Riley's had the life that no child deserves...kidnapped at an early age and held hostage for 4 years, rejected by his parents when he's finally free of his kidnappers, he spends the rest of his childhood going back and forth between foster homes and institutions finally ending up in Hartfield as a lifer.
Hunter finds himself in Hartfield after spinning out of control leading to what Hunter claims was an accidental overdose. While his brother calls an ambulance, his sister claims it was attempted suicide leading to Hunter being admitted to Hartfield where he and Riley meet and quickly drawn to each other.
Two men both damaged, emotionally fragile, grieving loss in their lives. It's a bad situation to start a relationship in and as Hunter and Riley become closer and get to know each other, they also begin to realize things about themselves as well. It's the realization that in order to love someone else you have to care about yourself that forces both men to look at their lives with honesty and come to the realization that need to commit to themselves and fix their own lives before they can truly commit to a relationship.
There was a lot about this story that I enjoyed. I loved Hunter. Sure he was broken and emotionally fragile, but what he wasn't was self-centered. In spite of everything going on inside of him. He wasn't oblivious to what was going on with others and I really loved that in the end Hunter had the strength to do what he knew he needed to do to get himself to a better place even if it meant keeping distance between himself and the man he was falling in love with.
And Riley...he's probably one of the most heartbreaking characters I've encountered in a long time. I loved the way Riley was presented and that in spite of all he'd endured while he might have lost his way in the end he still found the strength start living his life and taking care of himself so that he could have a life...a good life.
And then there's Riley and Hunter together. They were cautious, sweet and so fragile even as a couple. Sometimes loving someone is about putting yourself first and making the hard decisions because you know it's what's right for both of you.
There were a lot of secondary characters in this story that I really liked as well...Hunter's brother, Bubba (Shane) another person that Riley and Hunter met at Hartfield. The nurses and doctors throughout this story. While they weren't all wonderful and some were definitely better professionals than others...that's how it is in the real world too and I liked that for me it added a layer of realism to the story.
This wasn't a happy, cheerful story...it wasn't a story filled with fun and fluff but it was a story that had hope and possibility and in the end there was love and all that it can offer when it's good and right.
This was all given depth and made even more enjoyable for me through by the narration of Michael Ferraiuolo. This is not the first audio book narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo that I've enjoyed and I have to admit that Hunter's voice was very reminiscent of one of my favorite audio characters from The Five Bouroughs' yeah...that's right we're talking about Oli here...I loved Oli's voice and Hunter's voice is so like Oli's...and this made me a happy girl.