Kelly, Wade. “Names Can Never Hurt Me”, Dreamspinner Press, 2014.
Nick Jones, Unaware
Nick Jones is a slacker who has been moving through life without thinking about who he is or what he wants. He has no pretenses and is happy with what he has and he does not think about how he looks to others. He just can’t be bothered with complexities and that includes sex. His goal always seems to be that of self-gratification and if someone else enjoy have sex with him that is fine. He does not want the hassle of intimacy. He is a shallow person living a shallow life and his friends are shallow as well—-they think that good looks and sex are the greatest things on earth. But all that changed for Nick when he met RC.
Nick had never really thought about his sexuality. He has slept with all the girls in his elite class of people and he likes women so he must be straight. But then he was at a party where he was dared to kiss Corey, an out and somewhat flamboyant gay guy. This led to an affair between the two guys but Nick will simply not admit to being gay. He was not ready for any kind of commitment or emotional ties to someone else. When he does think about his sexuality, he is quick to have sex with a girl to prove to himself that he is straight.
However his feelings for RC become more intense and Nick cannot really deny that he is gay—after all, he is having sex with another guy. He knows that I he is to continue his affair with RC, he has to do some self-examination and then change how he has been dealing with life. He realizes that those he thought were his friends are really not and that they have never cared for him. This hurts him and he understands that he is indeed with RC who has made some very strong rules to which Nick must agree if he wants to be in a relationship. These rules will prove that he is indeed interested in a relationship with RC.
RC is a complex person who has had quite a hard life. He was teased about being heavy and he has become distrustful of others. At about the time he was finally being able to deal with his own issues, along came Nick and RC is immediately attracted to him. RC soon learns that Nick has been slacking with his life and that he has little if any self-respect and does not really know how to stand up for himself. He sees Nick as a kind-hearted individual worthy of knowing. As RC gets more glances at Nick’s life, he realizes that Nick is not living up to his potential; he has little self-respect and a hard time standing up for himself. Whatever is convenient is how he runs his life and he finds his way into strange and dangerous situations. He wants Nick to be more than he is and it angers RC to see Nick’s disregard for so much.
When Nick tells RC that he’s interested, RC isn’t so sure he wants to be that close to Nick he confides in Nick how he feels about him. This hurts Nick but knows that what RC says is true.
RC Nick an ultimatum— that if he’s serious about being in a real relationship with RC, he will have to prove himself worthy. Nick has to put sex aside and learn to focus on life. RC is determined not to have sex with Nick becomes the kind of person that others like to be around.Nick learns to face his fears, to let go of a past that was destructive at best and look to the future with a new outlook. RC learns to love and trust again and this gives him a sense of self-acceptance.
The themes of knowing oneself and maturation are evident here and even though Nick comes across as somewhat irritable, by the end of the book we really begin to like him and believe in him. It only took one kiss for Nick to begin to change even though he did not actually realize that. This is a different coming of age story in that Nick has to also find himself. There is a lot of emotion here and we see clearly that it is trust and communication that are the basis of a relationship. This is both a romantic and sexy story that reminded me of someone I once knew and I an quite sure it will do the same for other readers.