Regularly Scheduled Life by KA Mitchell

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I’m slow on my m/m fiction this week, I got sucked into the Frank Herbert endless black hole of fiction. However, I swear I could buy books with an Anne Cain cover simply for the art alone.

Regularly Scheduled Life by KA Mitchell



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Blurb:
It’s a long way back to happily ever after.

Sean and Kyle have enjoyed six perfect years of what their friends called a “disgustingly happy” relationship. But what happens one sunny Tuesday morning in October might be more than even the most loving couple can survive.

When the bell rings that morning in chemistry teacher Sean Farnham’s first-period class, a terrifying sound fills the halls—gunshots. Without considering the consequences, Sean runs to tackle the shooter, sustaining a bullet wound to his leg. Despite his actions, he is unable to save the lives of the principal and two students.

Architect Kyle DeRusso hears about the shooting on the radio, and in the flash of an instant finds his life irrevocably altered. Everything—especially his heart—hangs suspended in a nightmare until he finds out Sean is alive. It doesn’t matter that Sean will be left with a permanent limp. Kyle’s just relieved the worst is over.

Or is it? Putting that day behind them isn’t as simple as it sounds. As Sean struggles to make something positive out of the tragedy, Kyle fights to save their relationship from the dangers of publicity—and Sean’s unwillingness to face how the crisis has changed him.

 

Review:

Sean and Kyle have a really good relationship. The opening scene shows the depth and ease of their partnership early and perfectly. Kyle still feels that spark of chemistry, the hitch in his breath looking at his lover even after six years. Their familiarity and comfort with each other speaks volumes not only to their love but how their relationship works as individuals and as a couple. So when Sean is shot in a school shooting, Kyle can’t imagine a life without Sean and needs to know on a visceral level that Sean is still alive. Their differing approaches to dealing with the aftermath create a complex and difficult journey as they both struggle to move beyond the life changing event. In a beautifully written book, the author shows that the repercussions of such actions linger for longer and broader than most ever know or imagine.

Sean is a remarkably complex man, a high school science teacher and baseball coach that if not openly gay, certainly takes no pains to hide either his sexual orientation or his lover. He is the one that usually handles the more physical of their relationship, he handles the “outside chores” while Kyle handles the “inside chores” which doesn’t include cooking – that is solely Sean’s territory. Sean is used to being in charge with a large, vibrant personality. Although he’s often stubborn and bossy, those very qualities ensure that the relationship will survive as Sean simply will not allow any other outcome. So when he is physically and emotionally injured by the shooting, Sean’s normal abilities are strained and often impossible. Simple things such as walking, driving, climbing stairs are suddenly herculean efforts leaving him short tempered and angry. Sean’s anger and guilt at his actions and inactions prompt a majority of his decisions and outbursts, giving a very honest portrayal of his struggle.

Kyle is an equally complex character, an OCD architect who handles all the details such as paying bills, indoor plumbing, and kitchen remodeling. His hatred and bafflement of grocery shopping was just one of many endearing and charming quirks of his fiery personality. Quick to temper, Kyle often removes himself from the situation before saying something irrevocable. He prefers to avoid fights rather than have them, afraid that his temper will prompt permanent anger and hurt with a quick retort. His fear for Sean and wish to simply move on, get past the shooting, and mostly get back to their lives and their happiness blinds him to Sean’s struggles sometimes. Kyle has difficulty understanding how the shooting will never be far from Sean’s mind as it’s changed him but how much as it changed the man Kyle loves? Their painful and heated attempts to find a new balance while clinging to the foundation of their relationship makes for a heart felt journey.

Although told from alternating points of view, sometimes from Sean or Kyle, I ultimately ended up empathizing with Kyle more of the two characters. While Sean’s motives and reasoning was understood, Kyle seemed unable to stop himself from reacting the way he did. His love for Sean seemed so big and overwhelming at times, his fear of losing that colored his own vision and understanding. There is a scene where Sean admits to himself that he’s always loved Kyle more than Kyle loved him and accepted that but that felt more like Sean’s insecurity. Often Kyle’s devotion and need for Sean seemed to simmer just below the surface of all their interactions 

Together these men are neither perfect nor inherently flawed. They are genuine men who fight, make up, make mistakes and above all, love each other desperately. The emotions elicited were authentic as their experiences were vastly different yet their goal is still the same. Sean’s decision to work with a public relations consultant, Brandt, was difficult and controversial as was Kyle’s continued reaction to the man and schedule Sean accepted without a qualm. Their fights, non-fights, sexual connection and avoidance of the problems hidden badly under the rug give warmth to the characters and their plight, while carrying along on their roller coaster of emotion and problems. Sean and Kyle’s game of saying I love you was wonderful and a touch of welcome humor (as was their friend Tom) in an emotionally charged story.

This is a fantastic character driven story with two incredibly hot and complicated men. The author has such a deft hand at driving the characters and their story, increasing the tension when needed but diffusing a situation before either man implodes with humor, grace, and sexual need which demonstrate the complimentary way Sean and Kyle are able to merge two dominant personalities into a loving and deeply caring relationship. Their story travels a full range of emotion from heart breaking sadness to loneliness, anger and rage, humor, smoking hot sex, confusion, fear, love. While the ending was somewhat of a short resolution, by then, the characters deserved their happy ending. There were some inconsistencies within the story but they in no way detract from its enjoyment and without a doubt, this story is going on my keeper shelf.

If I haven’t made it clear – I urge you to get this book.

Buy it HERE!

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