Book Review: M/M ~ Beyond The Scars by Louise Lyons ~ (ARC Review, Excerpt + Giveaway)
Title: Beyond The Scars
Author: Louise Lyons
Release Date: July 24, 2015
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After years of physical and mental abuse, Tommy Chadwick finally finds the strength to leave Colin, his tormentor. But Tommy soon finds that escaping his violent boyfriend was only the first step on his path to recovery.
Now he must overcome feelings of worthlessness in order to rebuild his battered self-esteem.
Tommy’s lack of self-confidence prevents him from going out... at first, but then has him ricocheting from one man to another, desperately trying to please them in his search for love and acceptance.
After being rejected on New Year’s Eve, and then beaten after leaving the gay bar, he agrees to accompany his best friend, Sarah, to a martial arts club. There Tommy meets Marcus, a strong older man, who at first becomes his friend, introducing Tommy to new interests, and later, tentatively asks him on a date.
Will Marcus be the man to help Tommy put his past behind him and fall in love for real?
“That was hot,” he said and gave me a brief grin. He reached around me to open the door and pushed me aside as he walked out. I followed, grimacing with every step.
“Almost midnight,” I commented. “Do you want to get a drink?”
“Not really. I’m going soon.”
“How about I give you my number?” I suggested. “My name’s Tommy. Maybe we could get together─”
He turned to face me, his brows drawn together in a slight frown. “Look... Tommy... if you’re looking for a date, you’re looking in the wrong place.”
“I don’t date boys who’ll bend over in a toilet less than half an hour after meeting someone. I don’t want a slut for a boyfriend.”
My jaw dropped. “But... you came to me....”
“I wanted to fuck. Happy New Year.”
He walked away from me, and I stood there in the middle of the club, oblivious to the crowds around me. My eyes stung with tears, and my ass was a painful reminder of what I’d just done. He was right. I was a slut. All I’d done over the past few months was let one man after another fuck me and use me however they saw fit. I’d thought I was in control when I picked the ones I knew I wouldn’t fall for, but I still let them do what they wanted with me. I was popular because I was easy. None of them cared about me. Why would they when I handed it to them on a plate? I’d lost count of how many there had been and couldn’t remember some of their names. I didn’t even know this latest man’s name.
As the music stopped and the DJ began the countdown to midnight, I left the New Year revelers behind and walked out onto the street. I hadn’t bothered to wear a jacket that evening as the weather was uncharacteristically mild, but I regretted it now. A light rain was falling, and as I turned toward the busier areas to look for a taxi, the downfall increased. I shivered and wrapped my arms around myself as I stopped to shelter in a doorway. I could hear cheering coming from La Rues, and fireworks began to go off along the seafront and in various gardens. It was 2008, and I’d essentially been alone for more than eight months. I’d never felt more lonely in my life.
“Hey, look... you think he’s a poof?” I heard a loud voice say. I looked up and spotted two men on the opposite side of the street, both walking unsteadily as if they’d had one too many. They stopped and stared at me, both laughing.
“Hey, blondie! Wanna suck my dick?” the other man shouted and dissolved into loud, hysterical laughter. He bent double, almost falling to his knees. His friend hauled him upright, and the pair lurched across the road toward me.
I stepped out of the doorway into the rain and began to walk away. The last thing I needed on top of everything else was trouble with a couple of drunken, homophobic pricks.
“Aww, he’s running away! Are ya scared, blondie?”
“You should be! Fucking queer!”
I ran, whimpering quietly from the pain in my ass and the bottom of my spine. Hot tears filled my eyes and spilled over, immediately washed away by the rain. A sob burst from my lips, and I stumbled over an uneven paving stone.
“Where d’ya think you’re going? Not gonna say happy New Year to us?” One of the men grabbed my arm and halted my flight.
“Happy New Year,” I said. “Now let me go.”
“Nah. We wanna have some fun. You know my friend here has to live near that fucking club and watch your sort coming and going, fucking fooling about outside and stuff. Makes us sick.”
“Leave me alone.” I was scared. I’d never been in this position before, although I’d read reports in the papers of homophobic attacks in the area. I’d been beaten before, plenty of times, but only by Colin. In a way, this was worse because I didn’t know what was coming.
“Aww, he’s scared. Gonna start crying for your mummy? Or your boyfriend? Fucking ass-bandit.” The man speaking still held onto my arm. The other one leaned in close and stared into my face. I blinked rapidly, trying to clear my eyes of tears and raindrops. Before I had the chance to react, the man pulled back and drove his fist into my stomach. I bent double, gasping and retching. The lager I’d drunk over the past couple of hours came up with a rush and splattered over my attacker’s shoes. He jumped back, spitting expletives, and the one holding my arm let go. I knew I should run, but I couldn’t move. I couldn’t get my breath, and I slumped to my knees, panting desperately.
A fist connected with my face. I didn’t know which of the men had hit me, but it was followed by another punch to the side of my head. I rolled into a ball on the wet pavement and covered my head and face with both arms as best I could. I was soaked to the skin and shivering, and my jaw and head ached where I’d been hit. I wept as I waited for the next punch, or a kick, but none came. Next I heard laughing and footsteps moving away from me.
3.75 rounded up to 4 Stars
*copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*
23 year old Tommy has spent the last three years of his life miserable, and scared. His boyfriend is physically and emotionally abusive. He finally escapes after 3 years, but his time with Colin has left him scared, broken and believing he isn't worth anything. He has no self confidence left in himself.
We sadly watch Tommy slowly spiral out of control, into a web of self destruction, until it all comes to an end on New Year's Eve, when after leaving a club, after one of his many hookups, he is beaten up by a couple of drunken, homophobic thugs.
After agreeing to attend a martial arts class with his best friend, Sarah, Tommy meets Marcus, a fellow student. Marcus becomes Tommy's mentor. He helps train him in class. Tommy is attracted to him, but his self confidence is so low, from the years of Colin telling him he is worthless, a lousy lay and ugly, he can't believe that Marcus would ever like him back.
I started this book with knots in my stomach. I just knew something awful was going to happen to Tommy before he escaped Colin's clutches! I was so happy to see him make it out.
I wanted to love this book. I thought this book had so much potential, but sadly it just wasn't there. This book was sweet and a tad bit sappy. It was repetitive. We watch Tommy do the same things over and over. I'm sorry but I lost count of many times Tommy went to the bathroom and brushed his teeth.
I'm not a car fan (unless they are making left turns at about 200 miles an hour), and this was a huge portion of the book. I understand this, along with the martial arts was something they had in common, but it was just kind of boring and uninteresting. :(
I didn't feel a connection with the characters and I didn't feel the chemistry between them. The book wasn't badly written, it was just slow and not exciting at all. It needed some more angst, and excitement.
This was a sweet and steamy read, though. I'm sure plenty of people will enjoy it, I just wasn't one of them. :(
Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy. Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of 8, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late 20s.
Posting stories based on some of her favorite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.
Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad Dobermann, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long-distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races into the house afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.
Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and joy, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.
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