Chase the Storm
Title : Chase the Storm
Author : V.M. Waitt
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Western
Length : 210 pages (e-book)
Published : May 13, 2013
Up until he buys an old truck, Elijah Morgan lives life according to his family’s plan, never feeling like he belongs. Desperate to find his own path, he heads out on the open road, only to end up stranded in Nebraska. Not wanting to ask for his parents’ help, he takes a job with tough, independent farmer Chase McKenzie.
Despite their age gap, the attraction between Chase and Elijah soon becomes undeniable. They give in to their desire, but that night changes everything and threatens the secret Chase guards so carefully.
As the summer heats up, so does their relationship. When autumn arrives, Elijah is due back at college, and he’ll have to choose whether to continue his education and follow in his family’s footsteps… or to stay in Nebraska with the man he loves.
“For the first time in my life, my day wasn’t planned, ruled by a schedule of classes,
appointments, or expectations.”
Nineteen year old Elijah Morgan was born into wealth. The best schools, designer clothes, jet setting holidays, the nicest cars. With his father being the vice-president of a Fortune 500 company, Elijah could have all that at his feet. But that’s not what has any meaning to him and he doesn’t feel like he belongs in that world. His parents emotional distance and the pressure to follow their path for his life – a Harvard Business Degree, a wife and to follow in his father into the business world – are making Elijah feel like his whole life is a lie. All he wants is to study music, classic not pop, and the freedom to follow his own path. Which, being gay, do not include girls! “Tears I hadn’t realized I was holding in began to fall, and before I new it, I was sobbing, grieving for a life I would never have but had always wanted. Every day I lived a lie more suffocating than the day before. I was lying to my family, myself, the world. Harvard wasn’t me, the money wasn’t me, studying business wasn’t me, girls weren’t for me.” On the last day of finals before heading back to NYC for an unwanted summer internship working for his father, Elijah spies an old Ford pickup truck for sale and on impulse he decides to make a grab for freedom and spend the summer exploring parts unknown instead.
I loved the opening paragraphs. They painted a wonderful picture of freedom and Elijah’s fondness for the beauty of the Nebraskan landscape. It was just the perfect set-up for the story ahead. There was a really nice balance showing how Elijah just didn’t fit into the life of privilege and his family’s expectations without coming across as poor little rich kid. I really liked Elijah. He’s a young man born in to a rich family, but he isn’t the typical spoilt brat personality, yet he also doesn’t come across as unrealistically mature, just a nice young man with a good head on his shoulders but still impulsive enough to embark on this adventure in a bid for his own freedom and finding where he really belonged. I thought the first couple of chapters where a great start and I really loved the writing. Descriptive without being overdone. I was intrigued to see where the summer was going to take Elijah, and what impact it was going to have on the rest of his life.
After a few days on the open road, Elijah finds himself in the small town of Arthur, Nebraska, having bargained with his ailing 1965 truck to get them to the next town. When he gets the news from the mechanic, Mike, that the truck needs special parts ordered in that will take at a few weeks, Elijah asks about the job for a farmhand (no experience necessary) with room and board advertised on the bulletin board. Chase McKenzie grows wheat and hay, and trains and sells horses. When we first meet him, Chase is closed off and distant. And he immediately challenges the city boy to either sink or swim, throwing him into the deep end of life as a farmhand. As the weeks pass, we get to know Chase a little better. He’s solitary, brusque, independent and self reliant, capable, kind and with a sense of humour underneath that gruff exterior. Mysterious and sexy as hell. And every Sunday evening, dressed in black jeans, pressed white shirt, western tie and Stetson, with hair combed back and smelling of aftershave, he rides off on his horse, Admiral, often returning home late in the night.
Wanting more than sex for the sake of sex, Elijah is more interested in having it be part of something real, meaningful. A relationship. Love. When he meets a shirtless Chase, his muscles rippling under smooth skin as he works, Elijah feels an immediate attraction to the farmer. As time goes on and they spend weeks working side by side, the lust grows into something more. But Chase remains aloof, private. Although Elijah is attracted to his older employer, the photos on the wall showing Chase and another man, his husband Owen, tell him there’s no possibility there. Even if there’s been no sign of Owen in the whole time Elijah has been there. The shared experience of sheltering from the violent assault of a tornado seems to crack the thick walls Chase has built around himself. Chase is still gruff and expects Elijah to work hard, but there is a new closeness. But when Elijah’s truck is finally repaired and Chase expects the younger man will be moving on, he once again becomes abrasive and taciturn. Elijah, however, has realised that he’s found where he belongs. He loves life on the farm, both the manual labour and all that he’s learning from it. “Glancing at my reflection, I saw the man I was growing into behind young green eyes. The man who was experiencing new emotions, who realized he enjoyed physical labor, whose heart raced for the man down the hall. I wasn’t the same boy who had arrived there. I was more mature, I was making it on my own, and I was taking chances I never would have before.” On the trip in to retrieve the truck, Mike inadvertently reveals that Owen died in a car accident three years previously. Elijah returns to a seemingly empty house, but later discovers a drunk and distraught Chase talking to the photo of his dead husband.
The scene of the tornado was so well written it almost felt like I was there. Foot-tapping in nervousness, I experienced Elijah’s tense waiting with him, followed by his concern and reluctance to see what damage the tornado had caused. I liked the slow build up of Chase and Elijah’s relationship. There was enough subtle sexual tension from Elijah’s attraction to keep me engaged in the development. When we finally discover Chase’s backstory, the reasons for his behaviour become so much more understandable. In the scene where he’s telling the photo of Owen how much he just misses him and pleads with him to tell what he should do, my heart just felt for him and his loss. That scene is also a turning point for Elijah and Chase’s relationship. The first time they have sex is hot and sweet and, damn, I loved those two! I found myself really wanting them to work out.
Chase, still battling his grief and the guilt over giving in to his attraction to Elijah, pushes Elijah away with viciousness. I was so mad at Chase for his treatment of Elijah afterwards! He had been such a tender and considerate lover, especially knowing it was Elijah’s first time, then was so horrible to him the next day. I liked that Elijah recognised what was motivating Chase to push him away so vehemently. My heart was aching so much for these two. When Chase wasn’t in denial and being horrible, they were so beautiful together. I was so happy when Chase stopped being an arse to Elijah, apologised and accepted that he had feelings for him. Sigh. Even though Chase still struggled a little with the guilt of moving on with Elijah, I really enjoyed the blossoming of their relationship. Although they did make me cry a couple of times, I would say it was more emotional than angsty, although I guess that is a matter of personal definition. For the most part, it was just a beautiful love story between a young man finding himself for the first time an older man finding himself again after loss, and both of them finding love together.
I just loved this book. From the first page to the last, I was completely invested in Elijah and Chase’s story. Outstanding debut novel. The writing is solid, the characters are beautifully drawn and complex. The descriptions of daily life were detailed enough to truly give a sense of what it was like without being boring and I thoroughly enjoyed them. I read this book in one day because I just couldn’t leave them, I adored the characters so much. I felt joy, sorrow, heartache, love and elation along with Chase and Elijah. And I absolutely love the cover!
Rated 5 stars by BookSmitten