Vladimir Gusev exists in a living hell. A year ago in the Olympics he was forced to use a homophobic slur during a game, and guilt is eating him from the inside out. Not only is Vladimir not a homophobe, but in the aftermath of the Olympics, he was finally able to admit his true nature to himself. Yet he’s been taught homosexuality is a sin, so he tries to push away his feelings, but to no avail.
Joe Bufford is an out gay man and an ex-Delta Force member who was medically discharged after an injury to his hand leaves him no longer able to perform his duties. His job as a mechanic at the airport is hardly a long-term career choice, but Joe has no idea where he can utilize the skills he learned in the Army.
Vladimir and Joe meet, and Joe instantly recognizes Vladimir as a terrified closet case. Before he knows it, Joe is offering to help Vladimir figure out what he is and what he wants. As time goes on, Joe begins to hope more and more that the answers to those questions lie with him.
This book is one that follows the story line from See the Light. The Russian that caused so much trouble during the Olympics is now back in this book and we get to learn about him and why he did what he did. It’s going to take Joey to help Vlad come clean about his motives and what is tearing him apart in life.
Joey is an ex-military man who is now working at a regular job at the airport while deciding what he is going to do with his life. He is also a very sexy gay man who has had to live his life in the closet because being gay and in the military usually leads to bad consequences. Spending most of his free time at the local gay club he notices Vlad and is confused why he is there after being so derogatory during the Olympics about gays.
Vlad has secrets, such as why he did what he did at the Olympics, how his life really is being controlled by Russia and what his heart really desires. Being in the position he is in, he can’t be real, he has to do what makes him ill in order to avoid the threats that have been sent his way. When he meets Joey he isn’t sure if he can trust him or not. Since being in the USA people haven’t exactly welcomed him because of his past behavior.
Joey gets Vlad to tell him what he has been carrying around and slowly starts to help Vlad become real with himself. First off was Vlad admitting he hasn’t been in a relationship before. While the first book was mainly focused on having to hide who are you, this one is more about having the courage to explore who you want to be. The author had the ability to make us see Vlad in a new light and he went from zero to hero in this book.
Cassandra has given us two books, both that show what courage is, first in admitting who we are, and second in exploring what we want. I really loved these books, they are more than stories about men loving men, they are about the human soul and spirit.