So, I bought this a while ago. Rather a long while ago. And have kept putting it off because it started seeming too angsty for me to put up with (apparently my moods for dealing with angst only happen every few months or so...). I finally gave it a shot yesterday and was pleasantly surprised that it didn't feel nearly as depressing as the blurb made it seem like it might.
Yes, Holly's been in love with Nick for years, through Nick dating and marrying Caroline, but by the time we meet them most of that time has passed, so we don't actually have to go through it with Holly. Which I thought was perfect. So, yes, there is still some angst, what with the various lives falling apart and such, but it never felt hopeless or depressing because the other of the pair was always right there helping comfort or fix or recover.
And speaking of the main characters. I thought they were amazingly well done. So perfectly matched and perfectly balanced, they were able to be exactly what the other needed. And it was beautiful! I loved that we got to see each of them in a time when they needed to be taken care of, and was fascinated by their different and perfectly complimentary approaches to care-taking. Honestly, the two of them together make me happier than any couple I've read about recently. They just so obviously fit and just belong together.
I was totally fascinated by the purely emotional D/s aspect to their relationship. I don't think I've read another story that involved dominance and submission that didn't involve bondage or pain, so it was fascinating to get to read about. This is going to force me to change my BDSM label because it just doesn't fit in with the other stories in that category.
Speaking of that side of their relationship, I loved how it said a few times that Holly had been trying to submit to Nick for years, but that one or both of them had just brushed it off so it wouldn't be taken seriously and then not accepted. I loved how Nick knew (subconsciously at least) that Holly gave him something he needed even before he knew exactly what that was.
I also connected with several elements in this story on a purely personal level. Nick's realization that he'd married Caroline to fulfill expectations without even realizing that's what he was doing could have been taken from my life. (not the marrying a girl thing, obviously, but the general idea...) And his quote that "He'd built his life on a foundation made of goals and ideals that had never been real for him," while he sacrificed his writing and his Holly to those goals and ideals. Totally hit home.
And Holly. What a unique and fascinating and wonderful and delightful character. I loved that we got to keep discovering new facets of his personality as he recovered and then began to take care of Nick. I absolutely understood and totally connected with his need for someone to take care of him. And I thought the ways we got to see Nick doing just that were perfect and beautiful.Some Favorite Quotes:"Because I can't not. Not anymore... I used up all my 'don't give a damn' already."
"I think I keep hoping to break whatever defective piece there is in me before I have a life worth caring about." Holly ran his fingers over the stitches on his head. "But I keep not breaking."
Holly didn't have room to hate Caroline anymore; all he had left was wanting Nick back.
The smile that touched his mouth was small, but the way his eyes shone, it was like he was holding back to keep from bursting out in every direction with sheer happiness. No one in Nick's life did happiness like Holly.
"I want to feel you want me. Just... anything. Just please have me."
He'd rather have people think he was odd than not do it.
It wasn't letting Holly submit to him that was going to make their relationship work. It was needing it.