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Friday, September 14, 2012

Brandon Shire -- Afflicted

Rating: 4½ stars

I was already a fan of Brandon Shire's, but after reading Afflicted I find myself even more enamoured of his storytelling.

In this story—and I'm very glad to know that there will be at least one more Dillon and Hunter story—I found Shire's descriptiveness really helped me to experience just how it is that Hunter, as a blind man, how he lives in, and comes to understand, a visual world.

The words used by those of us who see would not work, at all, in this story. We're immersed in Hunter's mind and it makes perfect sense that it is his senses of smell, of touch, of spatial acuity, of hearing that allow him to function in a world for the sighted. I felt as though a new world had opened up, and I'm still marvelling at how it feels so real.

On top of Shire's ability to take us into the mind of someone whose life experience is, partially, that as a blind person, the romance between Dillon and Hunter thrilled my romantic heart. Their connection was immediate, their attraction powerful; so much so that they would both, at times, doubt that what they were feeling was real, never mind reciprocated.

Their inner struggles in dealing with what had led them each to their present place in time were visceral and, especially with Dillon, often very painful. One may think that it is the blind man who suffers more but, in my opinion, it is Dillon who has far more to overcome.

Once again, Brandon Shire intrigued me and kept me glued to the pages as I read his book. Afflicted is sexy—and very HOT—but it's also heartwarming and life-affirming. It's about family—and not always the version we want it to be—and friends; it's about discovering who you are, who others see you as, and learning to live life on your own terms. Brandon Shire's Afflicted while leaving us with unanswered questions—and oh, how curious I am to get the answers!—did ultimately leave me feeling very satisfied with the ending. But it also left me wanting much more—I want to know what's going to happen next, and what's going to happen further on down the road. And I'm going to have to wait.

But I know that, in the end, it will be worth every frustrating second's wait; and that's not something I can, or will, often say about a story with a cliff-hanger ending.
Further, 10% of all Brandon Shire's book sales will be donated to two organisations that specifically focus on getting LGBT kids off the street—a most worthy cause!
Book information:
Afflicted by Brandon Shire
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance
Length: 133 PDF pages

A high priced male escort and a blind gay man meet by chance. What ensues is a hot, steamy romance between two men looking for something more than a one night stand. But can they reach beyond their own insecurities to grasp what they really desire?

Meet Hunter Stephens. He’s gay, tall, dark haired, and he’s hot. Very hot. But he doesn’t rely on the visual cues when appraising a man because he’s also blind. He listens to the timbre of their voice, trembles at the touch of their skin, and luxuriates in the deep richness of the aroma of man. He’s hard of the hand because he’s a black belt and takes no shit, but soft of the heart because he’s lonely and has been for a while.
Until he meets Dillon.

Dillon Chambers is straight man candy. He’s a high priced male escort that works with an exclusive agency who handles only the wealthiest of clients. But it wasn’t always like that for him. At sixteen he was thrown out of the house for being gay and struggled to survive, turning tricks on the street and finding food and a place to sleep wherever he could. He met two people that changed his life, but he has never met anyone who could change his heart.

Until he bumped into Hunter.

And now they are both Afflicted.

Brandon's website:

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