Sweet Thing, Isobel Starling

Sweet Thing (Pretty Boy) by [Starling, Isobel]

Torturous.  So many moments of emotional torture here.  I love Simeon, I love Pieter's honesty, I adore Emily's boldness and tenderness, and I love the awful truth about Matti.  Throughout the entire story we get snippets of other people's thoughts, usually centered on Simeon and then Matti through Bastian.  With these additional perspectives we get a much clearer and complete picture of the world these men live in and insight into why some things happened as they did.  Overall, this was a story that didn't shy away from addiction and slip-ups and all the hard things people with addictions go through.  It wasn't a light story by any means and the HEA is hard-won.

 Sweet Thing, Isobel Starling

Simeon was a severe addict with not just one, but at least four addictions that he used simultaneously.  He has Addictive Personality Disorder among other issues stemming from childhood.  I don't know much about this disorder and I'll be honest and say I haven't even looked it up so I'm just going off of what I read in the story.  With Simeon's difficulties his road through rehab was intense and I think that starting off the way we did with the scene in rehab gave a pretty clear picture of who Simeon is and why he is the way he is.  What appears as coddling when they pander to his insecurities and not leaving him to sort through things on his own is actually what someone like Simeon really needs.  Stability is more than just being someone you can count on when you're needed, it's sometimes a constant presence whether in person, text, phone call, or leaving notes.  Simeon needs that constant reassurance or his brain will find something to cope while that presence is missing.  Unfortunately his brain uses extremely harmful substances to block out all the negative spiraling that separation causes.

When he finds Bastian he's not exactly at his best and reacts poorly to what's perceived as rejection.  Bast's reaction to the "Simeon Special" is over the top and borderline unforgivable.  The way Simeon allows Bastian to apologize and then to become a part of his life is sweet because we get to see just how unfamiliar Simeon is with genuine affection that isn't centered around getting off.  Bastian very quickly becomes someone incredibly important to Simeon and I really enjoyed seeing them navigating something neither of them has much experience with.  There's a very deep connection between them because of what they've gone through up to this point.

Bastian's lover of four years was killed in a car accident.  The circumstances of that are a bit of a mystery and Bast has trouble reconciling the end with where he should be going in his personal life.  He loved Matti so deeply that he struggles with moving on with someone else.  That deep love has also placed his former lover on a pedestal.  Only able to see the love and passion he is missing he is physically and emotionally unavailable to anyone else.  Bast doesn't want to betray Matti by being intimate with other lovers but since he can't make love to a ghost he finds himself in an even more miserable situation because he's incredibly lonely.  Unable to find pleasure with Simeon despite desiring him intensely makes for an absolutely awful first encounter.  Watching them overcome Bastian's struggles are heartwarming because he's not just overcoming difficulties, Simeon is healing his soul.

They are both the answer to one another's loneliness and when everything comes to a head we see that they're still human.  Both of them make mistakes, rather large ones because of where each of them have problems.  Thankfully they have a wonderful support group and are able to make the best of their situation.  They also find the courage to be honest with their feelings and make commitments to one another.  Their confessions are tender and honest and also heartbreaking because you can see just how damaged they are individually and then how fixable they are together.

Their HEA is hard-won and so very worth finding.  This is a very human story with imperfections on display and the reality that there are no perfect relationships, but commitment, love, and hard work can make happy relationships that endure.

 Sweet Thing, Isobel Starling

*Check out the entire series and fall for everyone in their own stories
New York's in Love (Pretty Boy Book 0) by [Starling, Isobel] Fall Together by [Starling, Isobel] Sweet Thing (Pretty Boy) by [Starling, Isobel]
 New York's In Love, Isobel Starling              Fall Together, Isobel Starling                Sweet Thing, Isobel Starling

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