PIERCING THE NIGHT
Cary Stilwell has been existing since he was ten years old, and each year it gets harder to find meaning in his bleak life. The only exception – his work. As a top-billed aerialist in a popular travelling circus, he enjoys accolades and applause, but little else. When notable photographer, Rhys McIntyre, joins the circus to catalogue its inner workings, Cary fights the attraction that hits him from the moment they meet. But a kind soul wrapped in a beautiful body has a way of battering all the walls Cary has built around his cold, dark heart.
Rhys McIntyre is on his third iteration of reinventing himself. Once a hotdog financier, he embraced his passion for photography and became an eminent war photo journalist. Until one too many bullets lodged in his body, and he gave up the front lines for the softer side of chronicling life. When he accepts the assignment to record life in a circus, the last thing he expects is to find the man crush of his dreams. Except Cary Stilwell is a cold, tortured man who seems incapable of any warm emotion, never mind love. But Rhys is known for his persistence, and this time the pay-off might be more than he could have ever imagined.
This book delves into subjects some people may find disturbing. There are elements of the main characters’ pasts that include paedophilia, the dark side of religion, and the horrors of war. Aspects of the story include self-harm, depression, and suicide, and the book is set in a circus where clowns are featured.
None of these elements are gratuitous, but instead are included because they are part of the human condition, and are essential to our main characters’ journeys. I hope you join Cary and Rhys as they navigate their way to love.
Title: Living On Air
Author: Susan Mac Nicol
Released on February 22nd 2018
I don’t give 5 pieces of eye candy easily, or even very often. Not even if a book makes me cry (and by the way, why am I not used to this? EVERY SINGLE TIME I pick up a Susan Mac Nicol book, I don’t just cry, I cry buckets, and my heart rips out…), or laugh a ton. It has to be a book that I would read again, without hesitation–well, I do hesitate at crying over and over, but that’s a story for a different day. But Susan Mac Nicol puts so much into her books, hits the feels so hard, and tells a story that you may not think you are going to love, based on the topic, but that will make you root for the one who is hurting so very much. And once again, she does it.
Living On Air is one of those books for me. It was hard to read in many places. I just wanted to Cary up in a cuddly blank and take all his pain away. And there was so much pain! And so many reasons for it. (Small spoiler ahead) Cary harming himself was difficult to read, seeing how he felt the physical pain of cutting helped him to ease the emotional pain that he couldn’t escape from. He literally ran away to the circus to hide.
Rhys had his own pain that he brought into their relationship, but generally was able to keep a sunny personality. He also didn’t allow Cary’s pain and lashing out to make him forget the man he was. He wasn’t willing to give up the person he was, in order to allow Cary to emotionally beat him up. He wanted Cary to know that no matter what he would be there for him, whenever he called, but wouldn’t allow their relationship to be one where he was dragged down. I had so much respect for Rhys for that. That isn’t easy to do, especially when you see how much someone you care about is falling apart.
The ending was literally an HFN, and the characters even described it that way, and it was exactly as it should have been. There could be no expectations with someone who was as demon-ridden as Cary that he would be reading for an HEA after a few months. That kind of pain takes years to scab over, and likely would never fully heal. As a reader, I am always looking for the HEA, but if that was there it would have seemed shallow and unrealistic. However, as a reader, I will also beg Sue to please, please write a short at a later time with a follow up to these men, to see how they have progressed as they start a new life together (hopefully).
5 pieces of eye candy, and an entire box of tissues for Living On Air.
Susan Mac Nicol is a self-confessed bookaholic, an avid watcher of videos of sexy pole dancing men, geek and nerd and in love with her Smartphone. This little treasure is called ‘the boyfriend’ by her long suffering husband, who says if it vibrated, there’d be no need for him. Susan hasn’t had the heart to tell him there’s an app for that…
She is never happier than when sitting in the confines of her living room/study/on a cold station platform scribbling down words and making two men fall in love. She is a romantic at heart and believes that everything happens (for the most part) for a reason. She likes to think of herself as a ‘half full’ kinda gal, although sometimes that philosophy is sorely tested.
In an ideal world, Susan Mac Nicol would be Queen of England and banish all the bad people to the Never Never Lands of Wherever -Who Cares. As that’s never going to happen, she contents herself with writing her HEA stories and pretending, that just for a little while, good things happen to good people.