Taking the Long Way by Max MacGowan

Taking the Long Way by Max MacGowanon February 12, 2016
Pages: 243
Male escort Rye Bellamy is looking for a way out. Any way out. He’s getting older, and clients are getting more dangerous. If he doesn’t find something better, he knows he won’t survive.

He sees his chance in Marcus Townsend, a functionally blind Army veteran. Marcus, who refuses to accept his condition as immutable, has a shot at seeing a specialist who might be able to help him—but that doctor’s based on the other side of the country.

When Rye and Marcus meet, they realize they can help each other. Marcus can’t drive, but Rye can. Marcus knows what Rye is, but he likes him anyway. In fact, he more than likes him. Driving cross-country with a near stranger is a daunting task, but Rye’s biggest risk is falling for the gentle, stubborn-hearted soldier—and it might already be too late to stop that.

They plan to part ways when they reach their destination, but plans change as the affection between them grows. Now neither wants their journey to end, but continuing means finding a way to bridge the distance between who they were and who they'd like to become.

This book was an entertaining gay-for-you with really likable characters. I love stories that leave me feeling happy at the end.

The point is that whatever happens, you’re my best something better. You always will be. There. That’s it. That’s all.

Marcus Townsend was an army vet who was rendered functionally blind by an IED explosion while he was on tour in Afghanistan. He was discharged with a diagnosis of “Cortical visual impairment” which meant that Marcus received light and color transmission to his brain; however his receptors didn’t interpret those signals properly. His eyes are basically fine, but the information is lost in translation.

One day when Marcus was feeling down, he decided to venture out into the unknown, basically the area outside his comfort zone, and that’s when he encountered a male prostitute named Rye Bellamy. Rye tried unsuccessfully to entice Marcus, but ended up saving Marcus from being a prey out there on the streets.

The chance meeting led Marcus to later ask Rye to help him get to Atlanta where Marcus had an appointment with a cortical blindness specialist to see if Marcus would qualify for an experimental study that could fix his receptors. Both Marcus and Rye wanted to more out of life than their current circumstances, so a road trip seemed like a new beginning.

Thus began the foundation of friendship/relationship between Marcus, whose sexuality (his 15 yr. old niece helped him define, LOL) was “demi-sexual”.

A demisexual is a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone. It’s more commonly seen in but by no means confined to romantic relationships. The term demisexual comes from the orientation being “halfway between” sexual and asexual. www.asexuality.org

Rye began tutoring Marcus on the art of physical pleasure and they started growing closer. When Rye finally got Marcus to Atlanta, he had to decide if their couple of weeks together was enough to build on or was he better off returning to his no-strings attached life what was familiar.

I really liked both Rye and Marcus because they still retained optimism in the midst of their struggles. They seemed like genuinely nice guys who just had difficulty being so dependent on other people. This road trip was a declaration of their need for autonomy and desire to be as self-sufficient as they could possibly be. I liked that both characters were willing to take risks and explore the unknown. I appreciate that the plot wasn’t overloaded with sex but on the personal journey of each individuals. I thought their coming together was realistic and not rushed. They worked well as a pair because there was no judgment or condemnation for whatever their prior experiences had been.

The author’s writing style was engaging though the book stalled in the middle for me. I definitely found myself focused on what was going on and crossing my fingers for the main characters to see what was right in front of them. It wasn’t overly angst-filled or emotional, just a well laid out story. I will definitely read something else by this author.

*Special Thanks to Dreamspinner Press for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.


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