Author: Wade Kelly
Genre: GLBT Contemporary
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 28, 2011)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4.5Hearts
Blurb: A six-year downward spiral into a world of lies and deception leads to the end of one man’s life when self-discovery crosses the line between being the perfect son or following his heart.
Jimmy Miller never intended to lead a double life starting the day he fell in love with Darian, but his parents’ divorce, fighting in school, and constantly keeping secrets for his closeted best friend and protector, Matt, force his hand. Jimmy finds the demands too great to withstand and ends it all prematurely, leaving behind an angry best friend and a shattered lover.
Matt and Darian cling to one another in the aftermath of their loss, forging a new friendship immediately tested by the truths of their relationships with Jimmy that are hidden in the pages of Jimmy’s journals. Will Matt and Darian discover what truly happened to their friend? And will this tragedy birth something beautiful between them as they learn the balance between life, family, and friendship when love is simply not enough?
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
Review: This was an exceptionally difficult read for me. I know firsthand the sorrow those left behind suffer when a loved one feels no alternative to ending their life.
The story begins with alternating internal dialogue of two characters. You don’t know who they are, but you are plunged into the static of their echoing emotions. It’s messy, chaotic and so profoundly real that you are compelled to keep reading.
Matt and Jamie are best friends. Jamie and Darian are lovers. Yet neither Matt nor Darian have crossed paths with one another over a six-year period. How is that possible? One confused and determined young man. Jamie’s conflicting emotions for both boys/men had him struggling for balance and left him feeling the only option was to compartmentalize and separate each relationship.
The journey truly begins at the end, when Matt finds the journals Jamie left behind. The head hopping and time jumping can be a little difficult to follow at times. What proved the most overwhelming chapter for me was when Matt came to Jamie’s final few journal entries and the scene of Jamie’s last moments – disturbing, heartbreaking and raw.
Matt and Darian are thrown together by their grief, each seeking solace and answers. I know some are going to be appalled with Matt and Darian for the timing of their first encounter and how quickly their connection developed. I did have a hard time with it myself but that’s the woman in me. We want our significant other to move on if we die… after a respectable <long> mourning period. Men are different creatures entirely. Matt is depicted as somewhat reckless with sexual encounters. Darian has a clear fear of abandonment and he’s just been abandoned with no hope for Jamie’s return. So I understood their need for one another and forgave the timing.
This story isn’t about Matt and Darian falling in love. It’s about Jamie’s life and the impact he had on their lives. My romance junky wants the guaranteed HEA, I want to believe they find a way to support each other and make it together, but their story ends at the beginning. You’re left with hope.