“You have to learn to love yourself before you can love someone else. Because it's only when we love ourselves that we feel worthy of someone else's love.” ~ Alyssa B. Sheinmel, 'Faceless'
When Guy wakes up in the hospital, the last person he expects to see at his bedside is Shane Rendell. He'd treated Shane badly after their short affair, then sent him packing. Although Guy's abrupt dismissal broke Shane's heart, he'd had a glimpse of the man beneath the mask of indifference and sarcasm. Shane sees the good in Guy and decides to help Guy see himself the way Shane does.
Putting up with Guy's rude demeanor, Shane stays by Guy through his convalescence, even paying for some of Guy's medical bills to ensure he has the best care. All the while, Guy is suspicious of Shane's motives, doubting his every suggestion or action, but he's unable to find any. Shane even buys half of Guy's ski lodge and manages it while Guy is serving a jail sentence for a DUI charge. Guy ran Riley off the road, seriously injuring him, but at least not causing his death. Among many other serious injuries, the accident caused Guy to lose his leg, ending his skiing days for good. When Guy gets out of jail, thanks to Shane, he has somewhere to go.
Shane has been working on building up business for the ski lodge, making arrangements with local vendors and businesses to promote exposure and provide the lodge with improved amenities. Shane sets Guy up in one of the cabins and makes sure that everything is handicapped accessible. Shane gives Guy room to think about how different his life can be if he can stop hating himself, ask forgiveness of the people he's wronged, and, most important, stay sober and let himself see the goodness in him that Shane sees. Shane has deep feelings for Guy and would love it if they could have a relationship, but if Guy can turn his life around, he will settle for just being good friends.
I definitely remember Guy from before and wondered why someone would act the way he did. I had a feeling there was a story behind what made him the way he was. When he finally confided in Shane, I did see him in a different light, but it would be a stretch to say he's redeemed himself in my eyes. I like Shane and wonder, especially coming from a background of having alcoholics in his family, why he would put himself in a similar situation, but on the other hand, he would also know what to expect and how to deal with the problems that come with the territory. He has the patience of a saint, maybe too much, especially for Guy after the way he treated Shane. I'd say that Guy doesn't deserve him, but that's not my judgement to make. Everyone deserves a second chance, even Guy.
At eighty-eight pages, 'Karma' is not a long story, but Carol managed to put a lot of emotion into it. Guy and Shane are interesting characters and it seems are now on the right track, but I would like to have had more resolution. However, I also realize there may be more of their story revealed in the future. If you aren't already a Cattle Valley fanatic, like me, who has read all thirty-three books, I don't know if there is enough background information to read it as a stand-alone. Thanks, Carol, for giving Guy and Shane a second chance.