And then they lived happily ever after…
Sometimes Joshua Stone thinks he’s died and gone to heaven. How else can he explain Michael’s love for him? And now they’re living together… in a real relationship. This is the stuff of fairy tales, a love like other people take for granted.
Sure, they have their moments, what couple doesn’t? But a small doubt lingers in Joshua’s heart. Can this really be true? Can a gorgeous man like Michael really love someone like Joshua—the guy with cerebral palsy, who’s helpless without his walker or his tricycle to get him around?
Michael senses Joshua’s worries, but there’s nothing he can do to dispel them because that would mean revealing his secret—and he’s not ready for that. Their mutual secrets hang between them like time bombs waiting to explode. They might not survive the inevitable blast.
Having loved Despite the Odds, I jumped at the chance to review Against All Odds. I was excited to see how Joshua and Michael’s relationship had progressed in the interim. Picking up a few months after the end of book one, we find that Joshua and Michael are now living together and enjoying life as a couple. Yet each man is still plagued with worry about what his partner could possibly see in him and is waiting for the morning his partner wakes up and realizes that he could do better. Michael still can’t understand how Joshua, the college graduate and elementary school teacher, can accept a boyfriend who is illiterate. At the same time, Joshua keeps waiting for the day to come when his boyfriend decides that a man with cerebral palsy is too much work.
So while it’s clear that Joshua and Michael are happy together, their relationship is tinged with an edge of anxiety. Because they keep their concerns to themselves, each man seems to rejoice in every day that they are together. This makes for an interesting balance in the relationship, one that leads to secret keeping as they each try to keep their issues to themselves so as not to rock the boat. When we learn what Michael’s secret is, I understood why he wanted to keep it a secret. Michael’s illiteracy has contributed to a huge amount of self-doubt on his part and failing yet again, this time with Joshua as an audience, was more of a hit than his self-confidence could take. But as is the way in life and in books, I wasn’t shocked when Michael’s secret came back to bite him on the arse because he was lying to Joshua, causing Joshua to come to a devastating conclusion about his whereabouts. Even knowing where Michael was, I didn’t hurt any less for Joshua.
While these two might be hesitant to communicate their problems so as not to rock the boat, they are less hesitant to speak up when it comes to keeping the boat afloat. Which is what made Joshua’s decision not to tell Michael what was going on with his health both hard to understand, yet not – mainly because Joshua was lying to himself as well and if he didn’t tell Michael about his suspicions, then he could pretend it wasn’t true. It was fortunate that Michael wasn’t alone with him when Joshua’s health issues flared up, and I loved how Michael dealt with Joshua afterwards. Rather than laying into Joshua for keeping secrets or holding a grudge over it, Michael demanded that Joshua educate him on what to expect with Joshua’s cerebral palsy. What could have been a tragic situation instead served as a way for the men to build an even stronger foundation for their relationship. The conflicts Michael had at work and Joshua had with his mother in this installment added to the realism of their story, as well as provided a little bit of suspense at one point and had me sick to my stomach with worry. As they are still in the early stages of their relationship, I hope that Kat has plans to add to the Odds Are series so that I can see Joshua and Michael’s relationship continue to progress as each man grows more confident in himself and their relationship.