Cloud Nine (Nailed It! #2), Fearne Hill
Rating: 5 Stars
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Disability Rep, Humour, Emotional, Series, Second Chances
Length: 249 Pages
Purchase At: amazon
Bedroom eyes, that’s the name my mom gave them.
Before I travelled to the UK, she issued me plenty of warnings: don’t look the wrong way when crossing the road, the first floor was the second floor, and no one would know what I meant if I asked for ranch dressing at a restaurant.
But the perils of shy, beautiful men like Tristan Carter? Men with walking canes and hearing aids and those damned bedroom eyes, hidden behind a curtain of silky blond hair?
She forgot to tell me anything about those. And I messed up badly. Monumentally. The kind of misjudgment that had me waking in a cold sweat, wanting to catch the next flight back to my pampered college life in the US. Except I couldn’t, seeing as I’d messed up there too.
So I stayed. I got a job, grew up, and learned some harsh life lessons. Worked out what I wanted to do with my future. Drank warm beer, chilled with my big brother. Ferried Tristan Carter across London. Helped him in and out of the car. Goofed around with him. Tumbled headlong in love with him.
Bedroom eyes. I’m an absolute sucker for those.
This is by far the best romance book I’ve read with disability rep. Tristan Carter is the brother – one of triplets – of Frankie from book #1, Cloud Ten. Tristan has Cerebral Palsy and is deaf. He uses canes to help him walk and cochlear implants for his hearing, which aren’t always practical because of circumstances. One of those “impractical circumstances” is how he and Dominic St. Cloud, the other MC and brother of Lysander, met when the thing happened. While he needs help with his day to day life, Tristan is also independent, strong, determined, has a job, has attitude, has desire and a sex drive. I’m a psychotherapist who is also a sex therapist which means I work with people of all abilities, and there are plenty of people with disabilities who enjoy sex, they (can) want that human connection, sometimes love, depending. And they very often desire sensual touch. Also, like people without disability, there are those who like a bit of rough as well as a bit of tender. Some people like to cut loose and not be made to feel they are fragile, congrats to Fearne Hill for tackling that. And also having an able bodied MC with someone who isn’t without making it condescending, weird, ableist, or like some kind of kink.
Mostly, you get to see the difficulties in the day to day of someone living with Cerebral Palsy/being deaf. A lot went into making this feel very real, very compassionate – I loved it.
I never fucking popped anywhere. I slithered and crawled and ached and hauled, always with a fucking audience of drivers and co-workers and siblings and friends. Or do-gooders like the strangers in the park, assuming they knew what was best for me, because somehow having visible disabilities made me public property.
There was a HUGE relational bump at the very beginning of Cloud Nine to overcome for these MCs – “the thing” – and I understood Frankie being pissed at Dominic. However, Dominic makes good and not only verbally apologises, his actions back his words up. It was always Tristan’s decision to make about when, if, how he forgave Dominic and he made that clear. The romance between Tristan and Dominic was so, so good. You know that this growing relationship is a big deal for Tristan. Does he let Dominic in? Dominic’s younger. He’s only here for a couple of months, he has university to go back to in America. How will he deal with that loss when his heart’s becoming increasingly engaged with Dominic? I held my breath at times and hoped that Dominic really got that message. Tristan weighed things up with the help of a friend, or two, and was aware of the risk he took with his body and his heart. He let Dominic know as clearly as he could.
Cloud Nine made me feel a lot of things. I wanted to cry sometimes, for the muscle aches and spasming, for the missed moments in Tristan’s life that a lot of able-bodied people take for granted, and all without being melodramatic – important first kisses, dates, no senior year dance (or prom), plenty of assumptions made by sometimes well meaning but often ridiculously behaved people with misguided thoughts. I wanted to laugh at the things Tristan and a friend Milo discussed with Milo’s cheeky and helpful advice and care. And Milo’s endearing and snort worthy moment about the fuckening. I enjoyed the lists both men made independently of one another, one about how lucky he was to live where he did, the other of adjusting to a new country, which gives the reader a great insight into the inner workings of the individual. I also enjoyed seeing Tristan’s ability to let a wall down on the reality that what he deserves is pretty much being served up on a yummy plate.
Seeing Dominic grow up and become a better (young) man, and he is young at twenty-one, was wonderful. I enjoy real growth in characters. I mean, probably the hardest thing for me to accept was that Dominic was so mature after the rough start they had, especially with his privileged background, but I rolled with it because the MCs are gloriously addictive, and their romance worked and made me very, very happy.
The secondary characters this time around had the right balance between being awesome – take a bow Milo, Frankie and Lysander, Maddie, Irene and Emily – just being there without taking away from the main romance arc. I enjoyed the glimpses of Mungo, the thoughts of where Milo and Mungo might go. Then there is Maureen, the usual driver for Tristan, an awesome older lady and all round respectful mother figure to him. Then there was Tristan’s fan club – he had a way of making people care a great deal. Seeing Lysander and Frankie moving toward tying the knot was just a big old awww. It’s heart melting stuff – this from a person who’s normally gun shy around marriages in books. It was secondary to Tristan and Dominic’s romance arc, while also making for some loving and amusing moments.
I’m hopeful Tristan and Dominic will be making appearances in the next Nailed It! series book. If so, I cannot wait. I want to know how they’re travelling.
This is terrific reading. If you’ve never read Fearne Hill you’re missing out on a wonderful author, someone who writes with immense heart and soul. Definitely grab a copy and start here with Cloud Nine, you certainly don’t need to have read book #1 if you don’t want to. Overall this is uplifting, well written, and totally engaging from start to end. 5 Stars!