Kyle Decker knew dating Jesse McGovern would change his life. Young and in love, and with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, the world is theirs to conquer.
But their victorious Pride celebration ends in a savage attack, brutally demonstrating they’re far from equal. Instead of wedding planning, Jesse and Kyle face an arduous recovery and a shattered sense of their place in the world, their once-promising future suddenly something to survive.
While Jesse struggles with a permanent injury and its emotional aftermath, Kyle’s single-minded focus on Jesse’s recovery is the only thing keeping his demons at bay…for now. What was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love is now full of lies and resentment.
With their dreams tattered and forever changed, trusting anyone—even each other—is daunting. So how can they have faith in twelve strangers on a jury? They’ve already learned the hard way it only takes a moment to become truly defenseless.
*I received an ARC of this book from the author in return of an honest review*
I’ve sat on this review for weeks because I had no idea how to put into words how much I loved this book. I still think I’m not nearly as eloquent and good at putting my feeling into words as Ms. Rose is at twisting my heart and making me feel. Nothing I’ll say will do this book justice but I want to try because damn this book is something special. And I bow before the author for writing such an powerful, heartfelt and emotional story. She must have had tissues taped under her eyes to soak up the tears so she could see what she was writing. 😉
I’ve highlighted at least half of Defenseless and could have marked a lot more scenes but stopped myself because I was beginning to think it might be easier to mark the whole book at once and be done with it. Because.. wow.
I loved it. I loved, loved, loved it. As I knew I would when I read the blurb. Just like I knew that this was a book to read when you have tissues at hand because you need them that’s for sure. Defenseless resonated so much with me because while they story of Jesse and Kyle is fiction, what the story is about isn’t. It happens like this. Every day people are attacked for their sexuality. It’s fortunately not always as violent as it’s in this book, but being anything other than hetero is in lots of parts around the world not deemed acceptable and in some places really dangerous.
We meet Kyle and Jesse when they’ve just moved in with each other. Kyle is not out yet to his parents and they think he’s just moving in with his roommate. But as soon as they leave Kyle and Jesse redecorate a bit (like having one bedroom, instead of two). And it’s so beautiful to see them when they’re just starting the rest of their life together only to be then viciously attacked by some homophobic lowlifes looking for some “fun”.
(I should warn those who don’t like to read it, that the attack is on page. And it was definitely not easy to read it. But I feel like you can skip it because you don’t have to read that scene to know how bad it was. You’ll know by the rave injuries both guys have from the attack.)
Afterwards nothing is the same. Both Jesse, who was more seriously injured than Kyle, and Kyle have to live with the changed reality and they have to find a way how to cope with what happened to them. And boy did Ms. Rose kill me with that. They have to deal with the guilt of not having been able to get away fast enough and then protect each other, the anger that it happened to them and the fear that’s constantly there, that it might happen again. It is a huge strain on both of them because Kyle and Jesse want to be strong for each other, to get better as fast as possible, so that somehow they can take back some of their normalcy. Add to that, that some of their family isn’t supportive, the media is there monitoring everything they do and then later on the defense trys to twist their story to get his clients free.
Ms. Rose writing was mesmerizing in a way that it was so simple and without flourishes; she didn’t add unnecessary drama and conflict.
There’s just two guys finding their way, dealing with what they had to go through, with such care and written in such an insightful, moving and powerful way – I wish I could be more eloquent to do this book justice, but I can only repeat how much I cherish this story.
I highly recommend it and can just urge you to read it. It deserves all the love.