Louder Than Words( More Than Words 3) by T. T. Kove

Title: Louder Than Words              Word Count:210 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Life might be good now, but that’s all about to come to an end soon, and what then?

I’ve had a turbulent few months; surviving a gay bashing, dealing with my abusive parents, and getting used to my new life with my equally as new boyfriend. I could do without his best friend who doesn’t like me—or maybe he does? 

Life’s about to become even more turbulent though. The last term of our education is well underway, and it’s time to figure out what I’m supposed to do next. Only I don’t know what I want to do with my life. Andreas knows, and he’s got it all figured out, but I don’t. 

Can our new relationship survive what lies ahead? More importantly, can I survive it?

My Review: The story of Andreas and Alex continues. Alex has had a rough time in life starting with his neglectful abusive parents. He self-harms as a way of coping and was ready to end it all when he meets Andreas. Andreas means the world to him , he has given him a reason to live. This is almost taken away from him when he is gay-bashed by Andreas’ best friend’s brother Marcus. For awhile there Alex lived in fear,  but therapy has helped both him and Andreas to recover from this trauma.

Andreas and Alex are looking forward to finishing up school and embarking on college. They have a few trips planned before Andreas has to go to the army for a year. Alex is worried about what life will be like while Andreas is gone. He feels like he only just started living. Andreas tries to reassure him that they will be fine. It is fun to watch how these two have grown as a couple and especially Alex as an individual.

Alex has stopped cutting and even though he  hates his scars , he is being more open about his issues. There were lots of sexy times with Alex and Andreas when they start exploring their sexuality during their vacation. They visited a sex shop and bought some great toys and handcuffs. Alex explores his submissive side and Andreas was only too happy to indulge him. 

Alex definitely feels less socially awkward, he now feels a part of Andreas’ friends. He sees himself in a new light and this bolsters his self confidence. Andreas’ best friend Glenn opens up to Alex about his conflicted feelings towards him and Andreas. It seems that Glenn is a bit in love with both of them. This boggles Alex’s mind, but it certainly makes him happy to know that Glenn doesn’t hate him.

Their summer is filled with lots of sex and some truly passionate moments. Andreas gives Alex a night to remember before he goes off to the army. However, Alex is still sad when he wakes up to find Andreas already gone. He sobs uncontrollably and it’s Ben, Andreas’ cousin who picks up the pieces. In that moment, Alex realizes that he has friends to help him through their year apart. 

Alex only lasts three days before going back to his coping mechanism. He cuts thin lines into his wrists and it seems to hurt more since he is out of practice. He feels thoroughly ashamed and he cries at the hopelessness he feels. He befriends another of Andreas’ cousin Jorgen and this helps a little. Jorgen misses his boyfriend Geir who had to go away as well. They commiserate together and Alex knows he will be fine. He knows for sure that he has found another friend. 

Alex soon goes away to school where he shares an apartment with his brother Leo. He is overwhelmed his first day,but Andreas calls and reminds him how strong he is and this helps him a lot. Alex acknowledges that he is dependent on Andreas , but Andreas is his lifeline the one that showed him the true meaning of love. He gets stronger day by day. It is the passion they share together that helps Alex in the end. Andreas encourages Alex to use the toy he got him before leaving while thinking about him. Alex is a bit uncomfortable and embarrassed at first , but he relishes trying new things.

It is two months before Andreas comes home for a few days. It is clear to see the growth in Alex as he has made a new friend from school. He is happy to see Andreas and they make the most of the few days reconnecting and reinforcing their love. It is definitely not easy for Alex, but he lives day by day with a stronger support system than ever. He is counting down the days to embark on their forever love and life together. I really enjoyed this and I give it my ratings of 5- bring out the vibrators.

The Price of Falling by Melanie Tushmore

Title :  The Price of Falling          Word Count : 81,000

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Mike Miller thought he was an average high school student. Your all-American, football playing, middle class kid. He didn’t mind being normal and fitting in, until new student Jason Reilly showed up. What was it about Jason that was so magnetic? Surely he shouldn’t be feeling things for another guy?

As Mike slowly starts to ignore everything else in his world, he finds not everything about Jason is what it seems. When he discovers Jason will do anything for cold hard cash, he enters in an agreement that could leave him broke for life.

A tentative story of discovery following the lives of two unlikely lovers.

My Review : What starts out as an indecent proposal  slowly turns into more. When Jock  Mike Miller  first meets the new kid in his class Jason, he is enthralled by his  beauty. There is just some nameless emotion that draws him closer. Mike builds up his courage when he notices a trend of Jason getting into different cars with older men. He propositions Jason , a blowjob for money. Jason accepts, even though it seems as if he wants nothing more to do with the Jock outside of their transactions. Mike falls deeper under Jason’s spells the more time they spend together. Mike always has to gauge Jason’s mood, he seems to come with a lot of baggage and he’s perpetually angry. 

Jason is very manipulative and Mike becomes a slave to his needs. Jason holds him by his short hairs and uses his  body as a weapon against him.Their relationship is very one-sided and Jason gives very little, while Mike uses up most of his college fund for his sexual escapades. Their affair seems so cold and pathetic at times and Mike just allows Jason to take advantage of him.

Things came to a head when  Mike gets tired of being a doormat. He questions Jason about their relationship,  demanding that Jason define it.As usual Jason is very nonchalant and this angers Mike to the point where he gets physical, knocking the juice Jason was holding out of his hand. When Mike saw the fear in Jason’s eyes he felt lower than dirt, knowing that he had crossed over into an unforgivable  territory. Mike does his best to try patching things between them. They are in the middle of having make-up sex when Mike’s dad unexpectedly comes home and catches them in the act.  Mike’s conservative father turns into a bigot right in front of his eyes, calling him all types of unsavoury names. Mike’s dad basically  banished him from their home , pulling him out of school and sending him off to live with one of his business partners. 

 Mike is ostracized from his family and friends, all but his sister Alicia who loves him unconditionally. Mike is incredibly  lonely and shell-shocked. Blake becomes a pseudo-father for him and it is with his encouragement and love that Mike regains some of his self-esteem and grow into the man he was meant to be. Mike supresses a major part of himself and even starts dating women in the hopes of gaining his father’s acceptance. When he finally sees his father for the first time, in over two years since he’s been banished,  Mike comes to the realization that his father still sees him as a disappointment and is not willing to overlook his sexuality. Mike becomes truly angry and decides to not try gaining his father’s acceptance and love anymore.

It is really sad to see how one decision can ricochet and cause so many wasted lives. It always boggles my mind to see how some parents can be so intolerable to their own flesh and blood’s sexual preferences. Their self serving attitude has such a diliterious effect on all their lives and causes so much much pain and suffering to all involved. 

It takes Mike four years to finally get out of his slump and admit to himself that he is gay.  He plays around with a few guys and feels reborned and exhilarated for having these experiences. It seems , he is finally living again when  he is reminded how short life can be. Mike gets a call saying that his father has had a massive stroke. His family is turned upside down when it seems as if his dad might not recover successfully. In her grief, Mike’s sister who has stood by him through thick and thin admits to something horrible she did when he got sent away. Alicia has hidden letters that she had gotten from Jason to pass on to Mike saying how sorry he was. Jason went as far as giving her most of the college fund which Mike had given him as payment for sexual favors. 

Mike is furious and he searches hard to see if he can put the pieces of his life back together.  When he finds Jason,  he is devastated at his condition.  Jason has become a heroin addict who is in pretty bad shape. Mike tries to salvage things  by placing Jason in a facility,  to see if he can  recover the Jason he once knew. Just as he thinks he will be able to revisit his life and reclaim what was once lost, Jason runs away from the rehab facility. Mike is at his wits end, but he keeps doing all he can nonetheless. When Jason is found  Mike goes to him and begs him to come home with him to New York . After a lot of back and forth , Jason relents.

All is definitely not smooth sailing for their tentative relationship.  Being a recovering addict, Jason is often moody, sullen and extremely rude. Jason is like a recalcitrant child at the best of times. The dynamics in the house with Jason , Mike and Mike’s sister is definitely tense. Mike is caught in between the two people he loves the most and theydefinitely make it clear that they hate each other. Alicia decides that three is a crowd and moves out for the betterment of their relationship.

 I am a firm believer in the fact that we don’t choose who we love and the heart wants what the heart wants,  no matter how devastating that love might be for us at times. The heart’s resiliency can be very potent and allows us to carry on through anything. It bounces back from all unforgivable occurences over time. They say that time heals all wounds and that is definitely true in this case. Mike and Jason eventually gets to a point where they have a healthy relationship with the normal ups and downs of everyday life. This is truly a coming of age story and it spans quite a few years. It is a journey in young love that eventually culminates in an everlasting love that withstands all the pitfalls of life. I give this my ratings of 4 –  because of the perseverance and resiliency of a love that had many obstacles thrown in its path.