Title: Every Breath You Take
Author: Robert Winter
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Page Count: 221 pages
Genre: M/M Romance, Thriller/Suspense
Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
When Zachary Hall leaves Utah for a job in Washington, it’s finally his chance to live as a gay man and maybe find someone special. In a bar, he meets Thomas Scarborough, a man who seems perfect in and out of the bedroom. But Thomas never dates. He never even sleeps with the same man twice. Despite their instant connection, he can offer Zachary only his friendship, and Zachary is looking for more.
Thomas is tempted to break his own rules, but years before, he became the victim of a stalker who nearly destroyed his life. Even though his stalker died, Thomas obsessively keeps others at a distance. Despite his fascination with Zachary, he is unable to lower his barriers. Frustrated, Zachary accepts he will never have what he wants with Thomas and soon finds it with another man.
But young gay men in Washington, DC are being murdered, and the victims all have a connection to Thomas. Once again someone is watching Thomas’s every move. Can it be a coincidence? When the depraved killer turns his attention toward Zachary, Thomas must face the demons of his past—or lose his chance to open his heart to Zachary forever.
Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter
Stalker = a person who harasses or persecutes someone with unwanted and obsessive attention (Def. according to Oxford Dictionaries)
Every Breath You Take conveys a sense of how creepy, nerve-wracking and life-altering such an obsession can be for the person in the center of this attention…
“Evil comes into our lives for many reasons and in many different ways, but it’s madness to imagine we have control or that we can single-handedly stop it. All we can do is face it and fight.”
…But it also reminds the reader that in most cases there is a reason for such a behavior.
Thomas Scarborough experienced this kind of fixation firsthand years ago when a casual hookup ends up with him being in the crosshairs of someone who traces his every move. Although the stalker dropped off the radar by reported suicide, the whole incident almost destroyed Thomas’s life and resulted in him taking serious precautions regarding his love life. He always led the life of a playboy, with his extremely good looks and wealthy background, but now his sole coping and defense mechanism consist of one big rule in his life: no hookup gets a repeat and no one stays the night.
His rule unravels when he meets Zachary Hall in a gay bar, a young man who escaped his small hometown to avoid coming out to his parents and to explore his sexuality without the fear of being exposed. Both men feel attracted to each other from the very beginning, but they also sense that this attraction could go deeper…
“You already know how handsome you are to me—don’t you dare smirk—but I think you’re even more beautiful inside.” ~Zach~
…Deeper than especially Thomas feels comfortable with. He tries his hardest to stick to his own rule, up to the point that Zach decides to move on and messes around with another man, but something in Zach makes it hard to keep Thomas’s resolve up and he begins to care for Zach in a way that is completely new to him. Due to the gruesome death of young gay men in his social environment, Thomas’s fear of being targeted yet again by someone whose obsession seems to escalate comes to life again and this time it is entirely possible that he is gunning for Zach…
At the beginning of the book I found it a bit hard to connect with the characters, but soon it became apparent that there is more to both men than meets the eye. Thomas hides his vulnerable side well by behaving a bit like a slut, but I loved that he uses his power and money to help people in need. He is the burnt child that dreads the fire and allows only a few select people to come near him, but he is utterly loyal to those who belong to his inner circle. Zach, who seems to me to be a bit naive at the beginning, proves to be a smart and witty guy who impresses with his amiable personality and his charm.
Admittedly, the writing style was sometimes a tad cheesy for my taste, especially near the ending in a situation when things were about to be resolved and it evoked more than one eye-roll from me. And the terms of endearment did sometimes sound a bit… strange. Seriously? Who the hell says to his lover “What do you need, sweet man?”???
What also niggled me was that the ‘L’ word came once again far too soon, especially since both men acknowledge the fact that they barely know each other. For me, love needs to be developed and established over time and both men definitely had not enough on-screen time together to accomplish that. On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised, though, that they took their time to deal with the aftermath of everything that happened and did not dive headfirst into a relationship.
Boy, everything in between, though? Compelling! The story captivated me and I could hardly put my Kindle down. The stalker seriously gave me the creeps right from the start and his escalation has been portrayed in a very believable fashion.
What amazed me the most, though, was the sex. Holy hotness…
THRILLING. SIZZLING. HOT.
Thomas and Zach definitely had chemistry and -damn- did Zach explore his sexuality… He helped Thomas discover a new side to himself buried so deep he never even knew he possessed. Believe me, when I say, you will love a bossy Zach and his dirty talk. 😀
Contributing to this engaging story were also some great side characters. Joe was such a sweetheart and Randy definitely made me want to read his story.
I hope there will be a chance to get his book someday. Recommended!