If you aren't good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you'll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren't even giving to yourself.” ~ Barbara De Angelis
When Danny Somers's grandfather died, he left his dilapidated old house to Danny. Feeling broken down himself, Danny proceeds to rebuild the house and his life. Even going far away, Danny's heart aches for Curtis, the man whom he believes he can never have. When Danny gets a desperate phone call from Curtis, needing a place to stay, it opens up an entirely new realm of possibilities, ones that neither man may be prepared to face.
Danny has loved his one-time best friend, Curtis, for years, suffering in silence when all he wanted to do was take Curtis into his arms and proclaim his undying love. Regardless of any hints Danny made, Curtis never gives him any indication that he felt the same way. When it gets to be too much, Danny runs, hoping to put Curtis and the pain behind him. Repairing the house is good therapy for him; while doing so, Danny discovers that he loves woodworking and does it professionally. With the ache of loneliness still in his heart, he has no energy for friendships, much less a relationship.
The last person in the world who Danny expects to call him is Curtis. Since he didn't come out until college, Curtis doesn't even know Danny is gay. Learning that Curtis lost his girlfriend, job, and place to live, Danny invites Curtis to come and stay with him for a while. When Curtis arrives, Danny is elated. He feels like they are teenagers again. Curtis wants to be there; Danny wants him there, but there's also a big elephant in the room - the unanswered questions neither want to directly address. Yet through their casual getting to know each other again, the serious ones pop their head up at unusual times, the biggest one being why Danny left Curtis behind in the first place. They dance around the issues as they try to figure themselves and each other out. So much is familiar, yet some of it is uncharted territory, but they all lead up to confessions that are painfully revealing and add even more confusion and seemingly impossible solutions.
Curtis is an emotional mess. His feelings for Danny and, even more so about himself, are tied up in one big Gordian knot of self-doubt and fear. He has no idea what he wants or how to get it, but the better things are for him, the harder he works at sabotaging them. Besides being mistreated by his alcoholic father, Curtis suffers from PTSD because of a tragedy that happened when he was young. He's never gotten over either and they shadow every major decision he's made in his life, including how he feels about Danny. He twists them in his mind any way he can to make the outcome bleak. No matter how well things may be, Curtis invents excuses to prove his “results” are flawed somehow. Curtis frustrates Danny time and again with his push-me-pull-me attitude. Exhausted by the fighting within himself, Curtis tells Danny the one thing that he's sure will erase any good feelings Danny has for him. The truth is so unimaginable that Danny can't even fathom it so he turns and runs as far away from Curtis as he can get.
For me, the hallmark of a well-told story is that it makes me think and feel. This book definitely does that. Although the interaction of Danny and Curtis is intense, confusing, and full of angst, the message is loud and clear—if you love someone please don't hide it. Tell them! It isn't a light read, but the struggles Danny and Curtis go through are real ones, albeit made much worse than they needed to be by not listening to their hearts and doing or not doing what was 'expected.' Both men have so many regrets that I became depressed thinking about how good it could have been.
The book was written with head hopping and flashbacks, both of which were clearly labeled, with the necessary background information; although there were still times when I was confused by what seemed to be contradictory or lacked sufficient information for me to understand. Chase is new to the writing scene and is off to an admirable start. I have little doubt that Chase's talent will continue to improve and we will see more excellent Chase Potter books in the future. If you like books about missed opportunities, soul searching, and putting the past behind you, then you may like this story. Thank you, Chase, for showing Danny and Curtis “the light”.