Beautiful. Sonata is an absolutely beautiful story and I loved every page of it, including the ones that broke my heart. Ian is among the lucky few that happen to find love with a one-night stand. At least, it looks like love. Or it could be the start of love, if only Jordan would stop pushing him away. But fate or the universe seems insistent that Jordan give Ian a chance because their paths cross not once, not twice, not even three times, but over and over until Jordan finally agrees to spend more time with Ian. Because Jordan is a single father, Ian has to work around his schedule and ends up spending time with Jordan at his apartment and gets to know Jordan’s son Cole … well, he gets to know Cole as well as one can get to know a child with autism.
I loved the way that Jordan and Ian’s path kept crossing. Even though Jordan tried to keep their interactions completely sexual – and those were some freaking hot sex scenes – Ian refuses to be relegated to a booty call and takes every opportunity to worm his way into Jordan’s life. I also loved how realistic Cole’s character felt. I work with children and teens with autism and Asperger’s syndrome and was thrilled with the way that Cole was portrayed as well as the interactions between Cole and Jordan, and Cole and Ian. But the best part was the twist that the author adds to the story. I really didn’t see it coming until Ian’s suspicions began to form. However, I was appalled by Aubrey’s interferences and was glad when Ian finally called her out on them. Actually, the absolute best part of this book is the ending. It was perfect for Ian and Jordan.
Sonata was an extremely emotional read for me and I loved every up and down on the rollercoaster ride I felt like I was on. I love books that can make me laugh and cry and this one definitely meets that criteria. There was so much that I loved about this book that I am sure I’m not recalling every great scene in the book. Sonata may have been the first book by A.F. Henley that I’ve read but it won’t be the last.
Thirty-six shouldn’t feel old, Ian told himself, watching the dancers dance and the lights blink on and off. Amber liquid shone within his simple rock glass, the napkin underneath blue then pink, green then yellow. The bartender leaned over the bar at the far end of the unit, propping himself majestically, doing his best to highlight musculature and form for the two young twins in front of him. Less than eight feet away, a young body swayed for the one against it in an alluring tease that made Ian’s skin prick with sweat. Only Ian seemed to mind the heat.
The three scotches meandering through his bloodstream should have been easing the tension in his shoulders, not increasing it. Yet even with his jacket off Ian could somehow still feel the constriction of the fabric, as if it were the very thing binding him into his middle-aged hole of an existence.
With a snarl and a frown, Ian reached up to tug his tie down. He should have changed before he came, tried harder to blend in. His clothes screamed out the warning of too-old-to-be-cool and yet still too young to be the daddy replacement the rest were looking for. “Twenty-five or fifty-five, anything in between is simply viral,” Ian’s flamboyant ex used to always tell him. And while Ian would casually roll eyes at the comment and tell Madison he only thought that way because he was an attention whore, Ian couldn’t help but feel that there was more truth to it then Ian wanted to believe. After all, it’s not like the young men were scoping him out. And God knew, the men his own age all wanted babies.
Ian swallowed back a sigh and topped it with the remaining scotch. It was time to go; the bar was only making him feel worse. He waved off the bartender’s attempt at feigning interest in his empty glass and grabbed his jacket off the bar. He tapped his pockets to confirm keys and wallet, pulled the fives out of the pile of change that had been so graciously provided instead of the twenty, (because, hey, just because I’m chatting up two gorgeous young dudes instead of paying the slightest attention to your needs doesn’t mean I still don’t want a tip) and just left the singles.
The washroom was packed with people, none of who seemed to have any interest in the urinals at the far wall. In a club like this, washrooms were made for snorting and fucking. Why owners of said establishments didn’t just say, “fuck it” and put in private rooms was beyond him. Regardless of commotion, privacy or filth, the minions were following the citation to the letter. And while it shouldn’t have—he was well past the age when bathroom sex sounded enticing—the process made Ian’s chest tighten up on him. It was an ache that reminded him that no matter what the excuses were that he was telling himself, the truth of the matter was that he was too much of a chicken-shit to shove a straw up his nose, and too damn boring to be summoned into one of the stalls.
He stood up to the urinal, flipped his jacket over his arm, and caught his own dark brown gaze in the mirror to the left of him. Maybe if he did something about the strands of white creeping into the otherwise dark hair. Maybe if he traded the semi-casual business wear for something more daring. Maybe if he got his eyes touched up and traded in the ever deepening lines for Botox-infused expression-free clarity. Maybe then.
It wasn’t until he was gritting his jaw at his own pity-party and turning his head away in disgust that he caught a similar set of brown that were (Were they?) staring at him (No, flicking past … no … definitely staring.) Recalled fiction pinged the term “root beer eyes” and in that instant Ian finally understood what the author had meant: gold yet brown, highlights and lowlights, warm and beautiful.
From there things just got sweeter: pale skin, shock-blond hair shaved short on both sides with the middle left longer and swept back, his eyebrows and the barest brush of facial hair disproving the blond as brown. A sexy smirk played over the young man’s lips—glossed with a sheer pink, Ian was sure of it—and the only flaw on his skin, a mark Ian wasn’t even convinced he’d call a flaw if asked, was a tiny mole high on the kid’s right cheek.
“Don’t hold eye contact,” internal reasoning seemed to hiss in his ear and Ian instantly lowered his eyes. Yet he found he was fighting himself not to pull them back up again, to check, to see. It was a foolish notion that a pretty kid would be trying to catch his attention and he silently called himself every name in the book for considering it, but he failed in his attempt not to look.
Not that Ian needed to see how close the other man was. He felt it; nudging against his shoulder, leaning into his ear. “How bad do you need that piss?”
Ian opened his mouth to reply and snapped it shut just as quickly. Anything he said would sound either lame or stupid. His breath caught when the young man brushed fingertips down his spine. More so when a finger caught his back belt loop and tugged him closer.
“Do I know you?” was all that Ian was able to come up with.
“Nope,” the man said, smirking a reflected grin at similarly reflected eyes. “Perfect, right?”
“I—” and Ian had to stop. Right there. Mid-speech. Because the young man was pushing his hips into Ian’s upper thigh like they were old friends. With benefits.
“I—” Ian repeated, swallowing on a suddenly dry throat. “Yes?”
Yes, as in, how much do you charge by the hour, the little voice in Ian’s mind scoffed. Yes, as in, is this some kind of joke?
“In here,” the man said, pulling Ian towards one of the few empty stalls.
Ian felt like a colt just learning his legs as he stumble-trailed the blond towards the open door. “Impossible,” his brain kept screaming. “He’s going to steal your wallet. He’s a psychotic. This can’t happen.”
Not to you.
Yet there he stood, in dumfounded awe, already breathing like he’d run five miles through the rain, as the door was shut and locked behind them.
A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.
Henley has been proudly working with LT3 since 2012, and has been writing like mad ever since—an indentured servant to the belief that romance and true love can mend the most broken soul. Even when presented in prose.
Comments, kudos and signature card requests are happily received at afhenley.com.