REVIEWED by Caroline
TITLE: The Struggle Within
AUTHOR: Tyler May
PUBLISHER: Self Published
LENGTH: 435 Pages
RELEASE DATE: April 15, 2017
Through Ryan’s trials, there are three different perspectives: a best friend watching from the outside, a lover desperate to get in, and his own mind.
His struggles were theirs. He just didn’t know it.
A tragic accident changed Dr. Ryan Jacobs’ life and freed him from a past he thought he’d never escape, but with that freedom came the realization: he could escape the man, but would be bound to the torturous battle within his mind. Fighting for control of his thoughts, he lived recklessly in a life of addiction and the next good time. Wearing a mask of deception, and hiding it beautifully behind his playboy ways, he fooled himself into thinking this was the real him, but he couldn’t fool everyone.
Dr. Michael Jonas considered Ryan more than just a friend, he was his family. With the support of his wife, Michael held Ryan’s hand, listened to him cry, and helped him through the hardest events of his life. He could see through the fake smiles and playboy attitude, seeing his best friend for the man he really was. After Michael’s wife had given birth to their first child, Michael vowed never to let pain affect his family again, Ryan included. But Michael carried his own burdens and watching Ryan struggle was harder than he thought. It tore him apart, silently, until there was only one choice. Save his best friend before it was too late.
As a high-powered attorney, Jayson Alexander thrived on easy thrills both in his professional and personal life, but when his heart broke the rules, he had no choice but to break it and run from the pain. Obsessive about controlling his own life, he set goals and rules and tried to ensure his own happiness, but life had a different plan. So he sought out answers and took on a case that would eventually change everything. He was drawn to Ryan from the moment he laid eyes on him. With a magnetic connection he couldn’t deny, he found Ryan irresistible, but he found out quickly the connection was more than physical. Jayson wanted Ryan, but how could he fight the demons Ryan’s mind was creating and stop them from pushing him away?
Ryan built a force field around his heart, vowing after that tragic day, no man would be allowed close enough to ever hurt him again, but with the support of his best friend and the man he loved, could Ryan beat The Struggle Within once and for all?
Due to strong sexual content and language, The Struggle Within is intended for mature readers 18 years of age or over.
Trigger warning: The Struggle Within may contain a subject matter that is sensitive to some readers as it deals with domestic abuse, self-harm, and addictive behavior. The author asks that the reader please take these warnings seriously and requests discretion be advised.
First of all heed the warnings on this one. The Struggle Within deals with domestic abuse, self-harm and addiction and for the most part it is on page as it is integral to the story. Before and after the actual story there are true and very personal accounts from survivors of abusive relationships and the bravery of these men putting their stories out there is amazing.
The Struggle Within is Dr Ryan Jacobs story for the main part and is a harrowing portrayal of his life after he thought he married the man of his dreams but who in fact turned out to be his worst nightmare. Ryan is systematically abused and brainwashed into giving up his family and friends as his husband Calvin takes over all aspects of his life. Calvin was Ryan’s first everything; first kiss, first lover, first person to beat him up and first person to drive him to try and take his own life. But there is hope as Calvin is also the first person Ryan snatches his life back from but that comes much later and at a huge cost.
There are two other men who feature heavily in this story – Dr Michael Jonas who is himself a survivor of abuse becomes Ryan’s everything over the years. There is never anything romantic between the two men but Michael is responsible for saving Ryan’s life – literally. He offers Ryan safety and he and his wife Jenna become Ryan’s family. Their bond runs deep and there is nothing that Michael won’t do to save Ryan. The other man pertinent to the story is Jayson Alexander who is Jenna’s brother, Michael’s lawyer and the first man to get under Ryan’s skin and not be put off by his ‘fuck them and leave them’ attitude. As he stumbled through the minefield that was Ryan he finds himself falling for the man who bears both visible and hidden scars.
For the main part the story revolves around Ryan’s recovery which is slow and painful. It happens in the aftermath of an event that once again changes the course of Ryan’s life and involves both Michael and Jayson as he bounces between highs and lows and second guesses every emotion he feels. I loved that Jayson wasn’t perfect but the way he tried was perfection. Michael was such a generous and caring man and his impact on Ryan from the moment they met was massive. This story is a toughie and won’t be for everyone. My only gripe was the editing or lack of – it’s definitely a book that could have been made slicker. It has left me with a book hangover for the characters and it’s a story that will stay with me for a long time.