“Give me one more time around… Give me one more chance to be (near you)… I'm standing on the edge of everything I've never been before… You are the hope I have for change. You are the only chance I'll take…” ~ Switchfoot
What would it take to convince you to give a lover a second chance after your heart has been completely shattered and your life ruined by that person? How long would be too long to wait before trying to make amends? Gerry, of 'Baby's On Fire' by A.F. Henley, had his heart broken almost beyond repair twenty years ago. Gerry has spent that time half-alive and miserable, trying to get over Mark, with little success. Gerry is not exactly happy, but at least he's finally financially stable. The last thing he ever expected was that the man of his dreams-turned-nightmares would come back asking for another chance.
Gerry thought that being with Mark, aka Maxx Starlight, would be like being in an adult version of Disney World, with the sex, music, parties, drugs, and performances; but Gerry realizes very quickly that “all that glitters is not gold.” He becomes exhausted by the endless stream of people always wanting something from Mark, having to be “on” all the time, having to pretend to be happy, and watching what he says and does. All he truly wants is some quiet time with Mark and some bloody sleep! When he and Mark have a very public argument, Gerry literally gets thrown out, but Mark doesn't lift a finger to stop it because he's embarrassed. Gerry tells him off and leaves, knowing that if he stays then they will be over forever. For years, Mark never contacts him and Gerry is even more crushed.
With Mark's reappearance, all the trauma Gerry thought he was past comes back with a vengeance. The shock of Mark showing up twenty years later, telling Gerry he loves him and wants a second chance, causes Gerry to almost become homicidal. He explodes with an anger he doesn't realize he is capable of and threatens Mark's welfare if he doesn't leave Gerry alone. Mark isn't willing to take no for an answer and continues to pursue him. If directness won't work, Mark is not below being devious in his attempt to make Gerry give him an opportunity to prove he's changed.
This is one whirlwind of a book, taking us back to the 1970s with its glam bands, drug excess, free love, and all the trimmings. AF has done a wonderful job of showcasing that era in all it's its tarnished glory. Gerry's experiences are absolutely heartbreaking. I honestly don't know if I'd be able to forgive Mark, regardless of what grand overtures he made to win me back. I felt traumatized at times, and cried more than once while wading through Gerry's misery with him. I wanted Gerry to be happy, but had serious doubts that he could ever be happy with Mark. But, as is often the truth, there are unexpected revelations, twists and turns, which reminded me that things are not always as they seem and that I was judging too harshly. If you enjoy books with sex, drugs, rock and roll, music, the 1970s era, rock stars, parties, angst, eroticism, love, hate, passion, and forgiveness, then this book may be for you. Thanks, AF, for the happy ending after such an intense, wild ride to get there.