Reviewed by Tracey
Blurb: As a nineteen-year-old, wunderkind doctoral candidate, Ian Waters had little interest in social interaction. Books were his companions, and that had suited him just fine. Then a hurricane named Jessen Sørensen blew into his life, throwing Ian off his axis.
On the cusp of rock stardom, Jessen had burned brightly, and Ian had fallen heart-first under his spell. But Ian soon learned he was only a temptation, a pit stop on the road to the rocker’s dreams, and Jessen was gone as quickly as he’d come. Ian buried his heartache in academia, the only home he’d ever known.
When Ian encounters Jessen at a party, the seven-year separation seems insurmountable. There’s too much pain, too much distrust. But Jessen declares he has a new dream, and that’s a life with Ian.
This is a very short novella, and I believe it is this author’s first foray into m/m romance. It’s a story of first love, heartbreak, forgiveness and second chances. It is all based on a very short-lived love affair, when both MC’s were young, Ian Waters was 19 and Jessen Sorensen was 22. Ian is a child prodigy, who has led a very, very sheltered life, and there was a bad childhood alluded to, but never really explained. I love, love the idea of a child prodigy as a main character, because there is just so much ground that can be covered in a man who has lived that type of life, unfortunately, this was a short story. Jessen Sorensen was a member of a rock band that played at the college where Ian was in graduate school. Ian is sent to film the band’s performance, and it’s insta-love. I’m not a big insta-love fan, and I would have loved to have been given at least some conversation between the two men, but who am I to judge…maybe it happens all the time in real life and I just missed out. They take their romance back to Ian’s dorm room, where Ian promptly loses his virginity and his heart. The romance doesn’t last longer than a few dates, and Ian is left with a note slid under his door, saying simply “I’m sorry”. This was Jessen’s way of saying goodbye. This is how Jessen rationalized his leaving:
“There’s only ever been him for me, and there only ever will be. I knew it the moment we met, even though I eventually lied to myself and convinced myself he was better off without me. That I was destined for a life on the road with my brother. Sex, drugs, rock and roll. No ties. No tethers.”
Fast forward seven years, and Ian is at a party on campus, and who should appear but Jessen. Jessen is back just for Ian. He has a job at the college in the music department, and is determined to win Ian’s love back. Needless to say, Ian’s anger still burns hot, and he’s not really interested in forgiveness. From this point, it’s just Jessen chasing after Ian, then Ian reminding us that he is angry. Jessen does realize what he has lost in rejecting Ian.
“Ian Waters is everything good in this world. He’s kind and loyal, dedicated, and intelligent beyond belief. He’s been kicked, dragged, broken, and left behind. And I’ve contributed to that.”
I wanted to hear the story of what had happened to Ian to merit this type of description. I wanted much more backstory, I wanted to know who, besides Jessen, has broken Ian. As a reader, I may not be cut out for novellas, because this story was way too short and shallow for me to sink into. Don’t get me wrong, it was a decent story which held my interest, but portions of it still irritated. I did not realize it was a novella when I read it, so at the end, I had a WTF moment when it was over. I wanted to know more!! Jessen wrote a song for Ian which he used to apologize, and Ian described what he heard in the music as sorrow, regret…happiness, success..loss and love. I didn’t want the music to make the apology…I wanted Jessen to make the apology, I wanted to hear the words.
I think for a first time m/m romance, the sex scenes were written very well. There was appropriate sexiness and hotness. It was actually done well enough that at times it came across as a little bit more of an erotic story than a romantic one, and hey…that’s all good. The use of Norwegian in the sex scenes was a bit distracting, considering you had to wait for the footnote at the end of the chapter for a translation.
Overall, the book did hold my attention for the short length of time it lasted. I do think this would have made a better story if it had played out into a longer book. There were some interesting avenues that I thought needed to be explored and explained. I would be interested in anything else this author writes in this genre, she did infuse some real emotion into the men, which made you want more of them. This is a pretty solid C book.