Book Reviews

Endless Stretch of Blue by Riley Hart

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 27-September-2019

Book Blurb

Lorenzo Moretti and Damon Blackwell have never met, but they're tied together by the same tragedy. They were both there that night. They each lost someone they loved. They've been living as shells of their former selves ever since. Running into each other and realizing their shared pasts? Pure serendipity.

Being together is a tingle at the base of Enzo's spine, a comfort that settles into Damon's bones. No one understands what they went through the night the club caught fire--until now. For the first time, they have someone to lean on, someone who knows all the right things to say and when to say nothing at all. Neither of them has been with another man before, but their shared connection grows from friendship and explodes into something more, something raw and desperate and real. Now, they're dealing not only with their pasts, but their new relationship, the one thing that calms their internal storms.

Enzo and Damon might not know much else, but with every touch, with every word, and every night spent exploring each other's bodies, they know they're in love. They keep each other going, show each other what happiness really is.

But love alone can't get them through. Damon and Enzo must decide if they really have what it takes to work through their trauma and fight for the happily ever after that's waiting just on the horizon.


Book Review

“Maybe it was our shared trauma, or maybe it was a combination of things, but I felt warmth emanate from my heart and spread throughout my chest.” ~Theresa Braun, Dead over Heels

There are events in life than can’t be understood unless experienced. Survivor’s guilt is one such circumstance. Losing someone you love, as Lorenzo (Enzo) Moretti and Damon Blackwell, of ‘Endless Stretch of Blue’ by Riley Hart, did and surviving what killed them, is one of those situations. No one understands the guilt, self-loathing, and soul killing feelings that are involved in not feeling worthy of living when your loved one died. Enzo and Damon are feeling the effects of survivor’s guilt to the point that they are barely functioning, until they find the one person who, without explaining, will be able to understand what they are feeling and, hopefully, help heal themselves and each other.

When Enzo loses his older brother in a bar fire, he is consumed with guilt. His brother was the golden child of the family, the one who could do no wrong, while Enzo is the black sheep who can’t do anything right. Things are uncomfortable and strained enough in his family, but when his brother dies, his family, particularly his mother, blames him. Enzo already felt inferior and this only makes matters worse. He is like a dead man walking, getting by, but nothing more. He feels numb and empty; he is full of regrets and what-ifs. It doesn’t seem like life will ever be any better than it is now.

Unlike Enzo, since losing his sister, his only family is his mother, who has Alzheimer’s and lives in an assisted living home. He visits her every week; sometimes she knows him, sometimes she doesn’t. Damon has told his mom that his sister died, but she doesn’t always remember it. Each time he has to retell her, the pain is as new as it was the first time he did so. Damon’s life is on standby. He is consumed with guilt, wondering what he could have done to save his sister, feeling guilty for living when she didn’t, and is ashamed to feel the least bit of joy because letting go of any of his pain is like letting go of her. Although there is no answer, Damon questions why it was his sister instead of himself who died that night. Sometimes, the guilt is all-consuming, yet, he has no motivation to move on.

Enzo and Damon first meet after Damon breaks up an attempted robbery in which Enzo is the victim. To thank Damon for intervening, Enzo offers to buy Damon dinner. In the course of conversation, they learn that they have a lot more in common than they ever thought they would - the same fire that took Damon’s sister also took Enzo’s brother. Not only do they have an emotional connection, they also have an inexplicable physical one. It is especially puzzling, because both men thought of themselves as straight. Yet, it is undeniable. Their shared experiences bring them together, first as best friends, confidants and, eventually, as lovers. The only way two straight men can explain the comfort their sex brings them is to admit that it is the person, not the gender, and that Enzo and Damon’s connection surpasses anything they have ever felt before.

This is an intense story with amazing characters, tackling the very hard to understand phenomenon survivor’s guilt. Riley does an excellent job of explaining the complicated and contradictory feelings involved in this situation. Enzo and Damon needed to find someone to talk to in order for them to put their feelings into perspective. They needed to realize that they could grieve for their losses and enjoy being alive at the same time. Thanks, Riley, for bringing Damon and Enzo together and for giving them hope.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 282 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 21-July-2019
Price $3.99 ebook, $12.99 paperback
Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/Endless-Stretch-Blue-Riley-Hart-ebook/dp/B07VKGD4K4