Tate Walker’s past is too painful to just disappear, even if his dream boy, Brian Cooper, is there to hold his hand. Brian does his best, but Talker—always good at avoiding his own pain—is having a hard time facing the truth about what happened when he trusted the wrong man at the wrong time.
When that truth resurfaces and lands Brian in the hospital, Talker is forced to make a choice. He can either confront every demon in his fragile, bleeding heart, or he can let Brian take the heat for him, just like he has from the beginning. But even Talker knows you don’t leave your dream boy alone and undefended when he just saved your life, and he’ll have to find the strength to take care of Brian when Brian needs him the most.
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Talker’s Redemption is a stunning sequel to the wonderfully moving and emotional Talker. This sequel has all the charm and heart wrenching intensity of the first book and although can be read on its own, I wouldn’t recommend. Definitely read the first book from Brian’s point of view and then pick this up from Talker’s perspective. Lane delivers another engaging, well written, and absorbing story that you don’t want to end. Once again I wish this had been combined with the original Talker to deliver a full sized novel that I could really sink into but I do adore these men with their flaws and strengths anyway.
The sequel continues the same non-linear pattern as the original book. Here the flashbacks are a therapy session between Talker, Brian, and their doctor. In that session Talker is attempting to talk about the night he was raped, an event that Talker can’t even say and still feels enormous guilt about. This session is shown in italics and in the past mixes with present day events. One night after work Talker and Brian get into a fight with Talker’s rapist, Trevor, and Brian is badly hurt. The story switches between the therapy session and the current events as Talker must search for strength he doesn’t think he possesses.
While Brian was the real star of the first book, here the hidden depths of Talker are explored. The twitchy, easily freaked out, scared mentality of Talker comes through in the writing as his thoughts – and subsequently the story – jump around somewhat chaotically. Talker mixes the therapy session with the events going on and shows how they mirror his thoughts and emotions. Coming through a terrible ordeal like a rape, Talker has a lot of guilt and mixed emotion. He wonders if it was his fault, he thinks he didn’t do enough to stop it, and he clings to the strength Brian offers and feels guilty about needing it.
Talker is an easy character to like and sympathize with. He’s so broken, scared, and yet devoted to Brian that you can’t help but adore him. Yet it’s his strength and courage that shine through. When Talker is at his lowest, his weakest, he never gives up and never gives in. He fights to protect Brian with the same kind of fierce devotion that Brian shows him. Their protection may be different but no less meaningful and important. Watching Talker move beyond something to painful, so hurtful and something he almost completely broke from to emerge a stronger individual makes an intense and absorbing character driven story.
The writing is very clean with no obvious mistakes and straddles a difficult line of showing as much as possible even in memories. The prose is very good with a great talent in weaving flashbacks so they’re not annoying or overpowering. Each scene is important and has a purpose to the characters and story. Once again if I have a complaint it’s that several of these scenes are so intense and meaningful I’d love to have seen more. The romantic exchange between Talker and Brian when they have penetrative sex for the first time is lovely but the connection between the two, the humor, love, and affection is really wonderful. The pet rat they take care is a nice addition as is the reappearance of friends and family.
Again if there are any negative attributes it’s only that I’d have truly loved this duo of stories if they’d been combined into one story. However that’s a personal preference and these novellas stand incredibly well as they’re crafted. The characters are well developed, engrossing, and you never want the story to end. This couple is one I’ll happily revisit time and time again. Perhaps next time it’ll be a happy event even.