Breathe

Sloan Parker
Breathe
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Publisher
Loose ID
Release Date
November 2010
ISBN
9781607378907
Genre
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ

SUMMARY
Lincoln McCaw lost everything -- his home, his job, his partner -- after he caused a fatal accident. A year later, he's drowning the guilt and despair in whiskey, but he needs to move on. His sister and her kids are counting on him. Then he meets a man who ignites a passion Lincoln thought he'd never find. Too bad one night is all they can have together. Now he needs to figure out how to turn away from the only person who makes him feel alive…before whoever is sending him threats decides Lincoln needs to suffer more than he already has.

Jay Miller is surrounded by grief and misery until he finally gives in to all those years of sexual fantasies about being with another guy. Realizing he's ended up in the arms of the man who caused his wife's accident, he tries to pull away. But how can he give up a friendship he needs more than anything -- a friendship and a love that could save him? He may not have time to make the choice before someone else destroys it all.

Book Review by DH Starr (author)
Jan 19, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
234 people found the following review helpful
As I have been reading lately, I have been categorizing books as action driven plots or character driven plots. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but typically, a book uses one device to move the story forward. If they use both, one tends to be handled significantly better than the other.

BREATHE by Sloan Parker throws that theory to the wind. The plot contains both character and action development that propel the story forward. From the very start, Ms. Sloan has present an impossible situation. Lincoln McCaw is getting out of jail for vehicular manslaughter, an accident that took the life of Katie, the wife of the other main character, Jay (Jacob) Miller.

From the moment the two see each other across a parking lot to the local bar in their small hometown of Edgefield, I thought to myself, how in the hell can a reader find that pairing sympathetic? How is this author going to make the pairing believable and desirable? Needless to say, I was skeptical that such a thing could be achieved believably…and I was so completely wrong.

While Jay is grieving, he is not a mean-spirited man. Broken, yes, but vindictive and revengeful, definitely not. We learn early on that he has always been attracted to men, and that his late wife Katie even knew about it and supported him, not in having affairs with men, but in understanding him and loving him nonetheless. Lincoln, on the other hand, has always been openly gay, but when his life took that fateful turn on the evening when he caused the accident that killed Katie, he pushed the one man who had loved him from his life, believing he didn't deserve love and didn't want to drag anyone else into the turmoil of what his life had become.

When the two meet at Sonny's and go out back, hooking up, I was thinking, "wait, they haven't even asked each other their names yet!" It fueled my thoughts that the pairing would not be believable, but after a steamy session, Lincoln does ask Jay's name and then tells Jay his. The realization of what the two had just done was as powerful, awkward, and painful as I would have imagined both characters would feel. And it set the tone for what I came to count on throughout the entire novel. As a question arose in my mind, the story answered it within a few pages.

Having that kind of insight and planning when constructing a story, thinking of the reader and what kinds of questions and doubts the reader might have, is a natural talent. To deliver, providing the reasons and background information needed at just the right moment is a skill. Ms. Parker is one of the most naturally talented and skillful authors I have had the pleasure of reading in quite some time.

As if making the pairing of two people whose connection is founded on a tragedy of the worst kind, BREATHE also contained a stimulating and riveting action plotline. From the start, Lincoln was receiving threatening letters sent anonymously to his sister's home where he was living. These letters not only warned him of personal harm and suffering, but also threatened his family. Each letter received increases in intensity and the things that happen become more and more scary and dangerous. Lincoln and Jay embark on a joint investigation to figure out who is sending these letters. There is no question in either of their minds that it must be someone from either his or Katie's family, but who?

These two inter-twined storylines, the development of Lincoln and Jay's love as well as the unraveling of the mystery behind the letters escalates continuously throughout the novel, increasing in intensity with each passing chapter. In fact, I read the last 80 pages of the book in record time simply because I was so anxious to find out what was going to happen that I couldn't put my eReader down. I have to admit it annoyed my family a bit since my niece and nephew wanted to play and I simply couldn't stop reading.

As an erotic romance, I would be remiss not to describe the sex scenes. When I read and write love scenes, there are two things I look for. First, does the sex combine physical lust and emotional feelings? Second, do the love scenes move the story forward or are they just thrown in because that's what is expected?

Ms. Parker delivered on both counts. The sex was scorching hot, frequent, and purposeful. Not only did I enjoy the exploration of the two men, but I also felt their longing, desires, and insecurities as they continued to draw closer and closer together.

What I loved most about the story is how true the characters were. That is the single most important factor that I consider when I finish a book. Was the story real? Of course, characters are larger than life. The drama is a bit outrageous. Stories have to be that way to be entertaining and to underline the message the author is trying to convey. With that being said, we readers are shrewd and can see through forced and false behavior and actions. BREATHE was both believable and authentic. The characters, their issues, and the action was organic, flowing beautifully from one scene to the next. The fact Ms. Parker has managed this with a large cast of characters and fast-paced movement is nothing short of masterful writing.

BREATHE is a must read. There is nothing about this story that will disappoint. I, for one, intend on reading whatever Ms. Parker writes.
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