Life After Joe - Harper Fox Life After Joe is an emotionally grueling read. Matthew had a beautiful home, a promising career as a doctor and was living his happy ever after with the man of his dreams, the man who had been his friend since childhood and his lover since their early teens. And then Joe left Matt to marry a woman who he had been seeing on the sly for two years. Matt can’t compete and is completely and justifiably destroyed. He has fallen into a devastating depression, drinking and screwing any man who will have him just to forget all that he has lost. Matt has lost all hope, risks losing everything and is just about to hit rock bottom when he catches the attention of a handsome oil rigger named Aaron. Aaron’s rugged beauty immediately appeals to Matt but it’s his compassion and patience that help Matt begin to believe that he may be able to share his heart with another man again. But it will be a difficult road. Matt is suffering from an alcohol addiction and major trust issues and Aaron is keeping a major part of his life a secret.

If you want obstacles and heart-aching conflict as well as the steamy m/m sex this book has it. As I was reading I became increasingly worried that this book wasn’t going to end with anyone living happily ever after but to the author’s credit it was pulled off and pulled off believably. This book is painful and made me cry and that isn’t an easy feat. Matt is the major character here, and the one whose head we are in most often. He is just so broken that when he begins to find happiness with Aaron I was nearly holding my breath hoping he wouldn’t get hurt again. He’s a damaged character who evokes empathy and I sympathized with him throughout the story, knowing always where he was coming from. Aaron is damaged as well but I won’t go into the how or why’s because I’ll spoil a major reveal. He is less fleshed out as we see him mostly through Matt’s eyes but he’s a balm to Matt and hard to resist. Now that I know his secret I think I’ll have to go back and reread a few scenes which will make them even more poignant. My only complaint is the writing style, which was sometimes too wordy and had me rereading passages a few times to get the gist of what the author was trying to say. Much like the last m/m book I reviewed, Resistance by LM Turner, this one left me feeling emotionally raw and satisfied and I can easily recommend it to anyone willing to get put through the emotional wringer. After these two books I need to find me some fluff!