Reviewed by Donna
TITLE: The Perils of Intimacy
AUTHOR: Rick R. Reed
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 200 Pages
RELEASE DATE: May 1, 2017
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.
When is a meet-cute not a meet-cute? When you’ve met before.
This story was truly everything I was hoping it would be. I was already a fan of Rick R. Reed’s books, but this one might just be my favourite so far.
Jimmy and Mark have a history, a history that Mark doesn’t remember and Jimmy wishes he could forget. Jimmy knows that one day Mark will connect him with the intimidating meth addict who he spent one night with years earlier, but he’s so attracted to Mark that he takes the gamble that it will all turn out ok in the end.
Let’s start with the obvious. That cover is fantastic. It’s eye catching in its simplicity, I love the black and white. And everything about the model – the hair, the look, the posture – it all screams JD (meth addicted Jimmy). I’ve gotten very picky about what books I review lately, but that cover combined with the blurb wouldn’t allow me to pass this one up. So, props to Reese Dante for the design, and good choice by the author.
The next big ticks in my opinion are the characters. This is a completely character driven story. There’re no murders, no zombies, no cute puppies and no outside interference to the main characters’ relationship. Even when Mark does connect Jimmy with JD, which I assumed would be used as the “required 80% mark misunderstanding/drama/breakup” the theatrics are kept to a minimum. And I was wrong, by the way. The author thankfully chose not to drag out the secret until the end of the book and stick to the old tried and true story model. Which I found refreshing. Instead he chose to reveal Jimmy’s secret early enough in the book that we as readers were privy to the struggle both men faced when dealing with the consequences. It wasn’t all just neatly wrapped up to give the men their happy ending, it continued to play out throughout the majority of the story before we saw any resolution.
But as I was saying – the characters. Both of these men were written as totally different people but while Jimmy was portrayed as “the damaged one” and Mark was the guy who had all his shit together, the author did a great job of showing that all people have faults. Mark wasn’t some perfect specimen who helped “save” Jimmy. Meeting Mark years prior didn’t magically make Jimmy decide that he wanted to be a better person. It was made clear that if someone wanted saving or changing, they could have help, but ultimately the decision rested with them. And both characters did have support, in the form of some wonderfully interesting secondary characters. I especially loved Miriam – loved her bluntness, loved her connection with Jimmy and loved her storyline. I’m so glad that the author included her.
Because it seems to be an important factor to some readers, I guess I should mention that there’s no on page sex in this story. And I really liked that lack. The men do have sex, but it really isn’t where their problems lie, so it didn’t need the page time. Trust me, these guys needed all the words to sort through their problems, not get down and dirty.
There wasn’t anything soft or sweet about this story. Normally there’s something to soften the bleak harshness of books that feature a character that battles some form of addiction. I didn’t find that here. But the author did make me feel proud of both men, something I definitely appreciated. Surprisingly it wasn’t really an angsty story either. Instead I’d call it realistic and I don’t think I could have enjoyed it more.