Out of the Blue by R.J. Jones
When everything happens Out of the Blue…
Lt Cameron Cooper has been with the San Francisco Fire Department for fifteen years. He’s seen and dealt with a lot of horrifying situations. He’s always considered himself mentally tough, but when he attends a multi-vehicle accident and sees a dead boy with features remarkably similar to his long-time boyfriend, his mental health takes a hit.
All Jake Montgomery wants is to propose to his boyfriend on their ten-year anniversary. He’s already bought the perfect rings, but when Cameron struggles to look at him after a tragic accident, he has doubts about their future. Cam is withdrawing, and Jake doesn’t know why.
With heated arguments and cold shoulders, Cam and Jake’s life starts to fall apart. Just when Cam thinks he can overcome his issues and finally talk to Jake, memories from Jake’s past threaten to push them apart forever.
“Things haven’t been great, to be honest. Something’s… bothering Cam. I guess bothering isn’t the right word but… he’s struggling. Something he saw when he attended that accident has him spooked. I’ve asked him and he’s told me about it but not anything that I didn’t already know from the news reports. There’s a vulnerability about him now I’ve never seen before.”
Remembering the distance that had been between us, my shoulders dropped and I lowered my head.
“He’s having nightmares where he’s completely distraught and screaming my name. The first time it happened, it scared the absolute crap out of me. It still freaks me out. It doesn’t happen every night, and I don’t know if he has them when he’s sleeping during the day. If there’s any mention of a car accident on the TV, he changes channel like he’s Flash Gordon. I can’t imagine what he’s like at work.” Sighing, I looked at my aunt, hoping she had an answer for me.
“What does he say is wrong?”
“He doesn’t. He can’t or won’t tell me what it is. He says he’s scared and he has trouble switching the images off in his head, but he won’t tell me what those images are or why he’s scared. I think he believes he’s supposed to be strong one hundred percent of the time. He hides a lot from me about what he’s seen, but I know he does it to protect me. Cam says he needs time and I’m hoping it’s only time he needs. Being here, though”—I waved my hand, indicating the vineyard—“has helped us remember what we used to be like. But being here has also reminded me of how hard it’s been the last month.”
I must have had a grave look on my face to trigger her next question. “Do you think he’s lying to you?”
“Not lying, per se… more avoiding, I think.”
“No, he’s not avoiding me, I think he’s more avoiding it. Whatever it is.”
Aunt Cece stopped walking, and cupping my face in her hands, her eyes searched mine. “Problems don’t go away by avoiding them. They’re patient bastards: they’ll wait for you. Keep avoiding them and they’ll invite their friends, and they’ll wait for you too.”
Cam and Jake’s ten year relationship is called into question when Cam suffers PTSD after witnessing a horrific scene in a multi-vehicle accident. As a result, he fears losing Jake, experiences harrowing nightmares, and has difficulty coping at work. His refusal to talk to his partner about the problem provides the catalyst for their breakdown, along with his unwillingness to maintain eye contact with Jake. Cam stubbornly refuses to seek professional help and the situation snowballs when Jake becomes jealous of one of Cam’s work colleagues. Tempers fray as each man reacts to the other’s negative response and finally Jake storms out when he is reminded of a past betrayal and can’t deal with their situation any longer.
When Cam is commanded by his boss to discuss his problems with the work’s psychologist, he slowly begins to deal with his issues. There are several chances of a reconciliation, but frustratingly, each time something is said or done which prevents this and the distance between the two men remains. Fortunately, neither man wants to end the relationship for good and gradually they work out a way to resolve the split, but it takes time.
The story is not all angst-filled scenes. There are several sweet moments, plus one with a glass dildo that made me chuckle. For much of the story, I wanted to bash their heads together and get them to talk about what was really on their minds. I was frustrated when they appeared to be getting somewhere and a thoughtless comment would make one of them fly off the handle again. I’m glad they eventually resolved their relationship problems by talking and sharing more as Cam managed to overcome his PTSD and Jake dealt with his trust issues.
I started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn’t until two men popped into my thoughts, insisting on telling me their story that I started to write. It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the shower.
My initial thought was if I could write their scene then they’d shut up and allow me to concentrate on other aspects of my day. That shower scene was 3000 words long and three hours of work. But they didn’t shut up. They told me their entire story and I didn’t sleep for days. Sometimes I couldn’t keep up with what they were telling me and I had to keep a notebook by my bed.
Whilst I was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit.
You see the problem? If I ever want to sleep again then I need to write.
I’m a wife and a mother to two boys. Even my dog is a boy.
I am surrounded by males.
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