I enjoy reading stories about people who face challenges and come through it entirely or have learned how to grow beyond the challenge to a fulfilling life. In this heartwarming read, the author, who has intimate knowledge of Tourette’s, has chosen that one of his heroes, Carter, is a music transposer who lives with Tourette’s. His other hero, Ethan, is a survivor of an accident that gave him a traumatic brain injury.
Carter moves away from LA to a smaller coastal California town where he can- well, hide. He has been hurt by three different romantic entanglements and his Tourette’s is a source of painful embarrassment to him. Carter can work out of the home so he buys his first house, packs up and moves to a place where nobody knows him and he’ll tolerate being a recluse for the sake of not being noticed.
Carter’s plans go awry just as soon as he sets eyes on the gorgeous man who lives next door. Carter spies him standing out in the night looking up at the stars. It is the next day that he gets a chance to meet him at the local coffee shop where Ethan works. An incident he witnesses shows him that Ethan’s dealing with his own challenges and it gives Carter the opportunity to meet Ethan. Unfortunately, Carter messes that up with an unthinking remark and now has the responsibility to make good with Ethan.
Ethan lives with his parents and fifteen year old younger brother. He struggles with simple, but complex tasks and social subtleties, but he is wise enough to understand the important things in life. Ethan sees the world around him through music and he instantly falls in love with the music that is Carter. It confounds him when Carter insists that they just be friends.
Carter and Ethan’s story flows along at a steady pace as it grows from simple companionship to something vastly deeper. They must learn each other and then they must face a hardship from Ethan’s life that tests their relationship to the utmost. There is an instant attraction and physical intimacy comes, but I loved how relationship building was the key. I also was struck by the way Carter went from being alone in the beginning to each new encounter with Ethan’s family and friends bringing good supportive people into his life that were keepers. And Ethan benefited from contact with Carter’s friend Alice and the play company people who allowed him to get something back that he lost in his accident. The story does have its crisis that was a complete surprise to me and really just intensified my interest.
I have to make a comment about the voices and feel of this story because I think it is one of the best things about it. The story is from both of their perspectives and the voices use for each one particularly when there is internal dialogue was spectacular writing. It allowed me to really be inside the character’s heads as they experienced things and each other.
I highly recommend this story for those who enjoy heartwarming slow build m/m contemporary romances.
Author Link: Goodreads