When Yanni Tomaras is kicked out of his family home, his parents’ final words are religious insults and an order to never return. Homeless and desperate, he’s lured in by Lance—charming on the outside, an evil predator underneath—who abuses Yanni until he finds the courage to leave.
Yanni should feel free. But by the time Spencer Cohen finds him, he’s resigned to being handed back to Lance and once again being caged by fear.
Starting school and a part-time job, Yanni begins to reclaim his life. But a love for silent films leads him to Peter Hannikov, a man with a kind heart but who’s twice his age. An unlikely friendship between them blooms into so much more. Neither man knows what he wants, at first. Finding out exactly what he needs is Yanni’s story.
“I’d spent years as a bird, caged with my wings clipped, tormented and beaten.
I thought I’d escaped when I’d left my abuser, but in hindsight, I could see that I was still caged, this time by fear and self-doubt.
Spencer and Andrew, and Andrew’s parents, opened the door to the cage that confined me.
But it was Peter who taught me how to fly.”
Trigger Warning: Descriptions of violence, suicide, and sexual assault. Reader discretion advised.
Review by Mary
(Book reviewed here previously)
Yianni is a character from book 2 and the timeline runs along books 2 and three. In my opinion it can work as a standalone. As would be expected it is written from Yanni’s point of view. There is little to no angst and I like like that it is a positive story about Yanni pulling his life back together. When they first meet neither Yanni or Peter are in the right place for a romantic relationship but a close friendship develops from shared interests. Liked the pace of the story. I appreciate the slow burn of the impending deeper relationship given what Yanni escaped from and Peter only recently coming out of a relationship.
There is daddy kink in the story rather than just a May/December relationship which sort of surprised me. It comes from the security and nurturing angle of the kink rather than sexual games or the desire to dominate. That’s not to say they aren’t equal in the relationship because they are. It’s definitely not about control. I think this sums up Yanni’s feelings for Peter He was a pillar of warmth and strength and everything my soul craved. Such beautiful writing, so evocative.
The support characters really stand out and each one has a role, whether intentional or not in Yanni’s recovery. Andrew’s parents enfold Yanni into a family he so desperately needs and his house mates provide the understanding friendship. Whilst his work colleagues help to re-enforce his confidence.
I wasn’t sure what to make of this story when I started but as I went on I found it to be a beautiful story of healing, not just for Yanni but also for Peter, and quite thought provoking.
4.5 of 5 stars
Review by Beth
This is a sweet story about a man, Yanni, who removes himself from an abusive relationship and the struggles he goes through to regain his feelings of self worth. All of the supporting characters are kind and generous, supportive of Yanni’s recovery.
The story shows us how much an abusive relationship can really warp your self worth. Depending how long the situation lasted, the more it seems the victim feels he isn’t worth redemption. The author takes us through many of the steps to recovery letting us root for Yanni to recover each small step he takes.
Then we have Peter who is mildly into the daddy aspect of BDSM. An older man who likes younger men. He and Yanni discover they have a lot of the same interests. Peter doesn’t learn of the extent of abuse Yanni had gone through until about half way through the story, yet he is kind and gentle in general.
The sex is sweet when it finally happens. And all the Daddy/boy play is very, very subtle.
The story moved at a pace that was appropriate for the content. I read this in pretty much 1 sitting, wanting to see how the story progressed.
4 of 5 stars
Review by Morgan
I want to start by stating that I’m a big NR Walker fan, and I have LOVED pretty much everything she ever wrote. Mostly. But this wasn’t my favorite, unfortunately, it just hit me wrong, and I couldn’t get over the “daddy” kink. I think that’s pretty mild and only people really sensitive to the issue will notice – but that was my overshadowing impression.
I really loved the series and was happy to see Spencer again! But I wasn’t that involved in this story as I have been in the past.
The writing was good and I’m still a super fan!
3 of 5 stars
While this is not my favorite NR Walker story, I still loved this series in it’s entirety and was so thankful she chose Joel to narrate. He is able to give the vast myriad characters such depth and to perform all the deeply emotional scenes to perfection.
Highly recommended in this format!
5 of 5 stars
Overall 4 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review