Afflicted (Afflicted, #1), Brandon Shire
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Publisher: TPG Books
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Contemporary, Disability, Escort, Romance, Series
Length: 214 Pages
Purchase At: Amazon
A high priced male escort and a blind gay man meet by chance. What ensues is a hot, steamy romance by two men looking for something more than a one night stand. But can they reach beyond their own insecurities to grasp what they really desire?
Meet Hunter Stephens. He’s gay, tall, dark haired, and he’s hot. Very hot. But he doesn’t rely on the visual cues when appraising a man because he’s also blind. He listens to the timbre of their voice, trembles at the touch of their skin, and luxuriates in the deep richness of the aroma of man. He’s hard of the hand because he’s a black belt and takes no shit, but soft of the heart because he’s lonely and has been for a while.
Until he meets Dillon.
Dillon Chambers is straight man candy. He’s a high priced male escort that works with an exclusive agency who handles only the wealthiest of clients. But it wasn’t always like that for him. At sixteen he was thrown out of the house for being gay and struggled to survive, turning tricks on the street and finding food and a place to sleep wherever he could. He met two people that changed his life, but he has never met anyone who could change his heart.
Until he bumped into Hunter.
And now they are both Afflicted.
This review was originally published on October 10, 2012, on our first reviewing site, Blogger. This is actually one of my very first reviews ever as part of On Top Down Under. I’ve just – over a decade later – received a notification from Google informing me that the review was deleted because it violated their community standards. I am publishing that review here in it’s entirety, along with the original cover. Not one word has been changed from the original. I’ve reread this review multiple times trying to figure out what violated their community standards. The only thing I can think of would be the cover, maybe? I’ve seen much worse on other Blogger sites.
This review is actually one of several that I received notifications about. The others now have warnings. Afflicted, however, was deleted, something I do not understand. If something as mild as this review is offensive, I’d hate to think what they would think about some that I’ve published here and on Goodreads.
This is a beautifully written story. I am not simply referring to the story as a whole. I am referring to the actual writing. This is so unlike what I normally read and that alone was refreshing.
The characters are wonderfully written. Hunter is a blind gay man who is adamant about his independence. While reading, I often forgot that he was blind because of that independence. Hunter may not be able to see but he is not written where it comes across as a disability. The blindness is part of Hunter and it is who he is but he is not defined by it. The more I read the more I could see why Hunter is the way he is. He grew up with a very overbearing and too protective mother who treated him simply as a blind person who would not be able to function without her instead of someone who should be allowed to grow and learn how to live on his own. Then there’s Dillon. Dillon is a high-priced escort. He was forced out of his family home when he was sixteen because of his homosexuality. Forced to live on the streets, he survived by doing things that he is now, as an adult, not proud of. He did what he had to do to survive, period.
Hunter and Dillon meet by chance and quickly begin a tentative relationship. In the beginning it is based strictly on sex. It does not take long before they are both feeling more but they can’t express this because of the nature of their relationship. The relationship is really not defined for either of them at first. Hunter has issues with Dillon’s profession which become quite obvious the more the story unfolds. Dillon feels that he will never be good enough for Hunter.
There is a small group of secondary characters that add to the story. There is Hunter’s only real friend, a female, who comes across as pushy and way too protective at times. Of course this is because of the love she has for her friend and she doesn’t want to see him get hurt. There is Hunter’s mother. While some details about Hunter’s childhood are brought out there are still quite a few left unexplained. There is the owner of the escort service that Dillon works for. And there is a mentor to Dillon who picked him up off the streets when he was close to death years earlier.
Hunter and Dillon’s relationship is odd but it seems to work. As they spend time with each other, more and more details emerge about each but there are still questions left unanswered. The sex is written very well. Hunter and Dillon do not communicate very well and while that was extremely frustrating at times, it was also understandable. There is also a twist that happens toward the end that I could have never predicted. This opened the door for so much more of Hunter and Dillon’s story.
This is really the beginning of the story as so many things are left unresolved at the end. Had I not read that there was a sequel due out soon, I might have been frustrated by how it ended. Now I am simply eager to get to the next story. I can not wait to see where Hunter and Dillon go from here.
Overall, a very enjoyable read. The writing style is excellent and the author does an outstanding job with the descriptions and dialogue. This is my first by this author and I look forward to not only the sequel to this story but to reading everything he has to offer.
Reviewer Note: I discovered after the fact that 10% of the proceeds from the purchase of this book and others by this author are being donated to gay youth charitable organizations. This fact alone would have pushed me in the right direction had I known in advance.
Cindi March 7, 2023 at 8:54 am
I honestly don’t get why this review was deleted, but the two that were hidden behind warnings are okay. There’s language and a bit of of graphic sex talk in those. The Afflicted review mentions a male escort and homosexuality, nothing more. Are those bad words now? Geez. I read their community standards and found absolutely nothing wrong with what I published.
I do remember when anything ‘gayness’ was being removed before they backflipped. I question what called them to the attention of our old blog. I’d hate to think that somebody actually reported one of the reviews, but you never know.
I agree 100% that common sense needs to prevail, but I don’t see that happening.
First of all, still a fabulous review. There is nothing wrong with this review. Amazon would allow it on their site exactly as it stands.
Second, this is another homophobic which hunt by Google – remember when anything with “gayness” in it was getting removed and then they backflipped? Here we go again. I hope they do not interfere with good reviews out there because of someone’s prejudice at what is basically an internet monopoly. Common sense needs to prevail