Cooper has spent the last three years running from a painful past. He’s currently moving from town to town, working in restaurant kitchens, and playing his violin for tips. As soon as he starts to feel comfortable anywhere—with anyone—he moves on. He’s aware that music may be the only human language he still knows. Ironically, the one man he’s wanted to communicate with in all that time is deaf.
Shawn is part of a deaf theater group at the nearby college. Shawn wants Cooper as soon as they meet and he begins a determined flirtation. Cooper is comfortable with down and dirty sex, just not people. As far as Shawn is concerned, dirty sex is win-win, but he wants Cooper to let him into the rest of his life as well.
Cooper needs time to heal and put his past away for good. Shawn needs to help Cooper forgive himself and accept that he can be loved. Both men find out that when it comes to the kind of healing love can bring, the sleepy beachside town of Santo Ignacio, “St. Nacho’s” as the locals call it, may just be the very best place to start.
(again because it’s prettyyyyy.. )
Cooper is the proverbial man with a past. Technically a drifter for the past three years, the man has been running from life and himself for a lot longer, likely since he started drinking at the tender, impressionable age of fourteen. When he finally wanders into Santo Ignacio and to Nacho’s bar, he’s been on the go for so long, he barely knows how to stay still anymore. However, the bar owner extends Cooper a kindness and allows him to stay in a small studio above the bar in exchange for help around the kitchen. Additionally Cooper is encouraged to play his violin for the patrons most nights for tips. It’s a good situation if only Cooper can hang around long enough to take advantage of it.
Looking to take advantage of Cooper, however, is Shawn, a deaf college student and working at the bar as busboy to make money in between classes. When he meets Cooper, the attraction is instant as is Shawn’s determination to act upon their shared chemistry. Shawn is a delightful contradiction, described by Cooper as angelic looking but in personality, anything but an angel. Shawn throws the stereotype of a nice, disabled boy completely out as he demonstrates he can be just as naughty as Cooper. Although at peace with his lack of hearing, Shawn doesn’t let that hold him back from anything, least of all Cooper.
Cooper is carrying a lot of emotional and physical scars. His past is hinted at early on with a lengthy list of sins he’s participated in, showing the depth of Cooper’s loneliness and misguided choices seeming to have no end. Aside from his deep love of music and his violin, Cooper has no real attachment to anything or anyone, nor is he capable of forming those attachments. He is truly baffled by Shawn’s pursuit and is caught between craving the safety of Shawn’s affection and fearing the ultimate end. Shawn, for his part, is not unaware of the emotional problems and fears Cooper has, yet remains undaunted by them. One of Shawn’s great lines, of which there were many, was his acknowledgment that being with Cooper would never be easy.
“You’re an asshole.” He let out a deep breath. “And you’re going to be a lot of work, aren’t you?”
Yet knowing that, Shawn takes care of Cooper and is determined to love and be loved by him. He refuses to let Cooper go, even when Cooper pulls what has to be regarded as one of the dumbest moves he’s made in a sea of mistakes and runs from Shawn and the bar back to his hometown in a misguided and consuming sense of guilt and responsibility. Cooper’s motives for doing this were difficult to understand and sympathize with until near the end, when Cooper thinks:
I wanted to stay. I wanted to be there and let him lean on me. I wanted to give him my strength, such as it was, and my last drop of blood if that’s what it took.
Although misguided, Cooper’s motives are pure and deeply entrenched in a mixture of love, guilt, need, memories and a feeling of not deserving any better than living a life in regret and remorse. His emotional and physical journey from this point to a belief in his love and life with Shawn are what make the book truly wonderful. From the incredibly well drawn characters to the vivid settings and supporting cast adding a depth and flavor to the story, it definitely lives up to the hype it’s been getting as one of the best stories this year.
As entirely told from Cooper’s point of view, some have mentioned that Shawn’s motives and past remain a mystery and this is certainly true. Very little is revealed about his past or present for that matter, however, to me, this simply sets up the possibility of a sequel for these characters. Shawn’s presence is so vivid and strong that his lack of past wasn’t bothersome and his young age, only twenty-two to Cooper’s twenty-eight, was largely forgettable in light of his maturity and sophistication. Which is not to say he didn’t come out with one of the best lines ever, while having sex with Cooper and convincing the determined submissive Cooper to top him.
“Move,” he said, taking a deep breath. He grinned suddenly and said in that awkward voice of his, “Drive it like you stole it, Cooper.”
Without a doubt, this is a keeper book and guaranteed to delight and enthrall its readers. The author creates a fantastic story of these two men who are nothing like what they seem, yet together are exactly what they need. The sex scenes are steamy but more so, there is very little sex for the sake of sex; often scenes are cut shorter than you see in typical erotica or romance to give weight and focus on the characters and their relationship. The bad title and nod to the history of nachos aside, get this book. Go go – get it HERE.