Acceleration (Impulse #2), Amelia C Gormley
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Contemporary, Possible Sero-discordant Relationship, Dominance, Trilogy
Length: 192 Pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
When Gavin’s hands were on him, nothing else mattered. When Gavin’s hands were on him, the day when Gavin’s final test came back was a lifetime away, and the results were irrelevant. When Gavin’s hands were on him, Derrick could let go and just be.
This book is just so beautiful, so heartfelt, painted so vividly real, and a lot of other words that I could throw into the mix that simply mean this – I loved it. Maybe that’s all I need to write for this review. I think that probably isn’t really a review, more an overall feeling about the book…but not why. So, I will try to give the reasons why.
Acceleration picks up right where Inertia left off. It is the Monday after Derrick and Gavin’s weekend together, one where they were intimate, and neither is wanting to say goodbye. There is a continuation of the newness of a relationship finding its way – the lust, the excitement, the uncertainty.
The acceleration of their relationship is a HUGE step for Derrick. For a man who has been on his own for a decade. Who has been self-reliant and celibate for a long time to suddenly start to need someone –
His own insatiability frightened him. He didn’t want to need someone.
Suddenly they are moving ahead to being in each others lives every day –
By Friday evening, Derrick’s house had acquired a French press of its own, as well as an electric tea kettle. A second toothbrush had taken up semi-permanent residence in his bathroom….
Actually contemplating/bringing someone into his life, his heart; the house he grew up in from fourteen with all the ghosts of the past that are there –
How far did he really want to bring Gavin into his life? At what point did dalliance become more.
I must add that the sex in this book is off the charts hot. Gavin is dominant in the bedroom and he takes Derrick over the edge and releases him time and again. He uses dirty talk, a degree of pain, and he is commanding. He knows what he likes and it is a bonus that Derrick likes it too. He allows Derrick to feel free of responsibility in a way he has never experienced before –
“My turn. Up on your knees, on the floor.” Startled by the abrupt transition, Derrick tried to make his arms and legs obey. As he rolled to his knees beside the bed, Gavin fingered the throbbing bite marks on his neck. He asked softly, “Are you mine? These marks say you are.” Still panting, Derrick nodded, swallowing hard, “Yes.”
“And since you’re mine, I can do anything I want with you, can’t I?”
“Yes,” he repeated, licking his lips. “Please.”
It is delicious and never just sex for the sake of it, it is purposeful and erotic and you know it’s always meaningful between them. If you like a bit of a kink and some dirty talk then this should suit –
He writhed in a torment of mortified pride, and Gavin pushed into him. “Listen to yourself,” Gavin repeated, panting in his ear. “Even after what I just called you, you’re still dying for it. You know how to stop me but you won’t.”
But you know that Gavin is conflicted, too. In Inertia, Derrick noticed the impact Gavin’s ex, Lukas’, text messages had on Gavin. And the repercussions of that abusive and dangerous relationship still linger in Acceleration – HIV results still pending included. The reader, and Derrick, get to meet Lukas when Gavin is out of town, and Gavin asks Derrick to be at his place when Lukas comes by to collect a painting –
He wanted to see who had turned the man who could melt Derrick with a few growled commands into a wraith who flinched each time he received a text message. Gavin flinched less and growled more these days but it was a slow process….
He’s not on page much, but when he is you can see what a bastard he is. I have to say that the way Derrick handled Lukas was perfect for me. I have nothing but admiration for Derrick and for Ms Gormley’s writing of him. It could have been a big drama-ridden-doubt-fest but the author stood true to her characters – in this case a mature, thirty one year old man, who is pretty calm in nature – and made a very good story even better because of it.
Yes, Acceleration is about the impact letting Gavin in has on Derrick’s life – not just the fact that he isn’t sure of how to be in a relationship, but how others behave towards him – Derrick’s hockey league team members do not react well. He’s always just been ‘single Derrick,’ now he has a partner. A male partner. Derrick has never been closeted – just private – he hasn’t seen fit to tell anyone what his sexual orientation is. It’s no one’s business but his own. It just is and he sees no reason why it should be a big deal. Gavin explains that there may be fallout from homophobic teammates who will think that Derrick has been secretly scoping them out in the change rooms (etc) all these years. There are repercussions from this but Derrick is naïve, he hides angry teammate texts from Gavin when they arrive, not because he is dishonest but because he takes responsibility again and again for everything. He feels Gavin has enough on his plate. He simply doesn’t know how to tell someone things they might want to know, need to know. He tries to protect Gavin and Gavin is angry, hurt, when he finds out that Derrick thinks him fragile and is making decisions for him that are not just his to make. It’s also about Gavin educating Derrick as to what is expected in a relationship of equal partners.
The reader also knows that Gavin keeps worries just below the surface –
And then his eyes opened and that shadow passed trough Gavin’s gaze again…..“Hey.”
Derrick stopped moving, quelling the urge of his hips to continue driving onward, despite Gavin’s restless shifting and groaning protest. “What,” Gavin panted.
“I’m not him.” His hands bracketed Gavin’s face, and he gave a short forbidding shake of his head. “Whatever he did to you, I’m not gonna do.”
“I’m sorry,” he heard Gavin mutter, and he felt Gavin’s hand fall on his head. Limp. defeated. His voice was full of remorse. “I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t.” Derrick looked up sharply, meeting Gavin’s regret-filled eyes…
“Don’t be, this isn’t your fault.”
“You didn’t have a choice. At least not much of one.”
“I could have stood firmer, not let Lukas get me drunk…”
He would also like to be completely sexually free with Derrick, but the fear of infecting someone he cares for is ever present. The concern that because Derrick has felt the responsibility of nursing family members, watched them die, means Derrick may see him as another ‘responsibility’ to be borne ….silently –
“If you won’t say what’s on your mind, then I can’t trust you, and I can’t be with someone I don’t trust. Not after what I’ve been through. And certainly not to do the sort of things you like in bed.”
The indictment that he wasn’t trustworthy stung Derrick’s sense of injustice. He snapped without thinking. “Can you really blame me for needing to hold something back for when you’re not there anymore?”
Gavin blanched, and Derrick closed his eyes, feeling sick.
“That’s…” Gavin covered his mouth, looking like he’d been gut punched.
“Shit. I’m sorry. That’s not what I…”
“Yeah, it is.” Gavin swallowed hard. “That’s the most honest thing you’ve said to me in months. Wow.”
He looked as the ceiling, giving a humourless, disbelieving laugh. “I’m your worst nightmare, aren’t I?”
Here Gavin, and therefore the reader, gets to learn the true extent of what Derrick has been through, And it is sad and powerful in the way it unfolds, the way it is written. LeeAnn, his ex and still good friend, helps encourage him to be open. To show Gavin something that Derrick is good at; music. Not to use it only for the sad times, to mourn a loss. Now it’s time to play when he is happy again. To play for Gavin. And the always-wonderful Ms Ingrid helps Derrick understand that you just can’t be responsible for everyone, that it is isn’t expected. This time around it’s nice to see there are supporters there when Derrick needs them.
Acceleration is well named as Derrick and Gavin’s feelings are moving ahead quickly in many ways. It builds over a period of three months. The way they are wanting to be in each other’s company more and more often, the things that they like about each other, the way they are feeling emotionally, the powerful, liberating, and simpatico sex, and also the fears – Derrick not knowing how to be in a relationship, Derrick feeling scared of what wanting someone, needing someone means. What happens if Gavin has HIV and he loses him? Gavin needing to have a totally honest partner, sharing the load and responsibility. Gavin finding this gentle man who has many things that are attractive to him, but who just can’t be as open as he should be. The way they are heading towards a conclusion in regards to their relationship, to dealing with the outcome of Gavin’s tests, and life in general as a couple.
I totally understand why Amelia Gormley has opted to split Derrick and Gavin’s story into a trilogy, there is too much information for one or even two books. Too much baggage, too much love, for two men to just reduce it to meaningless, throwaway lines of dialogue or backstory. It has allowed the author to build a perfect pace for the story, to allow full exploration of both men and give us much needed insight into their lives, feelings, individual hurts, relationship difficulties, growing love, and any and all resolutions. None of which can be a quick process, given the magnitude of their experiences and their grief – Derrick’s so chronically ingrained and Gavin’s so acutely current.
Often I find second books a bridge between first and third in a trilogy, not here. This is a wonderful book, even better than the first – which is very good in its own right – full of character depth, a genuine building of a relationship, glorious dialogue that makes you feel like they are real people, not fictional characters, whose lives you have the privilege of being a part of for a while. With some interesting secondary characters thrown into the mix. If you like character-driven stories that are filled with emotion, but not necessarily angst driven, instead driven by a powerfully real-feel plot. If you like good men who are individually decent and are even better together, who (I think) are meant to be, then I cannot recommend Inertia and Acceleration highly enough.