When Zachary Hall leaves Utah for a job in Washington, it’s finally his chance to live as a gay man and maybe find someone special. In a bar he meets Thomas Scarborough, a man who seems perfect in and out of the bedroom. But Thomas never dates. He never even sleeps with the same man twice. Despite their instant connection, he can offer Zachary only his friendship, and Zachary is looking for more.
Thomas is tempted to break his own rules, but years before, he became the victim of a stalker who nearly destroyed his life. Even though his stalker died, Thomas obsessively keeps others at a distance. Despite his fascination with Zachary, he is unable to lower his barriers. Frustrated, Zachary accepts he will never have what he wants with Thomas and soon finds it with another man.
But young gay men in Washington, DC are being murdered, and the victims all have a connection to Thomas. Once again someone is watching Thomas’s every move. Can it be a coincidence? When the depraved killer turns his attention toward Zachary, Thomas must face the demons of his past—or lose his chance to open his heart to Zachary forever.
What can I say about this book without giving away too much? First, it takes the Police song (which no one at the time it came out realized was really a song about stalking) and puts a bit of an edge on it.
Thomas who self professes to be promiscious, is stalked until he has to leave his home, his family and his job and start over in Washington. But the worst part is how he handles it emotionally. He cuts himself off from anything that will allow him to feel close to someone. The sex is fine, but never a date, never a connection. He was so emotionally damaged, it isn’t difficult to see how his answer was to not allow anyone near enough to hurt him again.
With Zachary coming into the picture, there is such a connection, Thomas has a hard time denying it…yet he does. Often. Almost any chance he gets, which only causes more pain to both of them. Then you add in the suspense of murders that are connected somehow to Thomas, and you have the makings of a book that will keep you up late at night.
Finding a balance between suspense and romance is not easy. The author needs to keep the reader connected to the characters, and in this case characters who are not together other than physically for most of the book, as well as create a mysterious plot that even has the reader wondering who it is that is committing these heinous crimes.
One thing this book needed, and Robert Winter gave to the reader, was the POV of the killer. It allowed you to see what kind of mind was being dealt with. The man was literally insane. (I said online that I would likely never think of the word Beloved the same way again, and after having finished the book, it will still stand true.) The reader needed to see that. Not just that the killings happened, but the level that this man went to to have Thomas as his own. Side note here…how crazy is Robert Winter to be able to see that mind and be able to write it? Well done here. It kept me glued to the edge of my seat every time the stalker came onto the page.
Since I rarely read anything truly suspenseful, this was a departure from my normal reads. However, I found myself so engaged, wanting to know what happened next, and how this would play out, I read this ravenously. (Thank goodness I had no kids that needed dinner or to be transported or just to live 🙂 ) The tiny little pieces here and there gave me the clues I needed to hopefully help the MC’s find the killer in time. (I helped, right?)
One thing that didn’t quite work well for me was the epilogue. It almost seemed to be written after the rest of the book or by a different author. It didn’t quite feel completely true to the characters previous dialogue. Not enough to pull me out of the story, but enough to make me wonder if it was added later as an afterthought. However, I will also say because there was not a ton of interaction between the MC’s throughout the book, it could have been due to that.
Overall, very well done suspense and romantic pairing. I hope to read more from this author as he continues to venture into this genre.
4 pieces of eye candy