Title: Final Admission
Author: Sue Brown
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 230 pages
Rating: B List
Blurb: When Ethan Williams lands a job at Bingwell, Brock and Bacon, he realizes his coworkers aren’t exaggerating about James Trenchard. He really is a dick. But after Ethan is forced to work closely with James, he realizes there’s more to the lawyer than meets the eye.
Vibrant Ethan is a desperate reason to live again as James endures silent guilt and abuse from his husband after an accident. He calls Ethan for help after a beating, and stolen moments soon become the norm, but they can’t hide forever.
Ethan’s coworkers think he got his promotion because James is sweet on him, James is still being beaten despite his family’s concern, and the situation is swiftly becoming intolerable. Ethan and James need to find a way out of the cycle that’s hurting them both before their brand new love suffers as well.
1st Edition published by Noble Romance Publishing, December 2011.
Review: This was a complicated book. I am not sure how to classify this book. There is romance and flirting, humor and family, loyalty and love and all forms of devotion. It is emotional and has moments that are deeply painful and depressing. There is domestic abuse that goes on with one of the main characters, who is still married, and the romance is one of infidelity for much of the book. While the actual abuse is not on the page, the bloody aftermath of multiple attacks is.
Anyone who has ever been close to someone who is in an abusive relationship knows the dangers that lurk for anyone who gets anywhere near the situation, in any way. You get pulled into the cycles of abuse and are helpless to do much of anything other than offer support and first aid. Short of police intervention, which is complicated and limited, the only person who can make the decision to end the relationship is the person being abused. They have to choose to live and there is not a thing you can do to change that. This is the tangled web that James and then poor, innocent Ethan find themselves ensnared in.
James is this sharp and stunning force. Everyone speaks his name in italics because he is larger than life and dazzling. People respect him, fear him, and want to make all his flirtations a reality by getting him into their bed. No one would ever believe that the man they see at work who outshines everyone around him is hiding bruises under the immaculately tailored suit. That some of that clever, careful speech was learned by trying to avoid his husbands fists and rage. That he lives in constant fear that this beating might be the one that finally kills him. That he has given up and is waiting and ready for it to be the one that does.
Until Ethan. Ethan who is hope when there had only been resignation. Ethan who demands action from everyone who had been frozen in horror and helplessness. Ethan whose shine can match that of the James Trenchard, and who might even burn bright enough to lead James out of the dark.
Ethan is young, sweet, charming and brilliant. He’s a big guy from the midwest with loving parents who raised him to be a good man. He is fair and honest, kind and genuine. He works hard and is respectful and helpful. He was completely lost in the insane mess that was James’ situation. He white knighted as hard as he could, but nothing he did could make James stop going back to get hurt again. Having grown up to be big he was conditioned to be careful of people and things and he can’t understand the intentional breaking of that essential rule. Being with James changes him, fundamentally.
This is not an easy read. There were times where I felt like there was more than one book occurring at the same time, the alternating realities of terrible abuse and love story and friendship and young buck making his mark at the new firm. Maybe that was the point, that there is more than just one aspect of life, that everything is happening at once and we are all trying to make our way through it. That we can fear and love someone at the same time. That we can sparkle to hide unimaginable pain. That we can despair and fall in love in the same breath. That there is always hope.
The love story is sweet and fun. They flirt and play and are so hot for each other that you can feel the heat coming off the page. They really do love each other and are amazingly devoted, as much as they can be for much of the story. I wanted them to find their happy ending so badly.
This book won’t be for everyone. It will not sit easy. It might leave you baffled and unsure of what you think about anything for a while. Maybe that was also the point. It is okay for things to be that way, it might even be essential. If we never question, if we never allow discomfort, if we look away from the pain and struggle in other people, can we ever grow? If it makes it easier, they do find their happy ending, it’s not perfect, but they do get to shine together.
Reviewed by Nina