I absolutely loved this book. I just read Ms. Tortuga’s The Terms of Release a day or two ago and had signed up for Ever the Same without realizing it was the same author, but when I finished The Terms of Release I was compelled to begin this book. The fact that I have dozens due to review before it was irrelevant because I enjoyed the author’s writing so much that I had to find out if it was the specific book I had read or her style in general. After finishing Ever the Same, I am pleased as punch to discover it’s her writing style that I enjoy.
Once again, Ms. Tortuga has created wonderfully compelling characters with Audie and Dixon. Although both men are single dads, gay, and have overbearing mothers, there similarities pretty much end there. Dixon lost his partner almost two years ago and his sight about a year ago as a result of the same accident. He’s been living with his parents ever since he got out of the hospital, trying to figure out how to live as a blind man, and his daughter Randi is about the only thing that he feels he has to live for. Even though Audie is also a single dad, no one outside of his immediate family and his son’s mother know that he’s gay. Audie doesn’t live in the closet because he’s ashamed of his sexuality, but rather he doesn’t want Grainger to have to deal with any negativity as a result. While I don’t typically read books in which the children are pivotal to the storyline (don’t ask me why because I don’t know), in this case I loved that the kids are so involved in the story and were responsible for them meeting; it doesn’t hurt that the kids are cute as can be. As Audie and Dixon spend time around one another and eventually begin spending time together, the way in which they complement each other is so obvious that even a blind man can see (I couldn’t resist), even if their overinvolved mothers couldn’t. I’m not sure how to characterize their chemistry, it’s not that it’s hot or not hot, but rather I could feel the connection between them. The sex scenes are quite enjoyable, but there’s more of a focus on affection, comforting touches, holding one another, cuddling, snuggling – acts of human contact that clearly communicate love and something both men were sorely in need of. If you’ve read my reviews before, you know I love me some hot man-on-man action, but I think in the case of Ever the Same, it was this focus on touch and affection that made this a 5-star read for me.
Even though their children are the same age, Audie became a father fresh out of school and is about ten years younger than Dixon and I cannot even begin to express how pleased I was that the author didn’t feel the need to make the age difference an issue as there were so many more important things these guys had to deal with – Dixon’s blindness, their mothers butting in where they weren’t needed or wanted, that Audie wasn’t out, Randi’s other grandparents wanting to take her to live with them, financial issues, INTERVENTIONS!!!, and most importantly, whether or not they wanted a life together and, if they did, how they could go about it. I loved the way the author paced the telling of the story, some things came slowly and this allowed the men to form a friendship and for their relationship to evolve at a realistic pace. There were also times when they were smacked over the head with multiple situations that left them scrambling just like life does. Even better was that there wasn’t an oversimplified solution to every problem, nor was every issue drawn out to increase the angst of the book – rather each issue gave Audie and Dixon a chance to get to know one another, to communicate, and to decide what they did and did not want and what they were willing to do to achieve it. Ever the Same was a wonderfully enjoyable read for me and one that has made it on my reread list and moved Ms. Tortuga to my author watch list, fortunately she has an extensive backlist I get to check out.