Ellis Parker is a lucky man: he escaped his persecuting family, survived his tour of duty, and met Maxwell Clark in the city of New Amsterdam. Clark showed Ellis more than the ropes: Clark helped Ellis figure out who he is – a gay submissive with a massive fixation on a beautiful, mysterious ballet dancer named Bryn Rothe. Ellis knows a Good Man when he sees one, and he wants nothing more than to score a first date with Bryn.
Little does Ellis know that Bryn has a violent past that is crawling out of shallow graves to haunt him. Even his hectic schedule and beloved stage aren’t enough to distract him. It’s impossible for Bryn to figure out how he feels about Ellis with his demons between them, but when Ellis saves Bryn not once but twice, Bryn is forced to admit that there’s something about Ellis that Bryn might not merely want but need.
Together, they journey to the scene of Bryn’s original crime – Charles Towne, South Carolina. There they will dig up secrets that might explain Bryn’s tortured life but might also be his – and Ellis’s – undoing.
I was completely sucked into Ellis and Bryn’s story. I started Earthquakes at 11pm and read until my eyes wouldn’t stay open any longer. As soon as I woke the next morning, I started right back up on it. I had to know what Bryn’s secret was. I had to know why Bryn kept seeing Jared (okay, I pretty much guessed the why – but I wanted the details). I wanted to know why Bryn’s mother kept calling and why he wouldn’t answer the phone. I had to know if Ellis was going to be able to scale Bryn’s walls. I had to know if he did, would Bryn let him help break down those walls. I had to know more about Ellis. I had to know more about Bryn. I had to know if there would be a Bryn and Ellis, or if Bryn would succeed in pushing Ellis away.
Although I haven’t read any of the previous books in the New Amsterdam series, Wyre has written the book in such a way that I was able to read it as a standalone. That said, after reading the blurbs from the previous books, I imagine that series fans will enjoy seeing Ellis find his match because it’s clear that this is a close knit group of men and while Bryn is new to the series, Ellis is not. Even though I haven’t gotten to know Ellis over the course of the series, I connected with his character almost immediately. There was just something about him that I adored. Perhaps it was Ellis’s need to draw out the obviously wounded Bryn and his subsequent need to protect the man even as he wanted to submit to him, but it made for a rather heady combination in a character.
As for Bryn, the man was just as fascinating in his brokenness that conflicted with his need to dominate. Unfortunately, because Bryn’s issues and how they affect his behaviors drive the story, I cannot discuss them without spoiling the book. Suffice it to say, I was utterly enthralled by Earthquakes. Watching Ellis’s earnest efforts to get Bryn to notice him and feeling Bryn’s confusion and Ellis’s strength when their first true encounter occurs. Witnessing their first standoff on the gun range the following Monday (hot!). Ellis comes to Bryn’s rescue time and time again, and I was absolutely humbled by Ellis’s ultimatum to himself and his refusal to continue to subject himself to Bryn’s rejections indefinitely. Even before he accompanied Bryn to his family home in South Carolina, Ellis understood that Bryn had received little to affection in his life, that Bryn needed to be shown that he was worthy of love – but Ellis also understood that love was not enough to rid Bryn of his demons, that Bryn had to want to help himself. As for Bryn’s mother, I have no words to describe that woman, at least no words I can put in a review. And the secrets! The secrets that Bryn learns are so devastating, yet enlightening for Bryn because they altered the way he saw his childhood – both the good and the bad. While I would have enjoyed seeing more about Bryn’s healing process, I appreciated that the author included references to Bryn’s recovery – both with his therapist and with Clark. There is no doubt that Ellis’s love and support helped make huge inroads in Bryn’s improvements, but with all that was plaguing him, I’m glad that the author didn’t try to present it as a “love heals all wounds” scenario. I thoroughly enjoyed Earthquakes and Wyre’s writing style, and I hope to find time to read the previous books in the series so that I can get the other men’s stories, especially Clark’s.
So I’ve not read the others and wasn’t so much confused, as I felt that I was missing too much of the back story of the World they lived in. Who these characters are, how they got there. How the BDSM club came to be, what role did Ellis actually play with Clark. And so on.
Overall it was a pleasant read. Not one of favorites.
Bryn, is a very quiet character, I’m not sure when we actually got more then one or two single word answers out of him. As we learn more, we start to understand, but how can they or we bound a relationship if no words?
Ellis on the other hand is full of words, problem is most are in his head. And he’s created this pre relationship with Bryn before they’ve even had a real conversation. Little on the stalker/creepy side if you ask me. And then just on a personal level, being a military BRAT and knowing way too many ppl with PTSD, I just couldn’t get my head around this person that was injured, active duty, with PTSD working at a gun range? Loud noises, flash backs? IDK, doesn’t work for me.
Once they cross that bridge and Ellis takes the matter in hand, we can see the bond, unique as it is form for these two. Not sure in real life how healthy it was for Bryn, but it is fiction after all.