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Between The Lines by J. Scothworth

Between the Lines - J. Scott Coatsworth

“The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable,” ~ James A Garfield

If possible, would you really want the ability to know what people are thinking between the lines of what they say? With the help of a magical medallion, Brad Weston is able to hear what people really think of him and it hurts. Brad finds the people he respected and trusted, who he thought felt the same way about him, harbor awful thoughts about him. Brad's world shifts on its axis, everything he thought he knew is not what others think about him. It causes him to doubt himself and he mistrusts what everyone else says or does. Brad needs to reorder his life and isn't below using the medallion to help him.

Despite the Republican party's stance on LGBT rights and other matters Brad holds dear, he has gained what he thinks is a well-respected position with them as a state senator's chief of staff. His boss dumps a lot of her work on Brad, but it seems to go with the territory. Until the medallion revealed her inner thoughts, Brad would have never believed they are, at best, bigoted and condescending. It is quite a blow to Brad's ego. As if that weren't bad enough, his boyfriend of five years, Alex, is acting peculiar and dismissive and is gone more than usual. The medallion is supposed to be a five-year anniversary present. Sadly, Alex disappoints and hurts Brad deeply when the medallion shows him Alex's true feelings. Feeling totally lost, Brad doesn't know in which direction to turn, but he still has the medallion which he's learned to depend upon to show him the truth. Just as he's about to give up, Sam, the intern in his office, makes a move in his direction and won't take no for an answer. Brad wonders if he can trust Sam, or anyone for that matter, to be truthful and turns to the medallion for answers.

Sam appreciates the opportunity to intern in the senator’s desk, but it's not his life's ambition. He's more comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt, but, as his mother tells him, it's time for him to grow up. He sees the internship as a stepping stone to something bigger and more suitable for him. Until then, he's willing to play the game, even though it keeps him in the closet.  Sam is interested in Brad, who is his boss and acknowledges Sam's existence by the special cup of coffee he brings him every morning. Right after Brad's awful revelations of truth, he runs out of his office and right into Sam, literally knocking him down. Sam sees his distress and tries to comfort him but Brad, blind with rage, tries to reject him. Sam won't be deterred and steers Brad somewhere where they can talk.

This is a brief but well-written love story about two men working in politics, but with different outlooks; for Sam it's just an internship, but for Brad, it's where his future lies, despite some of the party's attitudes being in conflict with his beliefs. Brad is still idealistic enough to think he can make a difference, even though the Republican party's ideals have shifted from governing and into bargains, bribes, and donations. The medallion is an excellent way to show Brad where he is in life, rather than where he hopes to be and gives him the opportunity to change it. If you like politics, gay men, magical medallions, truth, and honesty, then you may enjoy 'Between the Lines.'  Thank you, J. Scott, for the informative insight into politics and for reminding us that honesty is the best policy.

Source: http://www.rainbowbookreviews.com/book-reviews/between-the-lines-by-j-scott-coatsworth-at-dreamspinner-press