Monday, December 4, 2017

Fragile Ground by Louisa Keller: #Review #KindleUnlimited

Fragile Ground
by Louisa Keller

Genres: Contemporary, Gay (M/M), Romance
Length: 205 pages

“Sorry, do I know you?” 

The last thing Olivier Sauveterre remembers, he was a closeted college senior, balancing furtive hookups with writing his thesis. But when a nasty car accident robs him of two years of memories, he finds himself thousands of miles from home, covered in tattoos, living with a man he doesn’t recognize. Gorgeous and enigmatic, Auriel is just Olivier’s type—but it’s clear there’s a big secret his supposed “housemate” isn’t telling him. 

“We’re not just roommates; you’re the love of my life.” 

Auriel Floros loves everything about his life: his job, his overgrown garden, and most all, his boyfriend Olivier. Quick-witted and fiercely passionate, Olivier is the perfect partner…up until he forgets who Auriel is. Suddenly, their happily ever after shatters before Auriel’s eyes. But medical professionals warn Auriel to keep Olivier’s stress level at a minimum, and Auriel makes the heart-breaking decision to pretend he and Olivier were friends and housemates—nothing more. 

“You still know how to love me…I’ll remind you.” 

Auriel misses his boyfriend desperately, longing for the easy intimacy and scorching sex they shared before the accident. Olivier can’t help gravitating toward Auriel, charmed by his patience and the elaborate home-cooked meals he prepares for Olivier each night. Over bowls of chili and late night talks, Olivier finds himself unable to resist digging into their shared history and trying to find out what makes Auriel seems so mysterious and sad. It’s hard to keep a secret when you’re living in the same house, and heartbreak seems inevitable as tension builds between them. Ultimately they have to work together to rebuild Olivier’s life, and in the process they find themselves on fragile ground. 

Fragile Ground is a contemporary MM romance with plenty of heat, hurt/comfort and second chance themes, and a guaranteed happy ending.

Auriel starts to reach toward Olivier, an aborted gesture that falters as he seems to realize his touch won’t be well-received. Olivier raises his eyebrows. “You’re upset,” Auriel says finally.

“I’m not upset,” Olivier snaps. “I’m confused. I have no idea how I became a completely different person in a couple of years.”

“You’re not a completely different person,” says Auriel. “You weren’t, I mean. You evolved naturally, over time.”

Olivier glares at Auriel. “Why didn’t you tell me that we were together?” It comes out more aggressively than he intended. Because now they have arrived at the heart of the issue. The fierce momentum of the conversation screeches to a halt, and they eyeball each other, assessing.

Finally, Auriel says, “I didn’t think it would be fair.”

“Um, yeah, no, I would say fair is out the window with this whole situation. There’s got to be more to it than that.”

It takes a moment for Auriel to gather his thoughts. A range of emotions play across his face, and he starts cracking his knuckles.

“Gross,” mutters Olivier, although he’s not actually bothered.

That draws a small smile out of Auriel. “You’ve always given me shit for doing that,” he says. The words are almost unbearably fond. They make something in Olivier’s chest ache.

“Well, I’m assuming you didn’t get together with me because of my sparkling personality.”

Auriel makes a noncommittal noise before pushing on with his explanation. “You’ve gone through a lot in the last couple of years. I mean, like you said, you moved three thousand miles away and got two full sleeves. But you also came out to your family. You’re in the process of applying for a PhD program in Continental Philosophy. You write for an independent queer website and you love Pride weekend. I’m pretty sure you actually adore the rainbow boxers Hattie got you as a gag gift for your birthday last year.” He looks right at Olivier; intensity sizzles through the air between them. Olivier doesn’t necessarily recognize himself in Auriel’s words, but nothing he is saying seems out of the realm of possibility. That is, until Auriel adds, “and you fell in love with me, so there’s that.”

“Wait, back up, I did what now?” asks Olivier.

“We aren’t…we weren’t casual, Olivier.” The sound of his name coming out of Auriel’s mouth overwhelms Olivier. He can’t look away from Auriel. 

“How, um, how serious were we?” Olivier isn’t sure he wants to hear the answer.

 Auriel considers him for a moment. “I guess I can’t speak for you. You wrote a lot about our relationship for work, I can pull up those articles if you want. But as far as I’m concerned, you’re it for me.”

Olivier’s breath catches in his throat. He’s torn between panic and some emotion he can’t identify. He wants to scoff and dismiss Auriel’s words. He wants to walk right out the door and never come back. He wants to kiss this man who so clearly cares for him, kiss him until they can’t breath, until they are lost in each other.

5 of 5 stars

Thought provoking and heartbreakingly beautiful, Fragile Ground is about choosing to live for love when unimaginable loss is the cost of failure. Read this with a box of tissues.

A Kindle Unlimited Review.

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