Title: The Perils of Intimacy
Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 200 Pages
At a Glance: I was rooting for these guys every step of the way. Another fantastic story from Rick Reed!
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Jimmy and Mark make an adorable couple. Jimmy’s kindness and clean-cut cuteness radiate out of him like light. Mark, although a bit older, complements Jimmy with his humor and his openness to love.
But between them, a dark secret lurks, one with the power to destroy.
See, when Mark believes he’s meeting Jimmy for the first time in the diner where he works, he’s wrong.
Mark has no recollection of their original encounter because the wholesome Jimmy of today couldn’t be more different than he was two years ago. Back then, Jimmy sported multiple piercings, long bleached dreadlocks, and facial hair. He was painfully skinny—and a meth addict. The drug transformed him into a different person—a lying, conniving thief who robbed Mark blind during their one-night stand.
Mark doesn’t associate the memory of a hookup gone horribly wrong with this fresh-faced, smiling twentysomething… but Jimmy knows. As they begin a dance of love and attraction, will Jimmy be brave enough to reveal the truth? And if he does, will Mark be able to forgive him? Can he see Jimmy for the man he is now and not the addict he was? The answers will depend on whether true love holds enough light to shine through the darkness of past mistakes.
Review: I finished Rick R. Reed’s The Perils of Intimacy late last week, and I’m still thinking about it days later. I imagine Jimmy and Marc are going to leave a lasting impression on most readers; it’s that kind of book. This isn’t an easy-breezy romance, but it’s also not a total angst fest. There are light moments—moments where you’ll chuckle at some funny reference or cute bit of dialogue—but, there are also lots of gut checks, and things that will make you stop and think.
Marc is quickly approaching his fortieth birthday, and seems to live a pretty quiet life. Though it’s clear that he used to enjoy going out for a good time, and had no trouble getting guys, his clubbing days are definitely behind him. He now spends his days in the cubicle jungle, and most nights heads home alone. So, it’s quite an unexpected surprise one morning when the cute, and obviously much younger, waiter at the diner flirts with Marc and leaves him his number.
I loved, loved the meet-cute between Jimmy and Marc (and the way that we’re told about how it happened through Jimmy’s first person narration makes it even cuter). But, right away there’s a possible roadblock.
When is a meet-cute not a meet-cute?
When you’ve met before.
Dun dun dunnnnn…
Jimmy recognizes Marc from a one-night stand two years ago, when he was in the throes of his meth addiction and stole a number of possessions and some cash from Marc’s home. Panic sets in momentarily, but then Jimmy realizes that Marc doesn’t recognize him. And, why would he? Jimmy looks nothing like the tweaker Marc met on Adam4Adam and invited to his house for sex that night. He’s now two years into his recovery and looks like the picture of health and vitality. So, Jimmy takes a breath, tells himself that he deserves a shot at happiness, and gives Marc his phone number.
They meet the next evening, and one date quickly turns into two. I loved the immediate connection they both felt, and how easy things were between them. The initial date and then the second one the next night are so romantic and meaningful to them both. Though, in truth, part of poor Jimmy is just waiting for the other shoe to drop the whole time. Which, of course, it does.
We learn a lot about both Marc and Jimmy as they try to come to terms with what happened that night, and what it means for their future, if they even have one. I found Marc’s hindsight recollection to be so interesting compared to when he first realized who Jimmy was. Initially, he felt betrayed and violated all over again, and understandably so. Jimmy didn’t only steal material things that night, he also robbed Marc of his ability to trust or be intimate with anyone again for months. In hindsight, though, Marc took a good look at what led up to him inviting Jimmy/JD over, and his own actions that evening. And, he had to be honest with the idea that maybe Jimmy wasn’t the only one with demons.
Reed covers some tough topics in this book, and the writing is outstanding. I loved all the messages of hope and empowerment that he included regarding recovery. Everyone’s journey is so personal and unique, and that really came across in the story. I have to say something quickly about Jimmy’s sponsors. He has a sponsor named Miriam, who was his first sponsor, and whom Jimmy credits with really being his savior, and then there is Kevin, who is also Jimmy’s roommate. They’re both great, but there is something particularly special about Miriam. You’ll have to read the book to find out what it is!
This was such a thought-provoking and engaging read. There were brief moments when I wanted something different out of it—More romance, perhaps? Heavier reads are so hard, you know?—but that just wasn’t this book. And, I loved it for what it was—an insightful look at addiction, the power of secrets, and the beauty of understanding and forgiveness. I loved Marc and Jimmy together. The beginning of the blurb describes them so perfectly… “Jimmy and Marc make an adorable couple. Jimmy’s kindness and clean-cut cuteness radiate out of him like light. Marc, although a bit older, complements Jimmy with his humor and his openness to love.” I was rooting for these guys every step of the way. Another fantastic story from Rick Reed!
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