"The thunder rolls and the lightening strikes. Another love grows cold on a sleepless night. As the storm blows on out of control, deep in [his] heart, the thunder rolls.” ~ "The Thunder Rolls" by Garth Brooks
Some people keep repeating the same mistake, hoping for a different result each time. Nathaniel Courtney, of 'Something Like Thunder by Jay Bell, has learned the hard way that loving someone with his whole heart is the fastest way to destroy himself. In his defense, he's decided to flip the switch which controls his emotions for self preservation. It's been years since he has been hurt, but when he falls in love with Kelly Phillips, he lets his guard down; for the first time in years Nathaniel is happy, but it doesn't last. Through no fault of Kelly's, Nathaniel begins to feel the vulnerability which comes with caring for someone and panics. Instead of staying and riding it out, he runs, leaving Kelly brokenhearted and wondering why.
Nathaniel is a good man, but he has had a rotten life. There are many secrets in his past. When he discovers them, he feels bewildered and betrayed. Everything he thought was true, whether desirable or not, suddenly isn't true. There's nothing to cling to anymore and nowhere to go. When all else fails, he gets a dog and names him Zero; Zero is his lifesaver and the only one Nathaniel will allow himself to love. Zero will never cheat on him, lie to him, or hurt him, and Nathaniel needs that reassurance like he needs to breathe. Fortunately, Marcello, a businessman of somewhat shady repute but a generous heart, presents Nathaniel with an opportunity to build a new life. This allows Nathaniel to put some distance between him and his life of disappointment and pain. Nathaniel works hard to become successful. He has no room for relationships that, for him, have been nothing but endless nightmares of anguish and betrayal.
When Nathaniel meets Kelly, he tries not to fall in love with him but fails miserably. Things are wonderful for a while, but something happens to remind Nathaniel that with love sometimes comes pain and he freaks. Instead of allowing himself to trust in the ability of his and Kelly's love to bind them together, Nathaniel lets memories of the past engulf him, casting a dark shadow over their love with catastrophic and entirely avoidable results. Kelly, unaware of Nathaniel's dismal past and suffering from his own failed attempts at love, is crushed, wondering what he has done wrong. Without the knowledge to combat Nathaniel's fears, Kelly has no choice but to walk away.
Jay's 'Something' series present a unique viewpoint into his characters. Since all the stories are bound together, parts are familiar from other books, but always have a different perspective which further explains the characters’ motives and feelings. The emotional turmoil I felt merely from the mention of a character's name, i.e., Jace, transported me mentally and emotionally back to his story. I felt lightbulbs going off as my mind started piecing together the events of the present story with the past ones. As with all the stories in the series, it's a well written complex, compelling story which will invoke a myriad of emotions, sometimes even simultaneously, making it virtually impossible for me not to become intimately invested in the characters, so I don't even bother to wait; I get out the tissues before I start reading, knowing that for either sad or happy times, I will need them.
Fans of the 'Something' series will love reading 'Something Like Thunder' and adding to their already bountiful knowledge of its characters and their lives. To those new to the series, welcome; you are in for an intense reading experience. Thanks for continuing this series, Jay. I marvel at how you can keep these stories going, but I hope you do for a very long time to come.