Reviewed by JustJen
Title: How to Heal a Life
Author: Sloan Parker
Series: The Haven #2
Heroes: Seth Fisher/Raymond Vargas
Genre: MM Contemporary
Publisher: October 24, 2017
Release Date: Sloan Parker Press
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Seth Fisher has been to hell and back, but he has no intention of letting the torment of his past destroy his future. He thinks he’s doing good. He’s working again, talking, laughing, living. But everyone else still sees him as broken.
Except for one man. Raymond Vargas.
If only Seth could leave his apartment alone without a panic attack, then he could prove to everyone he’s going to be okay. And he could tell the one man who has never let him down that he wants him.
Raymond Vargas has spent the past two years trying to make up for what happened to six young men who were tortured at the hands of a member of his club. He’d do anything to keep them safe, to help them heal and move on, to help them forget they ever set foot inside the Haven.
If only he hadn’t fallen in love with one of them.
If only Seth wasn’t still in danger.
Review: How does someone get over what Seth has been through? I can’t even imagine. He was finally getting comfortable with himself and found the place he could do just that at the Haven. Until that was the very place where he was drugged, taken and then tortured, along with five other men. This story takes place almost two years after he was rescued after being left for dead in that same club. He has just about recovered physically, but he still has a lot of mental issues to overcome. Steadfastly by his side has been Raymond Vargas (or Vargas as everyone calls him), owner of the Haven and the one who has been helping Seth and the others any way he can.
Vargas carries around a huge amount of guilt about the men being taken from his club. He has and continues to spend countless dollars on anything he can think of to help the men recover and feel safe again. But, he has a soft spot for Seth and has remained close by for the duration, so much so that Vargas is the only one Seth has been able to trust and actually speak to.
Much of this story is about Seth overcoming his injuries. His physical ailments take somewhat of a back seat to his mental capacity. He struggles with PTSD, to the point where he cannot even leave the apartment without having panic attacks. With Vargas an ever-present positive reinforcement, he takes baby steps towards living a normal life again.
Vargas, on the other hand, is dealing with some issues of his own, namely the immense guilt he carries. Taking care of Seth has been a good distraction helping ease the guilt little by little, but it takes a good bit more for him to finally let go of it all. Seth plays an integral part in that, just as Vargas does with Seth’s healing. They tiptoe for a while, not wanting to push each other, but eventually, they realize their feelings go beyond being grateful for what the other has done for them. They take things really slow though, understandably, and really, Vargas was the perfect match for Seth. He knew the background, tried extremely hard to not set off any triggers for Seth and allowed Seth to set the pace.
Meanwhile, there is the issue of the kidnapper who is jail, but who is being helped by an anonymous backer intent on getting him out. Who is behind it? Who could possibly want that man set free? It wasn’t quite who I thought, and the clues are deliberately misleading which made for some interesting twists. Some of the aspects in this area were a little out there and a bit unbelievable, but it played in well to the title of this book, as he really was a total psycho!
For some reason, I had not read the first book, though I don’t think it is necessary to fully enjoy this one. However, after reading this, I have added that to my must read list, just so I can fill in the blanks a bit and get a closer look at the previous couple, who play a part in this story. Dylan, one of the other survivors and Seth’s friend, is hiding some major issues that will hopefully be brought to light in the next installment. I can’t wait to see him taken care of! He puts up a good front, but thankfully, others have started to see through his facade and are ready to jump in!
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*