5 Silken Sheets
This book doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, it rips them right out and leaves them in a bloody mess on the floor.
Falling is easy. Landing without breaking your heart? Impossible.
He’s acutely aware of the dark-haired young man checking him out in the supermarket, but he’s too deep in panic mode to even meet the guy’s gaze. Afraid the slightest move will trigger a fall that will never stop.
Fresh off a long-term relationship with a controlling man, Malachi is stuck living with relatives who think he’s a waste of oxygen. The tall guy in the long, gray coat is the first bright spot he’s glimpsed in a long time…though the man’s unblinking stare at a bottle of shower gel is a touch alarming.
Hard experience tells both of them to turn away before lust turns to hopeless attraction, and inevitably to disaster. But once their sparks connect, the arc of electricity is too strong to deny. Even if the cost is too much to bear.
Warning: Contains an ex-con with disaster written all over him, a boy toy who’s trouble with a capital T, a damp old British house, compulsive meddling, and enough hot sex to cure the severe case of nervous babbling.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I thought I knew what to expect with a Barbara Elsborg novel. Emotion, flashes of humour, a love story that would be hard to forget. I found all that, and more. Her M/M romances are usually intense, but this one is raw.
The moment I saw the cover, I was interested, and then I read the blurb… and wow. I pre-ordered on Amazon, and then waited impatiently for it to arrive. I was not disappointed in the slightest.
We follow Harper as he is released from prison, from a ten-year sentence for a horrific crime that he didn’t commit. Not only does he have to adjust to life on the outside, but he has to contend with people’s perceptions. And when they find out what he was convicted for, nobody wants to know him.
I was briefly confused by the short prologue, but a page or so later, when the story really started, I was glued to every page, and then some.
Harper dominates the story. His fear of going back inside. His distrust of just everyone. His sadness and frustration at what his life has become, what his future might hold. From the start, I wanted to wrap Harper in my arms and give him a hug.
The need to be held and to hold drove the breath from his lungs.
For ten years he’s been told what to do and when to do it. Now even the most simple decisions are fraught. Food. Toiletries.
No matter how much he might wish he could pretend he was just an average guy, he wasn’t. His history hung on him like chains.
At least he has somewhere to live in the short term: his old family home, now that his father has gone into care. It hasn’t been lived in for some time, and needs a huge amount of work, but he’s been left the money to renovate it, prior to selling. That’s where Malachi comes in, as part of the firm hired to do the work.
Ah, Malachi. He’s the light to Harpers darkness. A wise-cracking, smart-ass of a guy, he hides his own inner demons well, and he is so very lovable. He’s the first person in ten years to make Harper smile.
“I can’t offer-” Harper began.
“No more words. No one knows what’s ahead of us. In the next couple of minutes, a plane could crash out of the sky and land on this house, or we could get stricken by Ebola fever, or the rest of the world might turn into zombies. If that happens, remember I’m relying on you to gut the fish.”
Barbara Elsborg writes smart-asses so well, and Malachi’s chirpy, talented character reminded me a lot of Tyler, from With Or Without Him, another intense M/M.
In a world of pain and tension, Malachi is the only person to believe in Harper’s innocence.
The police don’t.
“Did you go swimming yesterday?” one of the cops asked.
No, no, no, no, no. Harper felt as if he’d been stabbed and was bleeding to death.
“Yes,” Malachi said. “We both went.”
“Let Mr. Shaw answer, please, sir.”
“Yes, I went swimming,” Harper said quietly.
“You’re not permitted inside leisure centers.”
“He needed a shower. The -” A glare from the cop shut Malachi up.
“Don’t go there again. First and last warning. While you’re here, we’ll be searching your house. Depending on what we find, we may ask you to come to the station.”
“No more chances,” the cop said. “Next time, you’re back inside.” He leaned forward to speak into Harper’s ear. “And believe me, we’re waiting for the next time because perverts like you can’t help themselves.”
Harper’s Offender Manager, Chris, doesn’t believe in him either.
“You know your license conditions,” Chris said. “You’re not allowed computer or Internet access without my permission. Have you bought a phone?”
“Not one with Internet access or a camera.”
“It’s in the other bedroom, isn’t it.” Malachi said. “Go and get it and show him.”
Harper left the room and Malachi turned and glared.
“It’s for his own benefit,” Chris said. “It keeps him safe from temptation.”
You f*cking wanker. “He didn’t do it.” Malachi hadn’t meant to say anything but he couldn’t help it.
I posted an update on my Goodreads feed at around 60%:
Oh God… I can’t bear to put this down, but am terrified to turn the page to see what happens next…
FALLING smacked me right in my chest. Hard. I cried a little, and missed a lot of sleep, and I will never forget this story. Thankfully, Barbara Elsborg is working on a follow-up, and I’m hoping it will feature Harper and Malachi, at least as cameos.
5 Silken Sheets
4 Sexy Lips
Plot – heart-wrenchingly intense
Characters – unforgettable
Warnings – Hot M/M sex, but tissues may be required. Strong coffee too, coz you’ll be reading it late into the night
Genre: Contemporary erotic M/M romance
Published: March 2015; $6.50 (Amazon)
Author’s website: BarbaraElsborg.com