Self-proclaimed playboy, Aiden Vale, has it all – good looks, successful career, plenty of cash in the bank and an endless supply of men who know the score… that one night is just that. So the last thing he wants, or needs, is to forge a connection that might mean revealing more of himself than he’s ready to. But when fate intervenes, putting Aiden in the path of someone who threatens to knock down his carefully constructed walls, he’s quick to realize the young man he’s become infatuated with is hiding a painful secret.
I finally have a shot at freedom. I’ll never let anyone take that from me ever again…
Ash Valentine is just looking for a way out, and the last thing he wants or needs is another man controlling every aspect of his life. Desperate for the cash that will help him flee his abusive boyfriend, Ash accepts what is supposed to be a temporary job at a local coffee shop. But nothing prepares him for the gorgeous and enigmatic Aiden Vale, and the small acts of kindness the charming coffee shop regular bestows on him or the new friends he begins to make along the way.
I know he wants to save me, but what if he’s the one who needs saving…
As their tentative friendship turns into something more, long buried secrets begin to surface. When Aiden’s need to protect Ash clashes with the younger man’s desire for independence, memories of the one he couldn’t save begin to tear at the fragile cords of Aiden’s soul, and he’s forced to face a truth he’s been hiding from for a long time.
*** TRIGGER WARNING – includes scenes of domestic violence. ***
I really enjoyed book 1, so I was very excited about this second installment. I had very mixed feelings about Aiden in the previous book, and I was curious to see what the authors had in store for him.
Now I want to start this review, with saying that the trope in this book is one of my least favorites.
I am not a big fan of reading about domestic abuse. I am all about the hurt/comfort, but having to actually read about someone who is in an abusive relationship for more than half of the book, really took it out of me. I guess the difference lies in the fact, that this was all happening in the present, instead of it being flashbacks. I can deal with flashbacks better…because I know it’s in the past.
I have read a lot of “dark” books and I have no triggers. I actually really enjoy “dark” reads. It wasn’t so much that I was upset with what was going on… It’s that I was frustrated.
Both men in this story have tragic past.
In Ash’s case, this tragedy is still very much present. He has been in a relationship with Billy, for a long time. Things started out great between the two of them, but after some time, they go from bad to worse. Ash is now stuck in a relationship with a man, who has no problems treating him like crap and using his fists on him, whenever he sees fit.
Ash is miserable, but telling Billy they are over, is not working.
Aiden has had his own share of tragedy in the past, losing someone very close to him, left a black stain on his soul, and he still wakes up in the middle of the night crying and screaming…When Billy goes on some sort of business trip, Ash decides he needs to get a job. If he can make some money, he might be able to escape his ex-boyfriend’s clutches. He has already told Billy they were over…and even though Billy did not accept…he still considers him an ex.
Working as a barista in a coffee shop is how he meets Aiden. Aiden is completely smitten the moment he lays eyes on Ash, but he is also very aware of the fact, that there is something wrong with the handsome young man…That doesn’t mean he gives up though. It just means he has to find a way to work around Ash’s skittish behavior.
Ash is very wary about Aiden, but he can’t help but feel attracted to Aiden and when he sees how hard Aiden is trying to win him over…he gives in. He agrees to go on a date (well, a chaperoned date by Lucky, that is)…These two have a real “click” right from the start, and it’s obvious they both want to be with each other badly. But Billy isn’t out of the picture yet…
I got so frustrated with Ash. I wanted to scream and yell at him to “wake up” !! Halfway through this book, I debated quitting because Ash annoyed me that much.
I have never been in an abusive relationship…thankfully. So I have no idea, how someone in a situation like that, would feel or act. But with all the escaping Ash wanted to do from his ex, you would figure he would take the help that was offered to him and get the fuck out of dodge!!
This is why I don’t read about abusive relationships, I get so frustrated.
I just wanted Ash to stand up for himself and get out.
But like I said…I have never been in a relationship like that. It’s easy to say, I would never let something like that happen to me when I obviously have no idea what goes on in someone’s mind when they are in a situation like that.
Things get better though and Ash finally gets the courage to leave Billy and give Ash a real chance.
Too bad Billy is not ready to give up on Ash just yet…
Ash and Aiden were very sweet and HOT when they finally got together, but I have to say that Ash got over his abuse a bit fast. I am also still a bit angry that Billy got away with so many things, without any punishment.
I liked this book, but it didn’t enjoy it as much as book 1. I am still very curious to see where book 3 is gonna take us. 😀