Title: The Solitary Knights of Pelham Bay Bk 3 - A Test of Love
Author: Claire Thompson
Published: Romance Unbound
Main Characters: Ryan Kennedy & Tom Shafer
Though it's been fourteen years, Ryan Kennedy has never quite gotten over Tom Shafer, the college professor he'd fallen hopelessly in love with. Along with a deepening friendship, an almost-kiss had convinced Ryan his feelings were returned by the older man. But when Tom insisted boundaries between a professor and his student not be breached, Ryan turned his back,telling himself he was better off without Tom in his life.
Fate intervenes when Ryan receives an invitation to an alumni dinner where Tom is a guest speaker. Determined to seek him out, if only to see if the flame still burns, Ryan attends the dinner. The two reconnect, rapidly moving toward something more than just friends. Their fledgling feelings are tested when hate-filled notes begin arriving, warning each man to stay away from the other. Too new to trust completely, Ryan and Tom each struggle with how to handle the situation. When the warnings turn to violence, can the relationship survive?
I am on a Claire Thompson rush at the moment and A TEST OF LOVE was one of the books I was jonesing for at the end of the year….
Claire starts off the book with a brief explanation about how Ryan the main protag in this book comes to be in a introspective state of mind over his college professor.
From Book 1: Finding Chandler
*… Eric and Ryan left the pub at the same time. Eric pulled
up the collar of his coat as they headed into the freezing November rain. “So you were in love
once a long time ago, huh? You don‟t seem old enough to even have a „long time ago‟,” Eric
Ryan shook his head. “I‟m old enough—thirty-four next week. This was back in college—
junior year. My biology professor, of all people. Maybe it wasn‟t even love—who knows. Maybe I
was just so flush with finally allowing myself to be openly gay, and finding a gay man I could
look up to.” He waved his hand, as if swatting away a fly. “Anyway. Ancient history. I haven‟t
thought about him in years.”
*Book 1: Finding Chandler, is available at 1RomanceEBooks.com as a Free Read. While Book 2 can stand alone, the
experience will be enhanced if Book 1 is read first.
Ryan is thinking long and hard about professor Tom Shafer, the college professor he has had the longest time getting over – if he has to be honest. As fate would have it, while in this sort of reflective mode he gets an invite to a function at his alma mater and none other than Tom Shafer is the guest speaker.
Not willing to look a gift horse in the mouth Ryan takes up the offer and before the end of the night in question Tom and Ryan had cleared a few hurdles and are putting one foot in front of the other to make the pieces of fourteen years apart and almost twenty years age difference work for them now.
Ryan’s life is about as normal and abnormal as you can get – he is a lawyer and seems to be good at his job, his love life however is another matter and he has baggage and none of it nice.
Tom is a bit more settled, he has after all been there and done that and his only concern about his time with Ryan is how long it will last before Ryan moves on to the shinier newer toy…
Once their world collide things doesn’t go swimmingly and their very life's hinges on them sticking together and watching each others back.
This is another short read and I liked it, it was once again not about young nubile beings but men who have aged, men who are mature enough to recognise a second chance and men who are wise enough to know sometimes you have to swallow your pride to get what you want.
Ryan and Toms characters are not developed beyond the point of what I needed to know. Ryan is an average guy nothing about him stands out except for the fact that he has a direct approach and tend to be on the side of the little man – so I clicked with him right away and encouraged quite alot of his moralistic stance...
Tom on the other hand is about average for men of his era, concerned with how things and situation will reflect on him and his career.. He was not doing it for me for quite a bit of the story but then Thompson gives him a knock on the noggin and I was very please at the eventual shift in his thinking and the steps he took to make of this chance what he will..
A TEST OF TIME is somehow not as exciting as FINDING CHANDLER but it’s pace suited the guys and the little love fest was sweet even if not as energetic as I would have liked.
The only real drawback that I found in this read was the angsty moment between the love interest of Ryan, it was a little left field and too vengeful to be real.. It obviously served it’s purpose, and made the H/H work for the gift of being together.
One other member of the Knights made an appearance and there's a swashbuckling attitude that follow in his wake and I am so looking forward to his story, all in all I am very pleased another member of the Knights of Pelham bay has found his HEA and I look forward to the other members journey to love…
Title: Blind Faith
Author: Claire Thompson
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Main Characters: Zane Wilde & Aidan
When Aidan finds himself permanently blinded by a nearly fatal car accident, he almost gives up hope. After months of painful physical therapy to heal his broken body, he retreats into a world of quiet determination, his sole focus regaining his independence. Forget about love—who would ever want him now?
Enter Zane Wilde, Aidan's on-again, off-again lover over the years.
With exquisite tenderness and love, Zane works to help Aidan understand he is still desirable, scars, imperfections and all.
The sexual attraction they've always felt for one another has never wavered, but there's a new overlay of intimacy brought about by Aidan's condition. This story explores how both men come to grips with the limitations and, surprisingly, the new avenues of freedom and understanding Aidan's handicap creates between them. Beneath it all, Zane's gypsy blood simmers, his wanderlust coming to the fore once again, forcing them both to make hard choices.
“Aidan. It’s me, Zane.”
“I know,” Aidan said, a small smile flitting over his face. “Come in.” He stepped back, adding, “Welcome to my humble abode.” His voice was stiff, almost formal. Zane sensed Aidan needed to keep this distance between them, at least for now. He resisted his urge to wrap Aidan into his arms.
Instead he lightly touched Aidan’s forearm. “What a great place! Is it yours?”
Aidan stepped away from his touch. “Bought and paid for, courtesy of the drunk driver who plowed into my car.” Aidan tried to grin but didn’t quite succeed.
“Aidan, I’m so sor—“ Zane began.
Aidan cut him off. “Can I get you a drink? I have beer and soda or I could make some coffee.” Without waiting for a response, he made his way confidently through the room, veering left toward the kitchen. Zane noticed the slight limp in his left leg.
“A beer sounds good,” Zane said, following him into the kitchen. As Aidan moved toward the refrigerator, Zane offered, “I’m impressed with the way you get around. You must have the whole place memorized in your head.”
“I do, I guess. It’s easier living alone, I suppose. Nobody else to move things or leave something out of place to throw me off. At the rehab center sometimes they’d put obstacles in your way for just that reason—to get you used to the real world.” He held out a beer, waiting for Zane to take it. Their fingers touched and Zane felt the familiar kinetic energy zinging between them before Aidan pulled his hand away.
“Aidan,” Zane said. “It’s me. I know you, remember? You don’t have to put on this stoic act. Put down your beer. Let me hold you.” Gently he took the beer from Aidan’s hand and set both cans down on the counter. Taking Aidan into his arms, he pulled him close, gently pushing the shorter man’s head down to his shoulder. Aidan stood stiffly with his arms at his side, allowing himself to be embraced for a moment before attempting to pull away.
Zane held him tighter and whispered, “I’m sorry this has happened to you. I’m sorry I was gone so long this time, but I’m here now. Don’t shut me out.”
Blind Faith © Claire Thompson
BLIND FAITH is also another little gem by Claire Thompson. The book surrounds Aidan, who after a horrific accident is left blind. When his on again off again lover Zane comes back into his life – he is not only given a shot at something he had actually given up on, but he is put in the position of doubting that any sort of togetherness will last for only a period of time and he will end up going back to that lonely guy left all alone in his corner..
Zane Wilde is Aidan’s best friend and he love him, really love him, but Zane has wanderlust and cannot resist the urge to follow where the wind blows. Aidan knows this – but this time Zane might just surprise him.
This was quite a refreshing read for me for a few reason. I like books where the protags are somehow physical challenged and I am always curious to see what an author does with this character. Aidan is not only blind but functioning about as normal as you can get and I thought that was one of major selling point of this books for me.
He had passed on from the “why me’ sort of mind set and has taken charge of his life. When Zane comes back into it he finds things he used to accept and roll with, he now finds an inner strength that refuse to roll over this time and accept and this makes him such a wonderful hero to like.
Zane is not bad either, a fun loving guy who has assumed too much and taken too much for granted all his life. After hearing Aidan’s news, it was like a flash bulb moment for him and I fell in love with Zane for how much he stepped up to the plate and became a man.
Together the guys are sweet, they explore, they make time for each other and there is a gentleness to them that somehow suited them. I quite liked the fact that Zane was willing to bend enough to explore what he cannot see and Aidan was confident enough to ask for what he wants.
There was no dark shadows in this book, nothing to cringe about or break out the knifes for. This was just a read about men figuring out that sometimes the best of themselves his giving the one person they love all the love and support that they can and not expect anything in return…
I very much enjoy this book…