should be read accordingly, due to story lines that run through all the books :

ABEL
CALEB
ANGEL
GABRIEL
MAXWELL

My Review: Abel tries to outrun his demons and finally ends up at home where Cole is waiting for him. Cole is perplexed by the state that his friend is in, he watches helplessly as Abel sobs brokenly. Devlin is left reeling from confusion. He is dejected not knowing how to pick up the pieces or why Abel ran away. This goes on for days without any explanations on what is going on. There is something niggling at Devlin, but he can’t put his finger on what.

When Abel returns to work, Devlin shows up and refuses to leave without an answer. Abel is devastated, because he knows the truth will wreck this sweet man whose declarations of love is so profound. Abel also acknowledges to himself that he is head over heels in love with Devlin. The passion that he feels for Devlin is overwhelming and he can’t resist one more chance at intimacy with his soul mate that he can never claim. However, this changes nothing and Abel closes the door with a finality when he tells Devlin he is no longer welcomed at the club. Abel leaves with his heart in pieces, on his way to commence his arrangement with Kaplan.

Abel is about to taint his soul with yet another man determined to exploit his body. His time with Kaplan isn’t horrible, but the parallels to his past abuse is too real in his mind. Kaplan forces him to open his eyes and be in the moment with him. The hardest part for Abel is when Kaplan arouses  him and pleasures him. For Abel it is just  a sensory reaction, but he feels worse for it because he doesn’t want to enjoy an act that he has no choice but to do.

Abel’s friends Cole and Gabe are very worried about him, but Abel pushes them away. An unusual sort of detachment comes over Abel’s persona, but that’s his way of coping.Cole and Gabe find comfort in each other and continue to navigate the complexities of their own budding relationship. When Devlin overhears Abel paying twenty thousand dollars on his sister’s hospital bill, he knows something is very wrong. Devlin approaches Abel at the club and demands answers. Abel knows the only way to get rid of Devlin and his declarations of love is to give him a part of the truth. He tells Devlin how he played some rich man’s whore. Devlin is shattered as he still doesn’t understand why Abel would rebuff his help to continue on this unsavoury path. Abel thought he would feel a sense of relief, but instead he feels wrecked.

Abel is surprised to see Devlin at his doorstep a few days later. It seems like Devlin just won’t give up, but Abel knows that will all change if he finds out the truth. Cole and Gabe come over and encourage  Abel that its time to lay it all on the table. Abel tells the horrific tale of the abuse he experienced for years at the hands of Devlin’s brother and how he eventually killed him in self defense. Devlin is appalled and disgusted, but most of all he doesn’t believe Abel. He can’t reconcile the upstanding brother he knew to the monster that Abel describes. Although Abel knew what the outcome would be , he is still crushed and defeated when Devlin calls him a whore and storms out. Luckily, Cole and Gabe are there to pick up the pieces of Abel’s fragmented soul. But even that won’t be enough to help him regain what he has lost, his innocence but most of all the love of Devlin Grant. To be continued….. this one was filled with heartache and pain , but such tender moments as well. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.

It Can’t Be You ( Phoenix Club 1) by CJ Bishop

Title: It Can’t be You            Word Count: 175 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

ABEL

Blurb:19-year-old Abel Sims – hot, sexy stripper – is a favorite at the gay strip club The Phoenix. Having no family but his 16-year-old sister, Savannah, and coming from the streets – The Phoenix club has become his home, the other boys his close-knit family.

Abel doesn’t trust the outside world and is content to remain within his safe haven. But when an overzealous customer sends Abel to the ER, he meets young, handsome Dr. Devlin Grant. The instant attraction he feels for the man stirs up the nightmares of his past, causing him to resist his new feelings. But when Savannah gets sick and ends up in Devlin’s care, it becomes impossible to avoid the doctor.

And just when his heart is ready to trust this new found love – Abel is confronted with a disturbing fact about the doctor that reaches deep into the past he has been hiding and running away from.

ABEL is an emotionally charged, sexy, heart-wrenching love story that will break your heart, then put it back together again.

Warning: This book contains homosexual relations and crude language not suitable for readers below 17yo.

NOTE: For those coming across the ‘Phoenix Club’ series sporadically, they were written in this order, and if possible, should be read accordingly, due to story lines that run through all the books :

ABEL
CALEB
ANGEL
GABRIEL
MAXWELL

My Review: Abel is one of the sexy young strippers at the Phoenix Club. He is only 19 yrs old , but he has lived a very rough life from an early age. He does his best for the only person that’s ever loved him, his sister Savannah. Savannah is 16 and very sickly. Abel has spent all his life protecting the very fragile young girl, but he wouldn’t trade it for anything. Abel was repeatedly rape by one of the counselors at the shelter they stayed at. Abel stayed quiet and endured his abuse, so that the counselor wouldn’t start on Savannah.

When he is hurt at work by an overzealous client who tried to rape him, his friend Cole takes him to the hospital. This is where his path crosses Dr. Devlin Grant. Devlin is very interested in the sexy young man, but he tries to maintain his professionalism. Devlin causes Abel’s heart rate to kick up a notch. Abel feels a frisson of fear, because for the first time he is attracted to someone and would like to pursue it. Abel knows he has too much baggage and he feels like his life is too tainted for a man like Devlin. He makes an effort to keep his disinterested facade in place. After all, Abel won’t have to see Devlin  once he leaves the hospital.  
                                                                                     

 Little does Abel know that their lives will be even more intertwined. When Abel’s beloved sister falls sick in the middle of the night, Abel calls his friend Cole who helps them to the hospital. Devlin happens to be the doctor on call. He is very surprised to see Abel so soon, the young man who has dominated his thoughts. After running a battery of tests, Devlin gives Abel the most devastating shocking news, Savannah is HIV positive. Abel feels gutted and his world starts imploding around him. Abel blames himself and scrambles to find an explanation for this diagnosis. He thinks back to one of the nights when they lived on the streets and went dumpster diving for food. Abel remembered  something pricked Savannah and she said it felt like a needle. Everything is clear to Abel now and he just knows he has to do whatever it takes to keep Savannah alive.  

A solution falls into Abel’s lap via an indecent proposal. His boss Max tells Abel about a proposition he has received on his behalf. Horatio Kaplan a wealthy client of the club wants to pay Abel handsomely to spend time with him sexually. Abel feels disgusted and dirty , but he knows there is no other way to pay for the care Savannah will need. Abel visits Savannah everyday in the hospital and he is always tortured by his ever growing feelings for the handsome doctor. Devlin starts developing serious feelings for Abel, but he soon realizes Abel has been hurt deeply and is very skittish.

Their first attempt at a coffee date goes horribly wrong when Devlin encourages Abel to have faith that his sister will be alright. This touches a nerve in Abel , because of all the memories it brings up of the horrendous injustice of the rapes that he endured when he was no more than a child. Devlin realizes that Abel’s outburst stems from a far deeper pain than him saying the wrong thing. His suspicions are tentatively confirmed by Savannah when she breaks down and tell him the life they have lived thus far. Devlin cries for these two beautiful souls who have sustained so much pain.   

Abel tries to keep his distance and pushes Devlin away as he knows its for the best. He is in no position to start any kind of relationship, when he is burdened with so many issues. Abel goes ahead and set up the parameters for the ‘arrangement’ he will be entering with Kaplan. Abel’s friends Cole and Gabe help him  in a most pleasurable way to get used to intimacy so that he won’t get a panic attack when he has consensual sex. It is Cole’s and Gabe’s  loving friendship that keeps his demons away. The only place Abel really feels safe is in the controlled environment of the strip club.

Abel is shocked and nervous when Devlin shows up in one of the private rooms in the club saying he wants to talk. Abel is so afraid of the hopes and dreams he sees reflected in Devlin’s eyes, but he is weakened by his desires to taste something good and wholesome for a change. Abel gives into his desires to take something just for himself. The spark between the two soon turns into an inferno and they both give into their carnal desires. Devlin leaves after with hopes and the promise of a lunch date. Abel doesn’t want to give Devlin false hope or hurt him, but he wants this.

Devlin proposes a way to help Abel take care of Savannah financially through a fund set up with insurance from his brother’s death. Abel feels a glimmer of hope to have an alternate plan. Devlin tells Abel the story of how his brother Craig was a counselor who was killed by one of the teenagers he tried to help. Immediately Abel’s hopes are dashed when he realizes that Devlin’s dead brother Craig and his former abuser is one and the same. It turns out that Abel is the teenager who killed him. To be continued…..I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

 

 

 

Finn: A Bully Novella 2 by Morgan Campbell

Title: Finn: A Bully Novella             Word Count: 157pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:It all started with a doll…

All I wanted was to be a kid,

to have fun with my friends and make mistakes.

But little did I know that my father had other plans.

A daily life lesson constantly spat in my face.
Every day, for years, I’ve been told that I’m wrong.

That I’m a mistake.

That I’m a sinner.

That no matter what, I’m an abomination.

A reminder that’s been drilled into my head;

beaten into my body and soul;

like a punch to the gut;

shoved in my face,

that what I am is a betrayal to my family.

Simply for being me. Simply for being gay.
Now, all I want is to be free from this nightmare that I’m trapped in.

To find the one that got away.

The one with the hazel eyes…

All I want is to find him

so he can save me from myself.

**This is not a standalone and is book two of the Bully Series. This book may contain certain triggers**
My Review: Here we have the other side of the story. We get to see the same journey of the characters through Finn’s eyes. For me, I wouldn’t say it was total redemption for Finn. The truth of the matter is that Finn is definitely a flawed character and you just have to accept him despite his shortcomings and foibles. Finn’s journey starts when he is a five year old boy, hero 

 worshipping his father. He is soon disillusioned with his perfect family life,when his father beats the hell out of him for asking for a doll for his birthday. 

The horrors of his childhood continued everyday until he was 15. Finn and his mother was beaten on numerous occasions especially when his father believed that he wasn’t being manly enough and showing gay tendencies. Finn obliterated his true self to the point where he was so deep in the closet and constantly lived in fear of being exposed. He hurt and bullied his high school crush Grayson so deeply that he pushed him to self harm. When Grayson disappeared from school, Finn feels guilty but pushes him to the back of his mind and continued on with his selfish teenage life.

Finn’s armour cracks a little bit when he gets to college and meets his confident gay roommate. He finds a bit of acceptance with Gunnar who reveals to him the joys of exploration through sex toys. Finn feels very liberated when he tries an anal plug and dildo Gunnar gifted him for the first time. Finn becomes more self aware and gains a new understanding of his sexuality. He relishes the idea of being a ‘bottom’ and wants to embrace it fully. These explorations go no further when Gunnar graduates and leaves him alone. Finn falls back into the destructive cycle of lying and pretending. He hooks up with Allison who soon turns into his wife, because of an unplanned pregnancy. He tries to suppress that part of himself still undeveloped and unexplored, but this facade can’t be sustained for very long under the pressures of real life.

Finn becomes very unhappy in his marriage and starts cheating on his wife with a man. For the first time in his life , he feels free to be who he was meant to be.After his first time with Gary, he makes a vow to stay away but he is reeled in by the forbidden feelings he was taught was wrong. He gets carried away by the newfound feelings he has for his beau. Finn is soon caught red handed with his pants down. There are some tears, but Allison has reconciled that her marriage is over. However, she cautions Finn to be totally honest the next time around and stop hiding. So far , Finn is definitely not painted in a great light. His resume consists of bullying, cheating and an all around self centered bastard.

The next chapter of his life begins with him finally  standing up and accepting who he is , a gay man. He is reunited with Grayson, his high school crush. It is a rough rocky road and they both have to find the strength to forgive each other for all the bad blood between  them. Finn especially will have to find the strength to forgive himself for all the pain he’s inflicted on his loved ones. He knows that even though Gray has forgiven him and proposed, he needs to get Gray’s families’ blessings.Finn bares his soul to them and at the end they have no doubt of his love and devotion for Grayson. There is definitely a fairytale ending with them getting married and two years down  the road still blissfully happy and welcoming their  baby girl. I give this my ratings of 3 – it was ok, it was nice to gain a different perspective of their journey together.

 Love in Xxchange 5: Ex’s and O’s by Bailey Bradford

Title: Ex’s and O’s            Word Count: 294 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Adam Masterson paid a steep price for doing the right thing, but it might be more than worth it if he can get through tough cop Les Stanton—and if they can survive one man’s plans for vengeance.

He tried to do the right thing…

All Adam Masterson tried to do was the right thing—stop a psychotic man from hurting anyone else. While he may have succeeded, he also put himself in the crosshairs of the man’s wealthy father, and Adam soon finds himself battered, homeless and unemployed. When his mother is also evicted from her home, Adam packs up his car and takes Charlene, his mother, with him as he heads to Texas to plead for help from someone he isn’t sure will help.

…so they might have a chance together.

When officer Les Stanton pulls over the beater car with Montana plates, he already knows who is in the vehicle. His friend Josh has been complaining about his partner, Nick, helping out the too-attractive blond from Montana. Les soon finds himself irresistibly drawn to Adam. Even his fear of Charlene can’t keep him away. Now, if he can just let go of the past and learn to trust, he and Adam might have a chance-unless one wealthy man swearing vengeance destroys them both.

My Review: Tough as nails Officer Les Stanton has always thought of himself as straight. Until he meets the spunky blond named Adam who he stopped for speeding. Les recognizes the name from his friend Josh, so he is surprised at the bruises he sees on Adam’s face.He remembered that Josh told him that Adam had been run  out  of town after taking down his would-be rapist. It just so happens that the rapist’s Dad Mitch Rollins Sr. is very rich and has quite a few people in his pockets. A few of his goons roughed up Adam, before he got away with his mother Charlene. 

Les decides to take Adam to the hospital where Josh works as a nurse so he can patch him up. Josh’s partner Nick and Adam are really good friends and this makes Josh a tiny bit jealous since Adam is so gorgeous and twinky. Josh is just as much a twink and he sees him as competition. After seeing how downtrodden he is, Josh decides to cut him some slack and offers Adam and his mother Charlene his old apartment to stay.

With the help of friends , Adam soon gets himself a job at the club Xxchange. Adam doesn’t mind the work , he just hates that he has to fend off the owner’s brother. Adam decides to put him in his place and almost breaks Randy’s hand in the process. When he is called to the office , he is almost sure that he will be sacked. He explains himself to his boss Xavier telling him he was just defending himself. He is in the process of showing Xavier the bruise on his buttocks, when Les walks in. The possessive beast rises up in Les and he just can’t stand anyone else seeing the man who he wants for himself. Les is furious when he sees Adam’s bruises, he just wants to kiss them away.Les is surprised at the feelings Adam incites in him, he never really thought about his sexuality since he is a virgin. Adam is happy at the possessive traits he sees within Les, it makes him feel special and definitely wanted. That night he goes home with Les.

Adam makes Les  want to share all his secrets. Les opens up to Adam and tells him that he is a virgin. Adam can’t believe that this big sexy cop is untouched, he knows that there is a story there. However, Adam decides not to push and accepts it for the gift that it is. Their first time together is explosive and Les knows that he has found someone very special in Adam. Les wants to explore with Adam, but he feels vulnerable to let someone so intimately in his body. He enjoys himself thoroughly with Adam and he realizes that there is no shame in the passion between two men.

Things are going great for them and the sex is out of this world. It has certainly opened up their eyes to having a more long-term relationship. It doesn’t take long for things to go south though. Chase Murphy , the PI who helped Adam send the would be rapist to jail shows up thoroughly beaten, but tries to warn him. Before he can get the words out, Chase falls unconscious. Les is worried that Adam and Charlene is in danger and offers his home as a sanctuary even though he is a bit uncomfortable around Adam’s mom. Adam is scared out of his mind that he has put his friend’s lives in jeopardy. Les lets him know that they will face things head on , because he loves Adam and wants to spend his life with him.

That moment was the turning point for Les where he decides to reveal his whole self to his lover. Les had a horrific childhood and his mother was a monster. She purposefully made Les and his brother sick by slow poisoning them. She succeeded in killing his brother and Les was able to expose her to the authorities before she killed him. It is no wonder he has certain trust issues and is standoffish with Charlene.

After Les’ revelation , things definitely progressed in their relationship when Les realized that their was no judgement , just unconditional love. Their is definitely a storm cloud hanging over their happily- ever- after  and this comes in the form of more thugs sent by Mitch Rollins. This time they are sent to kidnap Les and intimidate Adam in their  home. With the help of friends Josh and Nick, the situation is thwarted. Adam is frantic with the need to find his man and is happy when Les is finally found. They are happy to hear that this whole debacle is resolved with the death of Mitch Rollins who was gunned down when he tried resisting arrest. They can finally move on with their lives without fear. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

Trey Grey 1:The Darker Side of Trey Grey by Tara Spears

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.