Title ~ Violated
Author ~ Jamie Fessenden
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 7th August 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary MM Romance
Derek Sawyer thinks he has it all—a high-salaried position, a boyfriend, a dog, even a new cabin on the lake—until a business trip with his manager and best friend, Victor, shatters his world.
One night of drunken horsing around in their hotel room leads to the most intensely personal violation Derek has ever endured. As if the humiliation of working under his attacker every day isn’t enough, Victor reports Derek for sexual harassment. Now he’s without a job, without a boyfriend, and the mortgage on the cabin is due.
Officer Russ Thomas has worked with rape victims before, and it doesn’t take him long to sort out the truth in Derek’s tale. With his support, Derek finally reports the crime, months after it happened. But restraining orders and lawyers further Victor’s anger toward him, and even though a relationship develops between Derek and the policeman, Russ can’t be there to protect him all the time.
Violated by Jamie Fessenden is a stand-alone contemporary MM romance that touches on some very real, gritty and raw issues. This book also marks my first read by this author. While the overall story arc did deal with a harsh subject matter, I commend Mr. Fessenden for taking on such a challenge and doing it with honesty and realism. Our protagonist experiences a deplorable trauma that has far reaching ramifications and slowly eats away at him. What do you do when your world is shattered and you have no idea how to move on from there?
Derek Sawyer believes he is living a good life. After all, he has a great job with Top Circle Security, a fiancé and a recently purchased cabin on a lake. Sure, his fiancé (Tim) acts like a selfish, uncaring and jealous douche most of the time, but they love each other. Doesn’t that count? Unwilling to face the splintered fragments of his relationship with Tim, Derek mostly coasts through life comfortable enough and unwilling to tackle any change. When a business trip takes him to Tampa with his best friend and manager, Derek’s life as he knows it is annihilated. One drunken night leads to a despicable and inexcusable act of violence against Derek. He returns home a broken man unable to deal with what happened to him. Slowly his life begins to unravel and he loses his fiancé, his job and can barely stand to be alone with other men.
Russ Thomas, the police officer who lives in the cabin near Derek’s, befriended Derek when he first moved into his cabin with Tim. While Russ was instantaneously attracted to Derek he did not pursue anything other than friendship. He would never disrespect Tim or Derek like that even though it is obvious that the couple has their share of troubles. Russ immediately realizes that Derek has experienced “something” when he sees the changes in his neighbour. Gone is the sweet, easy going guy. He is replaced by an on-the-edge, anxious and distrustful man who is barely holding it together. Throughout it all – Derek and Tim’s break-up, losing his job, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder – Russ stands by Derek’s side and becomes the only person that Derek truly allows into his dark world. As the men slowly move into a deeper relationship, will Derek be able to move past what he experienced and fully commit to a new beginning with Russ?
I think that this author has tackled what Derek went through from a very realistic stand-point. Men are raped. That is a fact. It is also understood that far fewer men than women end up reporting the crime. Derek was shouldering a copious amount of self-loathing and anxiety. He could not understand how he was unable to fight back. It was as if his strength had disappeared. With Russ’s steadfast support, Derek was able to slowly put the pieces of his broken life back together again. It took patience on Russ’s part and it also took time.
While this story did tackle a heavy and powerful subject matter, there were times that I felt detached. There were moments that the execution felt a little stilted and unnecessary. It was during these parts that I became a little emotionally detached. For instance, I would have liked to see Derek and Russ develop a stronger connection earlier in the book. I could have done without Tim being a part of the book for so long and the other “relationships” that Russ finds himself in. I am not saying that I wish that Derek and Russ moved into a romantic relationship a lot faster. No, that would not have worked. However, for me this would have been a more powerful and emotional read if I felt the connection between Russ and Derek solidify a little sooner. This is only my take and I would encourage any reader who is interested in reading this book to do so and form your own opinion.
All in all, I am glad that I decided to read Violated. It was a great read overall.
Meet Jamie Fessenden
Jamie Fessenden set out to be a writer in junior high school. He published a couple short pieces in his high school's literary magazine and had another story place in the top 100 in a national contest, but it wasn't until he met his partner, Erich, almost twenty years later, that he began writing again in earnest. With Erich alternately inspiring and goading him, Jamie wrote several screenplays and directed a few of them as micro-budget independent films. He then began writing novels and published his first novella in 2010.
After nine years together, Jamie and Erich have married and purchased a house together in the wilds of Raymond, New Hampshire, where there are no street lights, turkeys and deer wander through their yard, and coyotes serenade them on a nightly basis. Jamie recently left his "day job" as a tech support analyst to be a full-time writer.