elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Wicked Hearts by Claire Thompson

The starting point of the story is a classical cliche: two men bet on the chance one of them has to seduce someone else in a week. And obviously the one doing the bet falls in love for the intended victim.

Reese and Hank have an odd relationship. Reese was a troubled guy, changing foster home with foster home for all his teen years. When he was 17 years old he met Hank, the misfit of the high school; where Reese was tagged "bad boy" for his poor origins, Hank was another type, he was the spoiled brat son of two uncaring and too rich parents. Reese was also struggling with the new found discovery that he was gay and Hank was willing and experienced enough to help him through that knowledge. Even if Reese is apparently a strong and independent man, he is really someone who prefers to be lead by a stronger partner, and he was like that also as a teenager. Hank fulfilled that need, and it was a perfect relationship since on the other hand, Hank needed to be the leader. Where Reese had not a supporting family and strong parents figures to take example from, Hank had not them either, since even if his parents were present, they were almost non existent. Reese and Hank together built an odd family to replace the one they hadn't, and for many years it was a good substitute. But as children do, Reese grew up confident and even if later than other boys, he has now realized that he needs something more and different in his life, and if he sticks with Hank he will never find it.

When Reese accepts one more of the twisted bet he usually does with Hank, in a way it is to add a step more far from him: the money he will gain will serve to pay his way out from Hank's clutches. The man they choose, Jeff, is apparently a shy geek tech guy who works in the same firm of Reese. Even if Reese starts to feel guilty for his actions, he thinks that, if Jeff doesn't know of the bet, no one will suffer from it. But during their night together, Jeff reveals a strong will, a domineering attitude, that pulls some hidden strings inside Reese. Reese realizes that he has probably found the right man for him.

Jeff is a bit of a contradiction: he is apparently shy and nerd type, but he is stronger than expected. Actually he himself doesn't know how strong he is. Jeff's origins are average, not big trauma in his youth other than his stuttering problem that maybe made him shier than the other boy his own age. Then college and a bad relationship that didn't do good to his self-esteem. But again, the hidden strength of Jeff made his first appearance, he moved to another city and to a new life. That same strength serves him right during his first encounter with Reese, since it's this attitude of Jeff that makes him someone special, someone who is able to break the strings that bound Reese to Hank.

With some up and down, the story between Jeff and Reese is good for both of them, they complete each other. Even if I'm happy for them, something inside me prevented to be fully satisfied, since I really felt for Hank. True, he behaves like a spoiled brat to whom someone stole his favorite toy, but there is a moment, when he realized that he was losing Reese for good, that I understood that he was scared. I really hope that the author will take him again for another story, this time the story where also Hank will find the right man for him.

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Tags: author: claire thompson, genre: contemporary, length: novella, review, theme: office affairs

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