Well WOW. Talk about being completely blown away by a book. This was an amazing read on several levels.
First and foremost there’s the fact I should not have enjoyed this book as much as I did. The story is told in the first person by the two main characters in alternating chapters and a lot of what they tell us is introspection – their thoughts, feelings, doubts, fears, insecurities and such. If any other author tried to do this I know I would have been bored long before I’d reached the half way point in the story. Not in this book though, Toby and Laurie sucked me into their emotional world without any obvious effort on their part and didn’t let me go until I’d read their entire story.
And what a story it is. Again, it shouldn’t have worked. A nineteen-year-old Dom without any experience and a thirty-seven year-old jaded sub should not make a plausible combination, never mind a couple you find yourself rooting for, but they very much are. In fact, ‘rooting for’ is not a strong enough term. I fell for Toby and Laurie and became totally invested in their complicated, clumsy and oh so beautiful exploration of what they might be together – could mean to each other.
The dynamics in this book were anything except typical. I mean you’d expect the older Laurie to be in charge and sure of himself but, especially in the early part of the story, he’s far more insecure and scared than Toby.
“I hated being forgiven almost as much as I feared rejection.” – Laurie
At the same time, Toby is on a delightful journey of discovery. Maybe because, unlike Laurie, he doesn’t know the risks yet. He’s discovering new feelings, a new way of being, a power within himself he’d only ever guessed at before Laurie knelt at his feet.
“But that’s sort of what love is, I guess. A perpetual state of semi-deranged partiality.” – Toby
The dynamic between these two men took my breath away. Yes, it was incredibly hot, but it was so much more than that. They way they give and take, the manner in which they fit together and the feelings they have for each other were so beautiful they brought tears to my eyes once or twice.
“The thing is, I really fucking admire him. And the more he gives me – pain, dignity, shame, tears, this weakness that isn’t weakness at all – the more I admire him. The more I just totally adore him.” – Toby
And then there are the hidden truths I kept on running into. Short sentence, easy to miss but so profound if you pay attention. The sort of sentiments you want to memorize and pull from your memory when you need them.
“It’s not what you do, it’s what it means.” – Laurie
For Real is a powerful, memorable and far from traditional but very hot love story. It’s an amazing book featuring two characters gloriously beautiful in all their flaws. This book will, without a doubt, end up being one of my top reads this year.
“He jerks and cries out, sounding so powerful and so powerless at the same time, this chained up man who is taking pain for me, who isn’t afraid to be weak for me or ashamed to be afraid. The bravest, strongest, most beautiful man I’ve ever met.” - Toby