Author: Royal Blue
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Publication date: April 16, 2019
Length: 233 pages
Reviewed by Michael
My Brother's Keeper Collection: Book One
Some scars are on the body, while others exist only on the heart. But together, two scarred souls can find healing, love, and family.
Professional basketball player Kyle Tyson is suffocating beneath the weight of his responsibilities and his past. Childhood abuse left its mark, as did Kyle’s guilt over his sister’s death. Now he’s trying to raise his young nephew, pursue his career, and dodge a narcissistic and manipulative ex who wants to out Kyle before he’s ready.
Schoolteacher Andy Connor found comfort in food as a boy, and he bears the marks of a botched skin-tightening surgery following the dramatic weight loss that saved his life. Still, Andy is insecure about his body and can scarcely believe someone like Kyle could be interested in him. But as they get to know each other, Andy starts to see himself through new eyes. Now if he can just help Kyle learn to love himself as much as Andy is growing to love him.
Okay, I’ll be the first to admit: basketball ain’t my thing. I played for a season and found that I was a better bench warmer than player. But, while I may suck on the court, I can certainly read about it, right?
On the outside, Kyle may look like he has it all together. He’s a star basketball player, with a nice house, loads of money, and a group of friends that are more like family. But, he’s not as happy as you’d think someone would be with all of that. Closeted out of necessity (remember, he’s a basketball star) raising his nephew after his sister passes away and trying to provide stability while traveling. Throw in a dark secret from his childhood and a manipulative ex, and he’s this close to miserable.
Andy’s had his share of childhood trauma stemming from an eating disorder. While the weight may be gone, the emotional and physical scars have taken their toll. He also happens to be Kyle’s nephew’s teacher.
They meet at a friend’s pool party, and the sparks are literally instantaneous. From there, the story is about them navigating Kyle’s world, through championship playoffs to homophobia in the locker room, as well as Andy’s job as a teacher.
There’s a scene in this book that, on its surface could be nothing more than an intense sex scene. But when you look just below the surface, it’s much much more than that. It’s about how we view ourselves, the perceptions we have about our own appearances and psyche. And how those perceptions mold the way in which we think others view us, and how inaccurate those perceptions may be. It’s one of the most powerful, thought provoking scenes I’ve read in a long time.
The theme of family runs heavily through out this book. Kyle, of course, had a small circle of friends that he equates to as brothers. His parents are long deceased forcing he and his sister to live with their holy roller, less than virtuous aunt and uncle. Andy, however, has a large, loving Irish-American family. It was actually fun to have all of the Connors together at various points. The love they have for each other virtually leapt off the page.
This is a new-to-me author (I’ve been reading a lot of those lately), and I’m really interested to see more from them.
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