One night of drunken horsing around in their hotel room leads to the most intensely personal violation Derek has ever endured. As if the humiliation of working under his attacker every day isn’t enough, Victor reports Derek for sexual harassment. Now he’s without a job, without a boyfriend, and the mortgage on the cabin is due.
Officer Russ Thomas has worked with rape victims before, and it doesn’t take him long to sort out the truth in Derek’s tale. With his support, Derek finally reports the crime, months after it happened. But restraining orders and lawyers further Victor’s anger toward him, and even though a relationship develops between Derek and the policeman, Russ can’t be there to protect him all the time.
I will admit to being a little afraid of reading this book. I am always concerned about how a rape scene, especially one that is actually written into the book, will be handled. Will it be graphic? Will it be handled well or just glossed over? Can I handle it? So, honestly, even though I was excited to read this, I had to wait until I had “gathered my courage”, before I could sit down and read it.
However, I have to commend Jamie on the handling of this book, from beginning to end. The rape scene was handled so well. I expected to cry (because I am a crier!), but I did not, although I felt rage, and so many raw emotions as I read it. I also really felt that the entire aftermath was handled so expertly. Women report rape very rarely, and men report it even more rarely than that. The stigma that goes along with rape, by victims, often can be that they allowed it, or did not express “NO” clearly enough, and Jamie really wrote that into Derek’s character.
Derek was a man who was physically fit, lifted weights, confident. And yet, on one drunken evening was raped. He lost so much from that night, his job, his virginity and his self confidence. Yet, what was a fascinating part of his character is that before he was raped, he had had the mindset that bottoming was something a manly man did not do, adding yet another layer to how difficult it was for him to find a method of recovering from such a brutal assault.
Meeting Russ, being attracted to him, and even spending some time with him, all before the rape, was critical to Derek finding a level of trust with Russ. What was so key, though, was Jamie portrayed how slow this was. This could have been handled with almost an insta-love feel, but that was not true to the character or the situation. Just a peck on the lips took months. Sleeping in the same bed, with clothes on, and a pillow between them, was a standard mode for a long time. So true to the characters, and to Derek’s recovery. Trust would not come easy to someone who’s trust had been so completely broken. Trust in others, but also in himself, having been friends with his rapist for 20 years.
This book was heart-wrenching, but handled so truthfully, so accurately, to how I believe a man who was raped would have dealt with such a crushing event, even down to how he saw himself. And seeing how Derek was able to slowly recover, finding his way back to himself, back to being able to have a loving relationship was just incredible. So well done.
A beautiful story! 4.5 pieces of eye candy.