Friday, February 22, 2013

Black Hawk Tattoo

Author: Aundrea Singer
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-62380-280-6
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Twenty-two year old Gabriel Navarro is a busy guy. He’s trying to complete his master’s degree while working in a tattoo shop. He’s a talented artist who never expects his life to change with the appearance of one new client, but that’s exactly what happens. When Iraqi war veteran Jake MacLean walks into his tattoo parlor wanting a special tattoo, Gabe’s world is turned upside down.

Jake has a severe case of survivor’s guilt and he struggles daily to deal with his emotions. His life is a mess. After being discharged from a military hospital in the United States, he moved to Toronto to be with his sister, in hopes of straightening out his life. But he won’t talk about his troubles or see a counselor and when he begins seeing Gabe, he’s worried that his panic attacks will interfere with their growing relationship. As his condition worsens, Jake’s fears his anger will spill over and he’ll hurt the one he cares about the most—Gabe.

Because of the PTSD Jake deals with in the story, I was initially reluctant to read Black Hawk Tattoo. The subject matter of the mental health of our military servicemen seemed too depressing a topic for a romance but the realistic way it unfolds—it totally works. Yes, the issue is difficult and makes the plot heavy and filled with angst but it’s also an eye-opening look into the lives of those suffering from this very real problem. I’m so glad I decided to take a chance on this heart-heavy story.

Since I’ve never read anything by Ms. Singer, I wasn’t certain what to expect from this unfamiliar author. I needn’t have worried. She takes this serious subject and turns it into a compelling story, easily integrating the tough subjects of survivor’s guilt, family, flashbacks, trust, fear, anger, and alcoholism. She then mixes these together with two vastly dissimilar men and makes their relationship work. Yes, it’s difficult at times for Gabe because of Jake’s PTSD but that’s the reality of their life together and hot sex and love can’t fix it. It takes work and time. I’ll be reading this one again in the future.

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