“Stephen, I’m in trouble…”
The voice on the phone was the last voice Dr. Stephen Thorpe expected to hear. But ex-lover Mark Hardwicke is injured and in trouble — and Stephen has always had a hard time saying no to this particular brand of trouble.
His cover blown, his enemies closing in, British spy Mark is seeking sanctuary with the man he never stopped loving. But there’s a new man in Stephen’s life, and Stephen’s not interested in hearing Mark’s explanations or excuses — let alone playing doctor with him.
Something went terribly wrong on Mark’s last mission. Something he can’t bring himself to think about, let alone talk about. But he better start talking soon because not only is Stephen losing patience fast — someone wants this spy left out in the cold.
The beginning of this novel is incredibly moving and you feel the ache within Mark. On a lonely road in a phone box, with rain and moor, the opening was vividly written. Mark is a man driven beyond all tolerance and into utter exhaustion. He is desperate to come home and be with the one normal person in his life, but unsure if it’s a mistake to go there or not.
Lanyon has a way of making you feel like your heart is in your mouth sometimes. It is a viseral feeling and though I detest the thought of crying during a book, when Stephen is telling Mark it has been 2 years, it was heart wrenching stuff. Mark knows he has screwed up royally but it is not until that moment that he realises that any chance he has had with Stephen may be indeed lost. He cannot even speak let alone bring himself to find the words and subsides into quietness…I challenge you not to be blinking back watery eyes.
Do not be lulled into a false sense of security that Mark is going down without a fight however. Despite suffering from barely healed wounds and quite possibly PTSD, he is starting to realise that the best thing in his life is Stephen. Even though he kids himself into thinking he is just playing up to what Stephen wants to hear, really he is finally allowing himself to be vulnerable. I think subconsciously he knows he is allowing himself to be open to Stephen but the reality of rejection is just too much to bear.
Vulnerability, in Lanyon’s novels, is always a powerful theme for me and is quite possibly why I find his writing unutterably addictive. Letting down your guard and allowing another person into your own true self and being vulnerable to rejection. Heady stuff. I also wonder if this is one of the reasons I find this genre so compelling.
Beautiful, poignant and not a dry eye in the house. I suggest you stampede your way down that store isle and get reading now. Gush, much? heh.
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