Through Ryan’s trials, there are three different perspectives: a best friend watching from the outside, a lover desperate to get in, and his own mind.
His struggles were theirs. He just didn’t know it.
A tragic accident changed Dr. Ryan Jacobs’ life and freed him from a past he thought he’d never escape, but with that freedom came the realization: he could escape the man, but would be bound to the torturous battle within his mind. Fighting for control of his thoughts, he lived recklessly in a life of addiction and the next good time. Wearing a mask of deception, and hiding it beautifully behind his playboy ways, he fooled himself into thinking this was the real him, but he couldn’t fool everyone.
Dr. Michael Jonas considered Ryan more than just a friend, he was his family. With the support of his wife, Michael held Ryan’s hand, listened to him cry, and helped him through the hardest events of his life. He could see through the fake smiles and playboy attitude, seeing his best friend for the man he really was. After Michael’s wife had given birth to their first child, Michael vowed never to let pain affect his family again, Ryan included. But Michael carried his own burdens and watching Ryan struggle was harder than he thought. It tore him apart, silently, until there was only one choice. Save his best friend before it was too late.
As a high-powered attorney, Jayson Alexander thrived on easy thrills both in his professional and personal life, but when his heart broke the rules, he had no choice but to break it and run from the pain. Obsessive about controlling his own life, he set goals and rules and tried to ensure his own happiness, but life had a different plan. So he sought out answers and took on a case that would eventually change everything. He was drawn to Ryan from the moment he laid eyes on him. With a magnetic connection he couldn’t deny, he found Ryan irresistible, but he found out quickly the connection was more than physical. Jayson wanted Ryan, but how could he fight the demons Ryan’s mind was creating and stop them from pushing him away?
Ryan built a force field around his heart, vowing after that tragic day, no man would be allowed close enough to ever hurt him again, but with the support of his best friend and the man he loved, could Ryan beat The Struggle Within once and for all?
Due to strong sexual content and language, The Struggle Within is intended for mature readers 18 years of age or over.
Trigger warning: The Struggle Within may contain a subject matter that is sensitive to some readers as it deals with domestic abuse, self-harm, and addictive behavior. The author asks that the reader please take these warnings seriously and requests discretion be advised.
This could have been a very difficult read based on the subject matter. And honestly, at times it was. But the way the story was told made it so much more “readable”.
We begin when Ryan meets the charismatic Calvin. We get a brief fast forward of their relationship and hints of abuse. That part of the story ends with a declaration from Calvin that they were moving so that he can take a position at a different hospital.
Fast forward. We go from a emotionally and physically beaten down Ryan to a seemingly happy doctor having sex in quiet hallways of a hospital. I was thrown for a minute, but I kept reading and it made sense.
By not only telling the story from three different points of view- Ryan, his best friend Michael, and his new love interest Jayson, but also using flash backs of his time in the relationship with Calvin, make it so that the story doesn’t crush you. Because it really could. Had it been told strictly chronologically, I don’t know how many could have gotten through it. And it really wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting.
If absolutely nothing else, I hope that this book creates awareness of something that I am sure few think about. But yes, there is abuse in non-hetero relationships. It isn’t talked about much for the same reason a husband in a hetero relationship probably wouldn’t admit to abuse by his wife. But it is out there, far more prevalent than we think.
We do, luckily, get a happily ever after. I am not adverse to sad endings at all. But this book needed it. Because we really need to know that Ryan is going to be ok.
Also take the time to read the personal stories and poems at the beginning and end of the book. So powerful.
Pieces of Candy: 4 1/2