Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sidecar by Amy Lane (Adult Romance)

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The year is 1987. The boys wear pink Izod shirts, the girls wear big hair, everyone has a stash box, and AIDS is just an ugly rumor rumbling like a thunderstorm from the cities. A teenage runaway wanders the side of the road, a heartbeat away from despair, and is rescued by a long-haired angel on a Harley.

But that's just the beginning of their story.

Josiah Daniels wanted peace and quiet and a simple life, and he had it until he rescued Casey from hunger, cold, and exhaustion. Then Joe's life is anything but simple as he and his new charge navigate a world that is changing more rapidly than the people in it. Joe wants to raise Casey to a happy and productive adulthood, and he does. But even as an adult, Casey can't conceive of a happy life without Joe. The trouble is getting Joe to accept that the boy he nurtured is suddenly the man who wants him.

Their relationship can either die or change with the world around them. As they make a home, negotiate the new rules of growing up, and swerve around the pitfalls of modern life, Casey learns that adulthood is more than sex, Joe learns that there is no compromise in happy ever after, and they’re both forced to realize that the one thing a man shouldn’t be is alone.

Once my kids are older, they will probably run from the house like it’s on fire every time I start a new Amy Lane book.  Why?  Because I can always count on her to leave me sleep deprived and cranky.  Not that I am complaining.  Her books always keep me up until the wee hours of the morning because I simply can’t put them down.  Sidecar was no exception. 

It’s no secret amongst the Bibliojunkies that my favorite type of book is a romance.  Throw in a forever boy and I am in heaven.  Sidecar delivers both - an absolutely loveable forever boy (Joe Daniels) but also a beautiful romance that slowly grows over the years.   

Sidecar does not contain the angst that Ms. Lane writes so well.  And for that I am grateful.  Even without it I found myself wiping tears off my face during little moments through out the book.  Within the first two chapters both Casey and Joe become such a part of you that your heart hurts for everything they experience.  The good and the bad.   

Joe Daniels is pretty simple.  He lived the carefree lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.  But then he decided he was done.  No big dramatic moment made him change.  He just decided he was missing the space and quiet of where he grew up.  So by the age of 27 he is comfortably living in his own home far enough away from civilization to enjoy the quiet but close enough to drive to his job at the hospital where he works as a nurse.  Although a little scary looking with his broad shoulders, long hair, handlebar mustache/soul patch combo and a giant Harley, Joe is an all around NICE guy.  He believes in helping people.  His family taught him that it was the right thing to do.  He helps his aging neighbor that lives 20 acres away; he makes friends with patients at the hospital.  Even if they aren’t his patients.  And he takes in strays – dogs, cats and you guessed it, kids that he finds helpless on the side of the road.   He has no ulterior motives.  He is just that kind of guy.  Who doesn’t want this guy?  He is perfect.  I was imagining Aaron Eckhart a la Erin Brockovich (just change the hair color) while reading this.  Can I just say forever boy AND totally biker hot?

But here is the thing….although Joe Daniels is the forever boy in this book, I found that I was absolutely smitten with Casey.  The YA reader in me was drawn to him instantly.  He is so young at the beginning of this book (16 years old) and has had a pretty rough experience.  He isn’t broken by any stretch of the imagination.  He has an inner strength and outward feistiness that allows him to stay standing no matter what life might throw at him.  His instant love and hero worship of Joe in the beginning is almost heartbreaking in its sincerity and hopefulness.  I think the parts that made me cry the most were watching Casey grow up.  So many of his chapters made me want to put my book down and hug my children. 

There is always a risk of making the reader uncomfortable when building a romance between two people that start out with a guardian/child relationship.  But that isn’t the case here.  This story is so well crafted and paced that you can only cheer these two men on as they slowly reach that point where everything comes together.  And when it does come together?  You better watch out.  Their kiss in the car is smoldering.  And although the sex scenes are few, the few that are there….oh, my.  My book almost burst into flames from the heat.   

Watching the relationship develop and change between Joe and Casey over the span of 25 years is beautiful and romantic and heartwarming.  I absolutely love books like this.  They settle in and become comfort reads when I need something to brighten a gloomy day.  It is a guarantee that I will be re-reading Sidecar next time I need a pick me up.


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