REVIEWED by Jen B.
TITLE: Too Close
AUTHOR: R. Phoenix
LENGTH: 160 Pages
RELEASE DATE: December 30, 2016
Skylar Orion’s life has been complicated ever since his mother abandoned him and his sister Evie. Making ends meet seemed impossible until Tate Chandler took them in — his knight in shining armor who promised to make life about more than just surviving. But Tate is not the man he seemed to be, and even his whispered I love yous and generous gifts do little to soothe the pain he causes. Knowing he can’t give his sister all that she deserves without Tate, Skylar stays with him, relying on bad puns and a worse sense of humor to keep up the charade.
For his sister he will do anything, even if that means acting the responsible adult and going back to his old high school to meet Dexter Weston, the hot math teacher who can make even algebra interesting. Sparks fly between the two of them, but with his dependence on Tate, Skylar isn’t free to follow his heart. He wants what is best for Evie, but can he pass up the chance to find love that heals instead of harms?
Skylar has been taking care of his younger sister the best way he can. Unfortunately, with little options left, he used what he had and traded sex for money. He ended up catching the attention of Tate, an older gentleman (using term loosely) who made Skylar an offer he couldn’t refuse. In exchange for Skylar being at his sole disposal, he took Skylar and Evie in. As time went on, Tate’s treatment of Skylar worsened, but still with little other options, he endured, for the sake of Evie.
Tate and Skylar’s “relationship” seems to have some rather classic symptoms. Tate has a violent temper, is extremely controlling and jealous and takes it out on Skylar with little regard. He makes up for it with promises and trinkets ensuring he will get better and not hurt Skylar again. We see some of what Skylar deals with, how it makes him feel, and it is easy to see his struggles. He tries so hard to take care of and shelter Evie, caring little for his own health and safety. His feelings of being trapped in a situation and wanting to get out, yet feeling a duty to the only person who seemingly helped him, were difficult to read but easy to understand.
Evie, who doesn’t know the half of what Skylar endures, acts out and her teachers take notice, most notably, her math teacher, Dexter. Dexter and Skylar hit it off right away. Dexter awakens a light of hope in Skylar, brings a spark back into his life that appeared to be just about snuffed out. It isn’t an easy path for either of them, as Skylar is still tied to Tate, and Dexter must sit back and watch as he figures out what is going on.
This was a beautifully written story of sadness, strength and hope with a bright light at the end. There wasn’t a quick fix, and Dexter didn’t just swoop in and save the day. It takes time and patience for Skylar to open up and trust again, but I really enjoyed watching it happen. This was my first taste of this author, and I will surely be looking to read more from Ms. Phoenix in the future.