Review: The Perils of Intimacy by Rick R. Reed

Jimmy and Mark make an adorable couple. Jimmy’s kindness and clean-cut cuteness radiate out of him like light. Mark, although a bit older, complements Jimmy with his humor and his openness to love.

But between them, a dark secret lurks, one with the power to destroy.

See, when Mark believes he’s meeting Jimmy for the first time in the diner where he works, he’s wrong.

Mark has no recollection of their original encounter because the wholesome Jimmy of today couldn’t be more different than he was two years ago. Back then, Jimmy sported multiple piercings, long bleached dreadlocks, and facial hair. He was painfully skinny—and a meth addict. The drug transformed him into a different person—a lying, conniving thief who robbed Mark blind during their one-night stand.

Mark doesn’t associate the memory of a hookup gone horribly wrong with this fresh-faced, smiling twentysomething… but Jimmy knows. As they begin a dance of love and attraction, will Jimmy be brave enough to reveal the truth? And if he does, will Mark be able to forgive him? Can he see Jimmy for the man he is now and not the addict he was? The answers will depend on whether true love holds enough light to shine through the darkness of past mistakes.

I am going to preface this review with a disclaimer that there will be a bit of rambling and the rambling may be of a personal nature. Books that have characters with addiction hit a special place for me and that place is close to home. You’d think with as much addiction in my life that I have dealt with I would steer clear of books with the content but maybe it’s my own sort of addiction that keeps me coming back? I am not sure but the dedication of this book had me tearing up with its sincerity.

When is a meet-cute not a meet-cute? When you’ve met before.

This book starts off with a bang but it’s not the sort you associate with fireworks, more the sort of bang that hits hard but you never hear because of the silencer attached to the weapon. The silencer with this book is that of truth or the keeping of secrets.

You see, we begin this journey as Jimmy Kilpatrick is waiting on a handsome man at the diner he works at for breakfast. This guy is older than Jimmy’s 23 years but he wears his age well and after a brief debate on the availability of cinnamon rolls, Jimmy knows the guy has a sense of humor to go with his good looks and charm. What Jimmy also knows is that this guy is named Marc and he and Marc had a one night stand gone wrong two years ago.

Told in the first person present tense, we get Jimmy’s telling of who he was two years ago, a young man strung out on meth doing anything and anyone he can to get his next fix. He’d met Marc on a dating site and though he was there for sex and to take whatever he could get his hands on, there was something about Marc that got passed the meth induced fog of Jimmy’s brain and made him want more. When Jimmy has the chance for the more, he takes it by writing his number on Marc’s receipt in hopes he can get a second chance with the man.

Marc has his own issues though his lie within self-doubt and self-loathing as he approaches the not so old age of 40 and the woes of not being in a loving romantic relationship. He’s had his run of being promiscuous but the hookups always left him wanting, left him without his miracle of finding a man who would love him in return. His reaction to Jimmy at breakfast is instinctual and primal though he has doubts on why someone as young as Jimmy would want to see him. With a pep talk from his friend Don, Marc decides to give Jimmy a call and see where this possibly could lead.

You know how you see someone who you think looks like a person you know, and you think it could be them? But there’s something instinctive in you that tells you it’s not. The reverse is true too; when you see someone you know, you see the whole package, and you know, with pretty much certainty, that they are who you think they are.

You would think with a romance that could be based on a lie, this book would be a turnoff but it’s quite the opposite. This isn’t a romance where you look for the sex because sex doesn’t equal romance, this is a book about intimacy and the price we pay for being vulnerable because we want it and the price we pay for giving it away. Intimacy is romantic and is much more difficult to achieve than an orgasm and really it’s the intimacy that can make the sex hotter and the relationship better. It’s a push and pull that is frightening to both men as they deal with their internal struggles to find the level of intimacy they feel with one another and the trust to grab onto it.

I adored this book even with all the angst that comes with it. I am a self-proclaimed angst whore and I love the feeling of not knowing what will happen though I want to skip ahead to make sure everyone comes out okay. Jimmy knows he is lying to Marc as they go on a date and share personal details about their past, childhood and where they are now. He knows it’s wrong, he’s done the work the past 2 years through the Narcotics Anonymous program and made amends to those he’s harmed but he hasn’t done that with Marc because he’s never had the chance. He has that chance now. Jimmy keeps in touch with his sponsor Miriam who has a very special place in Jimmy’s heart as well as his roommate Kevin who is also in recovery. Though Jimmy knows this is wrong to keep his secret from Marc, he can’t let the opportunity of a second chance with the man he could possibly be in love with slip through his grasp when Marc is close enough to be wrapped in Jimmy’s arms.

I love that we got both POV’s in this story because it’s needed. We need to know how Jimmy feels and how he laments his wrong and we need to know where Marc was two years ago, why he let Jimmy who wasn’t his normal hook up into his house and how the betrayal made him feel. We need the internal dialogue from both men in this romance so that we feel the romance along with the amazing chemistry between them.

I am going to personally thank the author for his portrayal of addiction as it’s tough to write and keep it honest, but Reed does it here with brutally beauty that borders and encompasses a gorgeous intimacy. I want to thank the author for giving Jimmy the life he did including his addiction and thank him for showing what addiction truly is. I want to thank him for showing that it’s not wrong to love an addict and that while they have an addiction, their actions have nothing to do with the person they love and only to do with them. Addiction is so not black and white and I really got that Marc took what Jimmy did to him personally because it feels that way. As a person with a non-addictive mindset, it's hard to see that an addict doesn't think the way we do with rationale and forethought, they just do what they need to do without consequence. It doesn't make sense, I can say that from experience and it's maddening but the more I learn about addiction the more I realize it really is a mental health issue and it's heartbreaking how many people it holds in its ugly hands.

But today is a new day. Today is a new me. That’s the beauty I’ve found in recovery— that every day is a new beginning. We can slip. We can fall. We can even relapse. But each new twenty-four-hour period is a gift filled with hope and promise. A clean slate, right?

How can you love someone if you can’t love yourself? That’s the question for both men in this book who meet at dark times but want only the love the other can offer even if they don’t know how to get it and keep it. This book is told through a matter of days and myriad of emotions that held my heart in a vice wondering when the truth would be revealed. The depth of character in this romance is breathtaking and the growth was a pure pleasure to read. I am blown away by how the author weaved a stunning tale of a second chance romance with a level of forgiveness and acceptance of a lovers truth. This book was amazing and I’ll stop my ramble now.

Perils of Intimacy… read it.

A review copy was provided.


  1. Thanks SO much for making my day...and for "getting" the story I was telling.

    1. I truly loved the story. It's not often we get a romance including addiction where it allows us to love the addict instead of wanting to constantly cure them.