Title: The Perils of Intimacy
Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Published: 1st May 2017
Genre: M/M (Contemporary)
Jimmy and Mark make an adorable couple. Jimmy’s kindness and clean-cut cuteness radiate out of him like light. Mark, although a bit older, complements Jimmy with his humor and his openness to love.
But between them, a dark secret lurks, one with the power to destroy.
See, when Mark believes he’s meeting Jimmy for the first time in the diner where he works, he’s wrong.
Mark has no recollection of their original encounter because the wholesome Jimmy of today couldn’t be more different than he was two years ago. Back then, Jimmy sported multiple piercings, long bleached dreadlocks, and facial hair. He was painfully skinny—and a meth addict. The drug transformed him into a different person—a lying, conniving thief who robbed Mark blind during their one-night stand.
Mark doesn’t associate the memory of a hookup gone horribly wrong with this fresh-faced, smiling twentysomething… but Jimmy knows. As they begin a dance of love and attraction, will Jimmy be brave enough to reveal the truth? And if he does, will Mark be able to forgive him? Can he see Jimmy for the man he is now and not the addict he was? The answers will depend on whether true love holds enough light to shine through the darkness of past mistakes.
This story is a bittersweet second chance romance between Jimmy, a lovely, young guy who works in a diner and Marc, who is older and quite shy; he’s an administrator for a health company. Told in alternating points of view, we first meet them when Marc goes for breakfast to the diner that Jimmy works in. They flirt and it is so sweet, there is an immediate spark, an attraction that they both feel. But Jimmy realises that the pair have met before, two years previously. Marc, at this point, is unaware as Jimmy looks completely different now than when they previously met. We then find out that two years ago Jimmy was addicted to crystal meth, skinnier and with long blond dreads. They hooked up one night at Marc’s place and Jimmy stole from him. This is the crux of the story. Jimmy really enjoyed his night with Marc and after randomly meeting again in the diner he really wants to get together with him again but he’s terrified that when Marc realises who he is that he will no longer want anything to do with him.
Marc is a shy guy who used to hook up with guys a lot. He would meet them on app sites and just hook up, not a lot of talking went on which suited his shy personality. This all changed when one of his random hook-ups stole from him. He’s older and lonely now and is looking for his Mr Right. The immediate attraction and playful flirting between him and Jimmy makes him now want to pursue things further. So back at work Marc chats away with his older best friend, former drag queen Don. Don is a great character, a real breath of fresh air, I loved him, found him hilarious. He persuades Marc to call Jimmy and they arrange a date which goes well.
Marc does eventually discover who Jimmy is and that he’s the hook-up that stole from him and he rightly walks away. This is the bittersweet moment in the book as we know just how much Jimmy has changed and how sorry he is for his previous actions. They both do a lot of soul searching and I really enjoyed the first person PoV as we get inside their heads and so have great insight into their thoughts and feelings. We get to see Jimmy’s ongoing struggle with addiction and I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. It was obviously well researched and felt very naturalistic. I was rooting for the pair of them, I really wanted them to work things out. The resolution and the slow coming back together with forgiveness and trust, hope and love was really engaging and just what I was hoping for. This is an enjoyable read dealing with the fallout of addiction and the hope that springs from a second chance romance.
Meet Rick R. Reed
The R is for romance... Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love.
He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, "a writer that doesn't disappoint."
Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever "at work on another novel."