Wild Child #1 Jesse's Saga
- Halfway to Someday
Rocker Jesse Winters just wants to be left alone. If he could melt into oblivion he would and bid farewell to the wild child of rock n’ roll so many have dubbed him in recent months. Truth is, there was never anything reckless, wild or even deliberate about most of the things that had happened on Wild Child’s last tour, but had anyone cared to listen? No! Which was precisely why he was sitting in a cabin high up in the Colorado mountains, hoping the incoming blizzard would bury him forever.
Ryker Jorgensen left the VA hospital with a bunch of prescriptions and pamphlets on how to deal with reentering the civilian world, not that he’s in any hurry to do so. His nightmares still keep him up at night, and every new limitation he discovers gives him more reason to believe that he’s hopelessly useless now. Better to drive up to his cousin’s cabin and lick his wounds. Come spring, maybe, he’d look into being around people, if only for long enough to make the kind of money he’d need to buy his own secluded place.
The last thing he ever expected to see was the man whose face had been plastered in his footlocker and his dreams for the better part of the past six years, but Jesse Winters is nothing like he imagined. When trying to leave Ryker out in the storm doesn’t work, Jesse resorts to ignoring him. But two wounded souls trapped in a snowed in cabin have little choice but to reach out for one another when emotions get frayed. His only hope is that Jesse will trust him enough to let him drag him back from the edge before he’s just another burned out star in the legacy that is rock n’ roll.
Publisher: Ninestar Press
Heat Level: 2
Romantic Content: 2
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Bad Breakup, Badass Hero, Bodyguard/Guardian Angel, Coming Home, Famous / Not Famous, Hurt / Comfort, Trapped Together
Word Count: 86000
Setting: Colorado Cabin during snowstorm and Coastal Maine
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Knocking loudly, Ryker shivered, pulling his coat tighter around him as he waited. He was about to knock again when the door swung open to reveal wary green eyes in a too-pale face framed by dark, cascading waves of blond hair. Ryker blinked, stunned at the outright hostility that pulled the man’s lips down into a scowl, his trim beard and mustache only serving to emphasize it more. His wrinkled long-sleeved T-shirt was backward and inside out, and it twisted near the waistline, revealing a swath of pale abs. It looked as though he’d hastily donned it on his way to the door.
“Pretty sure you’re at the wrong cabin,” the guy growled, moving to shut the door in Ryker’s face. Slamming his hand against it kept Ryker from being left out in the cold.READ MORE
“Even if it’s the wrong cabin, which I don’t think it is, there’s a storm coming, in case you hadn’t noticed, so I think I’ll just come in out of it, thanks.” Ryker took a step forward and trying to wedge through the opening. The other man held firm, however, and they stood there glaring at each other.
“Look,” the man snapped, “you could be a psycho or a serial killer for all I know, so you ain’t getting in here. I’ve got enough problems without accidentally ending up dead.”
Ryker felt the impatience radiating off the other man, which was fine by him; he was getting pretty goddamned impatient and cold himself.
“You look—” Ryker retorted, studying the guy more intently through bleary, snow-clouded eyes. Something about him looked really damned familiar. “’ve been on the road for hours. It’s fucking cold out here, and it’s snowing buckets. I’m supposed to be at my cousin’s cabin, which the GPS says is right here. So here I am, and I’ve got no intention of driving anywhere until the shit lets up. My cousin’s name is Kyle—”
Jesse couldn’t believe this shit. When he saw Kyle, he was gonna choke him to death with his own bass strings.
“Morrison,” Jesse finished with a sigh. “Yeah, this is his cabin, though it’s supposed to be my cabin for the next four months. I fuckin’ told him when he offered it that I was coming up alone and had plans to stay that way. So why the hell would he send you?”
“Maybe because not everything is about you. I just ended my eighth tour overseas, called Kyle, and told him that the VA clinic said I needed a quiet place to reacclimate before I start mixing with people again. The way this weather is, I doubt he’d have been able to reach you if you’ve even got a phone turned on. Now, if you don’t mind, we can have the rest of this conversation inside where it’s warm.” Ryker shoved his way inside the cabin.
Jesse stepped back and watched the snow drifting off the larger man, onto the hardwood, slowly beginning to thaw even as new snow blew in from the outside. Between the layers of clothing and the sheer height of the man, he loomed over Jesse, even as he shook the snow from his scarf and hung it on the hook beside the door. Jesse glanced between him, the storm, and the snow slowly covering his vehicle. As much as he wanted to, there was no way he could run right now. Finally, Jesse grumbled, closed the door and stalked over to the drawer in the kitchen where he’d tossed his phone when he first arrived. Of course it was dead, which meant a ton of cussing as he yanked out the charger and fished around for the cord before plugging it in. Fidgeting, he paced as much as the cord would allow as he dialed Kyle’s number, watching the snow-covered man out of the corner of his eye. The guy had taken his cap off, put his duffel down, and was unbuttoning his coat, looking for all the world like he intended to stay. Jesse couldn’t suppress a groan when the guy stood beside the couch, his eyes boring holes through Jesse. Jesse cursed as he listened to the phone ringing, a long string of expletives, the tail end of which greeted Kyle when he answered the phone.
“Yeah, well, hello to you too,” Kyle grumbled, sounding as if he’d been sleeping.
“Fuck hello,” Jesse spat, still pacing, rummaging in the cupboard now for a bottle of whiskey and a shot glass. “You’re fuckin’ cousin just showed up here and—”
“Hey!” Kyle snapped, effectively cutting off Jesse’s tirade. “That’s my family you’re talking about; have some fuckin’ respect. Now, if you would have answered your damned phone when I tried to reach you, you’d have known Ryker was coming.”
“What the fuck, Kyle! I told you I was coming up here to be alone and write some fuckin’ music; if I had known you were gonna pull this shit, I would’ve made reservations somewhere.”
“First of all, nowhere you could have made any reservations is as secluded as that cabin, and secondly, Ryker didn’t call me until after you were already there, and frankly, he needs the solitude far more than you do. So, if you’ve got a problem sharing, you can pack your shit and drive down after the storm.”
“You’re seriously kicking me out of here? Where the fuck am I supposed to go?”
“Home, which you have. My cousin doesn’t, so get over yourself, Jesse. If you leave, it’s your choice, but Ryker is staying; now put him on the phone.”
“Now, Jesse,” Kyle barked.
“He wants to talk to you,” Jesse said as he held the phone out for Ryker. As soon as Ryker took it, Jesse tried to pour, hands trembling so much he spilled a little over the side. Ryker frowned as he watched. If it was anyone else he’d have made a joke about it being alcohol abuse, but it was clear the guy wouldn’t appreciate his efforts at humor. The guy downed it in a single gulp and poured a second, less shaky that time around, but he tossed it back just as fast, then poured a third. Great, a drunk.
“Hey, man.” Ryker was unable to keep the exhaustion from his voice.
“It’s good to hear your voice,” Kyle told him. “Did the trip go okay? I was getting really worried when I didn’t hear from you. The weather channels are all saying the storms are pretty rough up there.”
“It was all good, right until the ending,” Ryker grumbled.
“Sorry about that. Jesse isn’t usually such an asshole.”
Jesse Winters. It suddenly clicked exactly where he’d seen that exotically handsome face and all those tattoos. He hadn’t been able to take his eyes off them since the man answered the door. They’d been on all the CDs and magazine articles Kyle had sent him, several of which had secretly become jerk-off material. Funny, but right now there was nothing attractive about those furious green eyes or the haggard look on his scruffy face.
“Excuse me, if I don’t take your word for it,” Ryker countered.
Kyle’s chuckle could be heard through the phone. “Look, I already told him that if he had problems sharing the place with you, he should take off as soon as the roads are clear. There are two bedrooms, so stay as long as you need. Hopefully, I can come up to see you soon.”
“Didn’t mean to cause any issues. I sure don’t want to be the source of any problems within your band.”
Kyle’s bitter laughter resonated through the phone, unmistakable in Ryker’s ear. “And you’re not; that ship’s already sailed, big time, so don’t worry about it. The cabin has plenty of room, and to be honest, Jesse should be thanking you for your service to this country instead of trying to kick you out in a storm.”
“Right now, I’d settle for him being polite and not giving me shit, at least not until after I’ve thrown together a meal.”
“If he gives you shit, toss his ass in a snowbank. Just…umm…make sure he doesn’t freeze to death. I’d hate to lose my best friend.”
“No offense, but your best friend is a dick.”
“Yeah, he can be. Now do me a favor and put the dick back on the phone. I’ll talk to you again soon. I’m just glad you finally made it back home safe.”
“Thanks, man,” Ryker replied, wishing it were his cousin he’d found in the cabin. A game of cards and a couple of shots of whiskey sounded amazing right now, but he was certain Jesse wouldn’t be up for sharing his booze or playing a game.
“Here,” Ryker said as he held the phone out to Jesse, who practically snatched it from his hand.
“Hey—” Jesse began, only to get cut off again.
“Don’t talk. Just listen,” Kyle hissed. “Ryker just got out of the hospital. He almost died. He watched three of his buddies die. Now, I know you wanted to be alone, but whatever bullshit you’ve got going on don’t amount to shit compared to what he’s been through. As my friend, I’m asking you to stick around. I don’t really think Ryker should be up there all on his own. I can’t stop you if you’ve got it in your head to leave, but I’m hoping you’ll act like the man I know you are instead of the ass you’ve been acting like for the past year.”
And as abruptly as the conversation began, Kyle ended it. The only goodbye Jesse received was that of the dial tone drowning in his ear.
“Fuck!” Jesse yelled and pitched his phone at the wall hard enough to shatter it. Stalking over to the table, Jesse poured himself another shot and then downed four more before finally capping the bottle.
“I only brought provisions for one,” Jesse finally grumbled.
“Then it’s a good thing I stopped on my way up here and grabbed my own,” Ryker retorted.
Jesse nodded, groaned, and stood, wrote cell phone on the chalkboard, then took his bottle and shot glass and stalked from the room.COLLAPSE
Angel Hatfield on Amazon wrote:
Jesse Winters is a rock star with some issues he can’t get past. It’s taking its toll on him, his band mates, and his ability to perform or write songs. Jesse just wants to be alone, and one of his band mates, Kyle, sends Jesse to his secluded cabin in the woods. While he’s there, Jesse pretty much hits rock bottom. He’s been a cutter for most of his life, but now he begins to imagine what it would be like if he just cut too long and too deep. Maybe being gone is the only way he can get some peace.
Ryker Jorgenson is a wounded veteran and he’s just left the hospital. He’s plagued by nightmares and depression. Ryker needs some alone time before he rejoins society, so his cousin, Kyle offers him use of the cabin. Kyle has been trying to call Jesse to let him know Ryker is coming, but he’s turned his phone off. Kyle had intended to evict Jesse so Ryker could stay there.
Jesse decides he’s going to leave, but he doesn’t get far. There’s a huge snowstorm and he can’t get down the mountain. Reluctantly, he returns to the cabin where he’s determined to ignore Ryker. However, the close quarters makes that nearly impossible. Gradually, the men begin to confide in each other, become closer, rely on each other, and eventually, fall in love.
Not everything goes smoothly, though. Jesse has an ex who abused him and he’s stalking him. When it becomes violent, Ryker takes matters in his own hands and does everything he can to protect the man he loves. Can Ryker help Jesse? Or will Jesse become a victim to his ex all over again?
I loved this book, and I’m going to tell you why, but first I do feel the need to make you aware of some trigger warnings. There are detailed images of cutting, thoughts of suicide, PTSD, terrible nightmares, and descriptions of horrific abuse by an ex who has also become a violent stalker. Admittedly, the first half of Halfway to Someday was difficult to read, so readers should be prepared.
With all that being said, I’m going to give you my feelings on this amazing story. When I chose this book, I thought it was going to be just another cute snowbound story. Two men, who are opposites, stuck together and angry about it…until they realize they’re attraction and act upon it. Instead, I got a deeply emotional book about two very broken men who seem hopeless in the face of all they’ve been through. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved Halfway to Someday.
Layla Dorine is a new author to me, and wow…I’m so impressed! She is able to grab the reader and immerse them into the world she’s created. I read the book from beginning to end without stopping. I was completely enthralled, and I felt as if I had a personal stake in the lives of Jesse and Ryker. I loved them instantly and wanted to just reach through my Kindle and embrace them. What they were going through individually felt so…real.
The character development was spot on. Jesse and Ryker weren’t just thrust into the story, ready to fall in love (or into bed). Each man is painstakingly fleshed out with small details that never felt unnecessary. I never felt overwhelmed or buried in every little piece of their lives. To me, this is a perfect example of the skill of the author. The way Jesse and Ryker slowly found themselves falling for each other was compelling. When I say “slowly,” I mean it. Through the first half, their relationship was a slow burn. They began to reveal things about themselves, sometimes reluctantly, to each other. This is the complete opposite of an insta-love situation. Eventually, they begin to actually need each other. I felt privileged to be a part of it.
There are a few background characters in Halfway to Someday. I mentioned Kyle, Ryker’s cousin and Jesse’s band mate. There is also Tish and Griffin, the other band members. They’re not very nice to Jesse, and I really wasn’t crazy about them at all. Next, there is Dakota and Keegan. They’re also former soldiers and friends with Ryker. They are brought in to be bodyguards for Jesse. I liked them very much. They were serious about their tasks, but they’re also a bit humorous. It’s a nice balance. Finally, there’s Troy. Evil Troy. He’s Jesse’s ex. Troy abused Jesse badly…physically, emotionally, and psychologically. He eventually turns into a stalker who is violent and cruel…and written perfectly. I hated him with such a passion. Nobody messes with my Jesse (and Ryker’,s of course) and gets away with it. His end is quick and just, and such a relief.
Speaking of ends, Halfway to Someday ties up neatly and exactly as it should be. Jesse and Ryker’s HEA is hard fought and hard won, and I think it’s perfect. I wish I could properly convey how amazing this book is. I think you really have to read it yourself to understand. I highly recommend this one, and since it is the first in a new series, I’m excited to see where it goes.
Angie on Wicked Reads wrote:
Jesse wasn’t sure he’d ever climb up on stage again. His fingers itched to touch his guitar but what was the point in creating anything the way his bandmates had turned their backs on him. Tish said to him” Way to go.” Jess replied “You think I ruined the concert on purpose?” “What are we supposed to think ? “ she spat. They knew him, how deeply he loved the music, how it was all he had aside from them, and yet…. Jess was in his best friend and bandmate’s -Kyle-cabin using his blade to cut himself. There was no one left to believe him. Why keep fighting. Ryker was driving to the cabin. Heavy white snow belted his windshield. He finally saw the cabin and pulled over and set his head on the wheel but had a horrible flashback but the wind was so bad it rocked the truck throwing Ryker out of the past. Perhaps giving in would make life easier give himself over to the cold. Jesse opened the door scowling at Ryker and said, ``I think you have the wrong cabin.” Ryker let him know he was coming in. Ryker said he was suppose to be at his cousins cabin and the GPS said it was right here. Then he said his cousins name was Kyle.
When jesse saw Kyle he was going to choke him with his own bass strings. Jesse than said this was supposed to be his cabin for the next four months. Ryker said maybe everything isn’t about you I just ended my eighth tour overseas and called Kyle and told him the V A clinic said ryker needed a quiet place to reacclimate before he started mixing with people again. There was no way Jesse could run right now. Kyle told Jesse Ryker almost died and watched three of his buddies die. “Whatever bull poop you got going on is nothing compared to what he’s been through. As my friend I’m asking you to stick around. I don’t think Ryker should be alone. I can’t stop you if you go but I hope you’ll be the man I know you are.” Ryker than knew why he felt like he had seen this man before. Kyle had sent him a bunch of articles and ryker was very attracted to Jesse that he saw from the articles. Jesse remembered how he’d forgave troy the first time he’d hit Jesse. Jesse hid the bruises with makeup. Jesse never thought love could hurt so bad or leave you so broken.
I love this book. Usually I don’t care for M/M or F/F romances. But this was well done so tastefully and the way it was written was absolutely beautiful. I loved Jesse and Ryker together and how they interacted. I loved Jesse helped Ryker and Ryker helped Jesse. There was so much emotion in this book. This book had PTSD, suicidal thoughts, love, learning to trust again, a rock star, a veteran with issues, an abused person, cutting, nightmares, a violent stalker, snowed in a cabin, and so much more. This was so much more than I thought it would be. I couldn’t put this book down I loved the characters and the ins and outs of this book and I highly recommend this.
This book was hard for me to get through. It wasn't because of the subject matter though. I thought the author did a great job describing what Jesse and Ryker both went through. I just think the author could have cut the book down a little bit because things were said multiple times and I was getting bored. At first, I thought this was going to be your typical story about two guys stuck in a snowstorm who eventually fall in love. It was not what I expected. I loved Ryker instantly; Jesse, on the other hand, was a bit much for me. The story was good, but the ending was rushed, and I want to know more about how Jesse and Ryker are now, maybe we'll see them in the next book?
Part of the same universe as Desolation Angel, Gypsy's Rogue, Dust Trail Blues, Tripping over the Edge of Night and Guitars and Cages. Characters from previous books to appear in upcoming books in series.