Standalone GFY/MM friends to lovers
Would you live a lie to hold onto the one you love?
Dean and Jason are best friends, like brothers since boyhood, now architecture students and college roommates. They’ve always had each other’s back, but when one walks in on the other with another man, everything changes. How do you explain to your best friend that he’s the one you’ve always wanted, that until now your life has been a lie?
Desperation and shame are two dirty words that run through Jason’s veins. He carries the scars from a wayward priest who stole his innocence and left him shattered. Meanwhile for years he’s watched Dean pursuing woman after woman, as his own heart slowly breaks.
When their world blows apart, they learn the powerful bond between them has more fire than either understood. Can two broken souls find the light in their darkness and come together to make a whole, or will sins of the past be forever unforgiven?
This standalone is a M/M love story with graphic sex. Trigger warning.
UNFORGIVEN is available to purchase below
Review by Gitte & Jenny
‘I’m not sure that I can be strong enough for the both of us, but if he can find strength, together we may have a chance.’
When we heard Ruth Clampett was writing an MM story we jumped at the chance to read it as we’ve enjoyed previous books by this Author and love our MM books. We loved that she ventured into a new genre and the synopsis sounded fabulous.
‘There’s a part of me that wants to give up. I’m so tired of Earth’s gravity pulling me down when all I want to do is fly far away.’
Once again the writing was beautiful and the characters lovable and real. We have to say that this book is a story of two halves for us. The first half was a tad too sex oriented so early on, we felt that the emotional build up and character connection played second fiddle to nookie which is a bit of a contention for us, a personal pet peeve if you will. However what we did love about the first half was the way in which we felt Dean’s character and reactions to his discovery of Jason’s sexuality felt real and non-apologetic. Was his stereotypical behaviour correct, no! However, we very much feel that this came across as an instantaneous reactive portrayal in the sense of his hesitation, confusion and problematic acceptance of hidden secrets in a friendship that began in childhood. It may have made us angry and gotten our backs up, but it felt realistic. It also made our hearts bleed for Jason’s difficulty in making sense of himself and his place in this friendship.
‘Maybe this is the only man I’ll ever feel this way about, but I know it’s built on years of being best friends. That closeness allowed us to be vulnerable with each other and explore something I never would’ve imagined. I don’t need to overthink it and try to force myself into some kind of box just so society can pigeonhole me. We are simply Jason and Dean…best friends that got physical, and fell in love.’
Then came the real nitty gritty story and from about halfway we became completely engrossed and invested and admit to crying a few times as it all became so bloody sad and traumatic. Unforgiven completely turned around for us and became so much more than what it initially was. We fell in love, we felt a strong connection to the characters, their back story, their friendship and we just couldn’t put it down for love nor money.
‘There was never a reason to question anything about who we were to each other…we just were.’
The topics in Unforgiven broke our hearts, but the lads made us smile and laugh despite the ‘ugly cry’ tears. It felt real and we know it actually is, sadly. The dual POV worked well in ensuring we connected and understood where Dean and Jason were coming from and it made Jason’s past much more tangible which ultimately is why our hearts broke. Dean was a powerhouse of compassion, strength and protection despite having the rug completely pulled out from underneath him. There was one scene in particular that broke us and had us reaching for copious tissues.
“I feel like I’m going crazy, Dean. What if I’m never going to be okay?”
As far as gay for you stories go this one was a great read despite the fact that we initially thought it had too much sex and ‘sex talk’, which overshadowed the emotional aspect of the story at times. It was real, raw and very passionate. We felt the friendship and the intense bond between Dean and Jason. The world is still an un-accepting place full of obstacles, prejudices and hatred. But it is getting better, Love Is Love and hopefully one day soon everyone will accept that as a fact and a truth.
“Sometimes our minds and hearts wait until we’re ready.”