It's no surprise Riley Connors is dealing with issues. He was kidnapped as a young boy, and his parents abandoned him after his newsworthy return. He bounced from foster home to facility and back. Now an adult, ghosts from his past continue to haunt him. After a suicide attempt, he is locked away in Hartfield so that people can make him tune in to emotions he has tried to bury.
Hunter Morgan had the kind of love that spans ages. But the stress of college and adulthood became too much to handle, and the love of Hunter's life turned to drugs. After he overdoses, Hunter finds himself soaring out of control on the same miserable path. His brother finds him and calls an ambulance, and the sister Hunter would rather not have calls it a suicide attempt, landing Hunter in Hartfield.
Finding love isn't easy, but it can happen under the direst circumstances. Together Hunter and Riley may be able to grow from their pain. But they will need to learn to live for themselves, letting love come second.
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Quiet love story.
Michael Ferraiuolo delivers a solid performance without going over the top in this quiet love story.
Buyer be aware: The editing and sound quality at times was a little grainy and glitchy, but does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the story.
Riley is a boy who's been destroyed so badly he's considered a "lifer" at Hartfield, the mental institution he's been in for over two years, and he's been in and out of institutions for ten years. His story is heartbreaking and hopeful all at once because it's not until he has someone to show him his worth he begins to fight for himself and it is a beautiful thing to get to listen to.
Hunter, on the other hand, takes his own self-destruction to new lows. His circumstances end with a choice - confinement at Hartfield or prison. At Hartfield he gets roomed with Riley and it's frankly the best thing to ever happen to him. I just loved hearing the steps Hunter goes through to get better.
Ferraiuolo brings to life the pain, frustration, hope, happiness and love they find in a pretty hopeless place and at a very difficult time in both their lives.
I liked the dual POV, getting into both character's heads and seeing what they were feeling, because, frankly, there's a whole lot of "telling" in this story and not a lot of "showing"; a lot of what happens is mental, and for those looking for a steamy story - beware - the steam level here is really low. I didn't miss it though, because this really was more about the emotional connection more than any physical one.
To be honest, there were a couple of things I didn't like. I would have liked a little more action and steaminess; more time of them actually being able to be together. But my biggest complaint is I didn't like that I never got to find out what happened to Riley's parents or his abductors, John and Miranda Lee. I realize it's about how Riley's feeling and doing, but I would have loved at least one therapy session to include some tidbit about what had happened to the Lees and what ended up happening with his parents.
My imagination has John and Miranda Lee still in prison being tortured and beaten daily. I also hope his parents were shunned from their community after abandoning Riley and wound up being set upon by a vicious pack of wild dogs in some third world country - but that's more because I have a mean streak a mile wide, and I'm sure that's just me.
Bottom line: I enjoyed the realism, all the little things that add up to make this a sweet story about finding love in a hopeless place, and making yourself the best version of "you" before you make yourself an "us".
Great emotional journey