Originally posted @BMBR on July 28, 2017
Tag Team with Sara
I was drawn to this book. Not because I’m a runner (unless I’m being chased). No, it was the angsty premise with the reclusive MC that had me all caveman; MINE!
376 steps was all it took to change his world. Matt is a recluse living out in the middle of nowhere coping day to day in isolation. He has been merely surviving for 13 years since he was assaulted at the age of 16 without friends or family. Matt struggles with PTSD and OCD so each day is scheduled and always predictable until a runner passes his land in 376 steps. The runner continues to run by his property at the same time each day; back and forth. This unforeseeable situation throws Matt’s peaceful day into chaos. Matt calls his brother Clay, the sheriff and demands he speak to the runner to get him away from his property. Unfortunately for Matt, Clay is extremely worried about his mental health and unless Matt approaches the runner, Clay is threatening to have him placed in a treatment facility. To prove he is fine, Matt is required to make an approach and learn his name within a week. That’s it, simple right? Not for Matt. After putting the moment off as long as possible, Matt makes an approach and meets Charlie.
Charlie is a writer that moved from New York to Fall Harbor for peace. Along with writing, he works at the local library in town. Charlie enjoyed running and is intrigued by the mysterious man who watches him each day. Once Matt makes his approach, a slow and tentative friendship begins to form. Charlie is able to slowly insert himself into the very fabric of Matt’s carefully constructed world. Matt began to need Charlie to run by each day. His very presence was a soothing balm to Matt’s terror, anxiety and fear. Charlie’s simple touch grew more effective than Matt’s previous ritualistic coping methods. Charlie became the calm in Matt’s raging storm.
I liked Matt and Charlie together. Charlie had a calm sincerity that put Matt at ease. I really liked the authentic way the author handled Matt’s struggles. There wasn’t a quick fix for him. Those that struggle with OCD, PTSD, etc., face a lifetime battle. Matt had a difficult time adapting and it wasn’t glossed over. Keeping in mind the obstacles Matt faced and his fear of being touched, their physical relationship reflected that fear and showed care in each milestone Matt was able to accomplish. Charlie was extremely patient and perfect.
A little too perfect.
The sugar laced words kept going on and on after 50%. The first 50% of the story I was totally digging it as Matt was beginning to accept something new in his life and the last 50% hit some potholes. It wasn’t insta-love but it wasn’t too far off either. I’m not quite sure where the love came from. We were cruising along on the very-little-interaction-and-watching-Charlie-run expressway and then BAM it’s love. Come again? Color me confused. The MCs were also a weeee bit dramatic at times which also played into the sugarfest going on. Another minor issue I had was the treatment of Matt when he was 16. After meeting with his psychologist and Dr. Rob asking about the assault one time, Matt decided he wasn’t going back and although it didn’t go over well at home, the issue was eventually dropped and Matt as a 16 year old stopped living. Another pothole in the story was only having Matt’s POV. Charlie lacked depth beyond him being a writer and doing everything he could to accommodate Matt. We missed out on what makes Charlie, Charlie.
I’d like to give a shoutout to Clay, Matt’s brother. It’s a damn cryin’ shame he is straight. I could totally get on board with a gay for you story line with his bossy copper self and another male MC. I really liked how much he loved Matt, pushed him and was always there for him.
All in all it was a decent read. If you like sugarfests in your romance, this book may be for you. Please excuse me while I make a dentist appointment to fix all these newly acquired cavities.
“Today you can’t. Tomorrow might be another story. Every day brings new adventures, so don’t worry about today, when tomorrow is around the corner.”
Copy provided for honest review.