Thursday, January 16, 2014

Worth Keeping by Susan Mac Nicol



Title: Worth Keeping
Author: Susan Mac Nicol
My Rating: B+ 

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m) 
Series: -
Main Characters: Nick and Owen
Release Date: December 2013
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing
Links to Purchase
Amazon  
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Abused horrifically as a boy, Nick Mathers has come to terms with his existence as a man. Mostly. Other days life seems a little much. Especially when Nick knows he’ll always be alone. 

On those days his thoughts turn black. He walks the Norfolk coast and considers the frigid embrace of the waves. And then, one stormy night, he finds someone who’s tasted just that. The beautiful stranger on the beach is near death, and Nick rushes him home to slowly nurse back to health. As he does, he finds a love unlike any other. Owen Butler’s body is as warm as the sea was cold, his heart as big as an ocean. And Owen is a man who swears to repay the favor. Nick can yet be saved from himself, and he will see that he is indeed a man…
My Review:

I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this book just because, from the description, both heroes sounded so damaged. I like angst, but having TWO wounded heroes is tough. But the reviews for the book were all good, so I decided to give it a go. 

It was a good book and yes, both heroes are desperately wounded, but the author handled it well. The book has moments that are tough, but I didn't feel like it ever got too depressing or harsh. BOTH of these guys are emotionally fragile, but they prop each other up. They are both well aware how close the other guy was to ending it all and there's a certain strength they each gain from that. Knowing that someone else is watching and counting on them makes each of them stronger.

This is Nick's home and he's definitely the most wounded of the two after years as a youth spent tortured and abused. He has issues...serious, deep issues, but overall, this is a guy coping with what life handed him pretty well. And life has really not been very kind to him....until Owen washes up on his beach. Besides his adopted father Don, this is his first break that life has handed him.

Two years ago, Owen's partner died. He has never recovered, but he has a connection, a shared pain, with Nick....and then it begins to morph into more as they discover their sexual chemistry and eventual friendship. This guy has the patience of a saint, but he seems to understand Nick and what Nick needs. He doesn't handle Nick with pity or loathing like so many before. He sees what Nick's gone through with compassion and admires the man he's become despite the pain. The two of them together are good... most the time.

Like I said, this is a complex book and the author handled the psychology of it all very well. She didn't sugarcoat Nick's issues nor did he have a miraculous recovery brought on by love. What she did with that aspect of the story felt real, both the up's and the down's of it.

It's an interesting love story and certainly not the norm. Most love stories don't begin with joint attempts at suicide, but it works. I certainly wouldn't want to read a book like this every day because it does have heavy overtones, but it was nice to delve into the angst for a break after all the sugary sweetness of my Christmas reading list. 

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