on February 29, 2016
Amazon • Narrator: Spencer Goss
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The only thing in Colin Mulligan’s life that makes sense is taking cars apart and putting them back together. In the auto shop where he works with his father and brothers, he tries to get through the day without having a panic attack or flying into a rage. Drinking helps. So do running and lifting weights until he can hardly stand. But none of it can change the fact that he’s gay, a secret he has kept from everyone.
Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lie the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.
This audiobook actually exceeded my expectations. The narrator Spencer Goss did an incredible job conveyed all those emotions to the listener. I heard and felt this story in my heart. Colin Mulligan was first introduced in book 1 “In the Middle of Somewhere” as the verbal caustic tormenter of his younger brother Daniel. Colin relentlessly voiced his contempt of his little brother’s sexuality. At the end of book 1, it was revealed that Colin was a closeted gay man.
This sequel was full of angst as the reader was exposed to Colin’s life, from his perspective and it was rough. Colin was a man living in constant anguish and fear of exposure. After losing his mother, Colin’s yearned for his father’s love and approval so much that it superseded his every need. Colin took to anonymous alley hookups, drinking excessively and self-harming to cope with his daily life of working in an auto shop with his family.
When Rafael Guerrera saved Colin from an alley beat down, they formed a connection. Colin was so broken but Rafe was so patient, loving and supportive that Colin began to slowly confront his fears. The journey was uncomfortable for me because when Colin was nasty and he took cruelty to the next level. I just couldn’t understand why he unloaded all his rage at Daniel but not the other brothers for living their life.
“You were as much in prison as anyone I knew there, Colin. Only you created it for yourself. Your father paced out the cell and your brothers fit the bars and you turned the key in the lock and buried it somewhere only you know. And you stared at Daniel through the bars and cursed him for being able to walk out the door. But he’s not the one who did something wrong. All he did was save himself. And you can too. But you have to find that key and unlock the door.”
Colin’s self-hatred fueled his interaction with everyone else. It made him cantankerous and suicidal. It made me love Rafe that much more. Here is a man who worked hard at his sobriety and made a conscience effort in making a difference in the lives of others. Rafe made Colin more palatable for me. He humanized Colin and softened the rough edges.
My hat off to the author as she did an excellent job conveying the depth of Colin’s despair. As much as I disliked Colin’s actions and his mouth, I couldn’t help but empathize with his pain. Colin hopelessness was so intense and profound that my stomach felt queasy at places. Even if you don’t like someone, it’s hard to see people wallowing in that kind of agony.
*Special Thanks to Dreamspinner Publishing for the audiobook given in exchange for an honest review.