Author: Will Freshwater
Publisher: DreamSpinner Press
Genre: M/M contemporary
Born into a blue-collar family, John Wells beat the odds and came out a winner. As chief of staff to Patrick Donovan, a US senator and aspiring presidential candidate, he enjoys all the power and privilege of a DC insider. But while riding high on a wave of success, he’s blindsided by a series of betrayals from the people he trusts the most. In the space of a single day, John’s perfect life unexpectedly unravels when his career falters and his marriage implodes. Following a final, devastating blow, John assumes a new identity as “Peter” and flees to Provincetown, where a tight-knit community of eclectic characters slowly transforms him.
John Wells is chief of staff to Senator Patrick Donovan and best friends with his daughter, Melanie. He and his partner, David, live in DC, but John rarely sees him because his job is his life from sunup to sundown and longer. When the senator decides to run for President, he fires John, replacing him with a seasoned campaign strategist. Around that same time, David informs him that their marriage is not working, and he’s done with being second to everything else in John’s life. And then Melanie tells him she’s loved him ever since he met her, and his world as he knew it comes crumbling down around him.
John had a twin named Peter who died shortly after their birth and John assumes Peter’s name when he wants to be removed from the stress of his life situation. One such time leads to an encounter with a reporter who is just using John to get insider info on the senator’s upcoming announcement. When the reality of all the treachery in his life culminates in a tragedy involving Melanie, John just simply runs away and assumes the identity of Peter.
Ending up in Provincetown, Peter is befriended by a gregarious queen and an interesting old woman, both of whom make sure that he knows he’s welcome there, and neither of whom know who he really is. Over the course of the next six months, Peter becomes an assistant to a young man who is restoring a church purchased by his father before he passed away. Danny is everything Peter wants, except that he continually tells Peter he’s not gay. Whether he is or not, the two ultimately end up together until John is found by a representative of the senator and is blackmailed into returning to DC.
What I’ve outlined above I believe is true, however, it’s possible that I may have misunderstood something along the way. The narration was good, but the story was very confusing, especially at the beginning. The author’s use of John’s and Peter’s name almost interchangeably was difficult to follow for the first half of the audiobook. Listening to a story is often very different from reading it, and there are often clues to a POV change in an e-book that aren’t present in an audiobook. Whether or not that’s the case here, I don’t know. I just know that John/Peter wasn’t a likeable character at the beginning so it was even more difficult for me to maintain my interest, and to be honest, I still don’t feel much of a draw to him, even at the end. And his love interest, Danny, was so abrasive and wishy washy I found his abrupt mood swings unforgiveable.
I definitely do not recommend this story in the audiobook version. The narration was good, but not outstanding, though that may be unfair to the narrator who was working with a story that felt disjointed from beginning to end. If I was pressed to classify this story, I wouldn’t even classify it as a true romance. I found it to be more of a dark drama or a psychological study of how politics can ruin someone’s life. The attraction between the men was there, but it wasn’t the driving force of the story. And, though there was essentially a happy ending for the couple when Peter/John was reunited with Danny, I was simply happy to get to the end of the book.