Author: Parker Williams
Release Date: July 28, 2017
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Matt Bowers’s life ended at sixteen, when a vicious betrayal by someone who he should have been able to trust left him a shell of himself, fighting OCD and PTSD, living in constant fear and always running. When he buys a remote tract of land, he thinks he’s found the perfect place to hide from the world and attempt to establish some peace. For ten years he believes he’s found a measure of comfort, until the day a stranger begins to run on Matt’s road.
He returns every day, an unwelcome intrusion into Matt’s carefully structured life. Matt appeals to the local sheriff, who cannot help him since the jogger is doing nothing wrong. Gradually, after tentatively breaking the ice, Matt begins to accept the man’s presence—
But when the runner doesn’t show up one day, it throws Matt’s world into chaos and he must make the hardest decision of his life.
I COULDN’T find it within myself to talk to him for the first four days. I kept hoping he’d stop running by and my life would go back to normal. I should have known better. Ever since the incident, nothing went the way I expected it to. I continued to watch him, and I had to admit, the apprehension that coursed through me had eased. He didn’t really frighten me anymore, but the thought of talking to him filled me with dread. What made it worse for me? He’d continued to glance toward the house, and if he saw me, he’d give a smile or a little wave.
No, I wasn’t being honest. After a few weeks of him waving, I had actually started to weave that into my daily routine. I stood in front of the window, looking out at the road every day at ten thirty. One day it rained, and he was thirteen minutes late. I went into panic mode, hyperventilating and pacing around the house, chastising myself. How had he become a part of my world? Why did I now depend on him to be where I expected him to be? I grew angry with myself for that. Despite the pleading I’d done with Clay, I no longer wanted the man to stop running by my house now that I’d grown used to seeing him.
And worse, when he waved, I had started waving back.”
Matt and OCD
When I envisioned the story, I went to various sources to find out the effects, both short and long-term, of rape. Despite the fact that no actual penetration took place, Matt was violated by someone he should have been able to trust. Due to this fact, Matt displayed several of the conditions associated with the violent act.
- He blamed himself. Many people ask what they had done to lead their attacker on. Survivors are certain it was something they initiated or done to lead their attacker on in some way. It’s easier to blame themselves, rather than the person who is actually responsible.
- He withdrew from society. While Matt’s case was extreme, you have to remember that he was a kid when this happened. So many emotions are amplified when we’re young and can affect you well into adulthood. This is the case with Matt. While some might think his reactions aren’t really believable, they actually are. I spoke with a person who was a survivor of an assault, and was told, in their opinion, I captured the essence of the helplessness and trauma. Another person I spoke with, who read Runner, said her son deals with OCD and she told me that, again, in her opinion, she found Matt to be believable.
One of the sites I used for my research gave these bullet points:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – feelings of severe anxiety and stress
- Flashbacks – memories of rape as if it is taking place again
- Borderline personality disorder
- Sleep disorders
- Eating disorders
- Dissociative identity disorder
- Distrust of others – uneasy in everyday social situations
- Feelings of personal powerlessness – victims feel the rapist robbed them of control over their bodies
I believe that Matt experienced many of these. Again, as a teen, it became firmly ensconced in his mind and kept hold on him into his adulthood.
- Matt gave up on therapy, because he didn’t think it would help. It’s said that survivors of assault may need therapy for the rest of their lives. In Runner, there was no magic cure. Matt will be dealing with the feelings forever, but Charlie is going to stand by him, and he’s got his doctor in his corner. So I think he’s going to end up being okay.
About The Author:
Parker Williams believes that true love exists, but it always comes with a price. No happily ever after can ever be had without work, sweat, and tears that come with melding lives together.
Living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his husband of a quarter century, Parker continues to believe and writes stories where there is (almost) always a happy ending.
Connect with Parker on:
Or you can visit his website: http://www.ParkerWilliamsAuthor.com
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Runner: It's the perfect title for this book. These two men are both runners. Matt is running from a childhood trauma, referred to as the "incident". He's run away from his family and society in general. Living far outside of his hometown of Fall Harbor, Maine, he has isolated himself in his home and doesn't interact with anyone.
Charlie ran away from his home in New York after his boyfriend cheated on him. He needed to get away, so he moved to Matt's small hometown of Fall Harbor, Maine, but he soon begins running on the road that runs along Matt's property, which makes Matt very unhappy. Matt calls the sheriff, but he refuses to tell Charlie to find another running route.
This was a sweet and sexy story. Both the characters are extremely lovable, although I wanted to knock Matt upside the head a few times. I loved that Charlie was so caring, understanding and patient and that Matt was willing to put forth the effort to try to heal, so he could have a healthy relationship with Charlie. Matt felt very innocent. I liked the secondary character of Clay, Matt's brother. He was funny yet loving and never really gave up hope that he'd get his brother back one day.
I absolutely loved that even though it is Matt's relationship with Charlie that is the crux that begins to heal him, the author took other routes as well to make it more believable. Love alone does not heal people.
This was an enjoyable read. Filled with heartbreak, healing, laughter and mostly love. It left me with a case of the warm and fuzzies! Very recommendable!!
*copy provided to me by author in exchange for an honest review*