Author: AJ Rose
Publisher: The Grim Writer Press
Genre: MM Contemporary
From Rainbow Award-winning author AJ Rose, Defenseless is a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping story of love through adversity.
Kyle Decker knew dating Jesse McGovern would change his life. Young and in love, and with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, the world is theirs to conquer.
But their victorious Pride celebration ends in a savage attack, brutally demonstrating they’re far from equal. Instead of wedding planning, Jesse and Kyle face an arduous recovery and a shattered sense of their place in the world, their once-promising future suddenly something to survive.
While Jesse struggles with a permanent injury and its emotional aftermath, Kyle’s single-minded focus on Jesse’s recovery is the only thing keeping his demons at bay…for now. What was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love is now full of lies and resentment.
With their dreams tattered and forever changed, trusting anyone—even each other—is daunting. So how can they have faith in twelve strangers on a jury? They’ve already learned the hard way it only takes a moment to become truly defenseless.
Agonizing – that’s the best single word I can think of to describe this story. It was agonizing to witness the highest of highs followed by the lowest of lows for Kyle and Jesse and to have it all happen within the space of a day. It was agonizing to see the beauty of two lives coming together with such hope and promise for the future only to be nearly shattered by ugliness, pain, shame and fear. It was agonizing to realize this all came about from a senseless act inflicted by sorry excuses for human beings because they couldn’t tolerate differences in others. I wanted to scream my rage and anger at the injustice of it all.
This was not an easy story to read, but it’s one of the best I’ve read. It captured the detailed physical and emotional journey on the steep road from victim to victor; from being defenseless to taking back your life and moving on (the best way to emerge a victor following tragedy). The blurb does a great job of spelling out what to expect in this book, but that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t hit hard. I must be a glutton for punishment, though, because I couldn’t wait to dive in. The absolute hardest part was witnessing when the situation started taking a toll on Jesse and Kyle’s relationship. Sometimes, when we’re hurt and angry, we strike out unintentionally at those we’re closest to. Jesse and Kyle were no exception and that was rough.
Despite the difficult subject matter, this book is more than worth the time and challenge, and an absolutely beautiful example of how love wins. Highly recommended (both the book and the author)!!!