Ethan and Aidan are high school best friends, both somewhat outcasts but bond together. Neither will acknowledge their growing romantic feelings towards the other until graduation when they finally admit the truth and make plans for their future. Little does Ethan know that when he goes to see Aidan the next day, the boy has taken off without a word and disappears for 13 years.
Thirteen years is a very long time to be gone, without an explanation and when Aidan shows up again in Redemption, he immediately sets about repairing his relationship with Ethan. He tries to explain many times but Ethan isn’t interested in the reasons, many years too late after Ethan has gone through some extremely difficult and life altering experiences all alone. Ethan comes across as realistic in that he takes quite a bit of time to listen to Aidan’s reasons. It’s refreshing to see a character not just give in to chemistry and lust, ignoring all the pain, loneliness and heartache that they’ve had to endure in the meantime.
However, this is above all, a love story, spanning over decades as clearly these two still longed for the other and never really moved on, even after all this time. Ethan is a sympathetic character, dealing with the loss, pain, and turmoil that has plagued him since Aidan’s disappearance and makes Aidan really work to be involved in his life again. Ethan’s need for comfort, solace, love and partnership create a complex and engaging character.
Aidan was less sympathetic, his reasons for leaving were stretched thin, even considering the context of his age and circumstances, but even those reasons decline with each passing month and year he was away. The length of time he was gone without contacting Ethan even once, lends an air of disbelief to the character, his motives and ultimately any relationship between the two. His ultimately weak rationalization of continued silence was almost ignored, to the detriment of the story and character.
In a love story where the vehicle for progression tends to be the maturation of the relationship, rather than outside influences such as mystery, etc, the conflict between the two should rightfully take center stage. At various points in this story, it certainly is the focus, however, the conflict was either raging or ignored and finally lost in Ethan’s need for Aidan. Their sex, while running the gamut from scorching to sweet to angry, kept the chemistry factor high, glossing over the very minor outside influences introduced. The secondary characters introduced, siblings on both sides, were likable and entertaining and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were next in line for their own stories.
The story is at turns sweet, sexy, hot, intense, sad and the chemistry between the two characters is instantaneous and evident in their interactions. I wish the author had been slightly more creative in handling Aidan’s absence, which took away sympathy from an integral character, but the strength of the bond between the men was evident. It is certainly an easy, light read, although I’m not sure I’ll re-read it. I will however be interested to see what other books in this series Dane puts out.