I have been getting asked many questions about this book and so I am making this blog so I can point people here.
The Story of You Synopsis
When Mama got sick, Father crumbled with her. It was as if they depended on each other to be a whole person. I like to tell Oliver that Father placed him in my arms when they got home from the hospital, but in truth, he was an afterthought. Oliver didn’t have parents, he had me, his fifteen-year-old brother who had never held a baby before let alone looked after one.
Watching Mama wither should have been the worst of it, but what came after that shadowed her death like a cold mountainside. I was never the same.
It’s natural for Oliver to be curious about our past, but watching him cry as he flips through the pages of my journal triggers all my protective instincts and I want to stuff him in my ’73 Monte Carlo and head for Canada. It stirs the punishing emotions I wanted to keep long buried.
Butterfly. Butterfly. Butterfly.
I had to leave with Oliver. Leaving was the only way to save him.
“Nothing will ever hurt you again, Eaglet. I’m not much, but I’ll become something for you.”
But I left something behind. Something so forbidden, all it’s done is burn me from the inside for twenty-one years. I have been running from this moment ever since. It has found me. More accurately, it has always been watching me.
This is a dark story with dark themes, some of taboo nature. There is horror and terror and very, very, bad things. Also forbidden things and potentially trigging things. Please heed the content advisory. There is love within the pages, but this is not a romance story. There is also a beautiful found family of men. Beautiful gay husbands and boyfriends. Brotherly fortitude. And as always, the caretaking dynamic Mock (S. Legend) is known best for.
This book is in the domestic thriller, dysfunctional family, and family fiction genre. It is not in the romance category at all because it does not have the same amount of romantic focus that book one did and I don't consider this one. Love and romance and sex happens! It's just not the main event.
Keep reading to find out what it is about ...
About This Book
The overarching plot (over three books) is about the Randall brothers, the trauma they went through as children, the bonds they formed, and how this affected past relationships and will affect any future relationships they may form. It explores attachment styles and how these shape us and make us feel safe. The men are forced to question their current coping mechanisms and when they realize what they are (because often we cope using methods we are unaware of) they aren't sure if they want to let go f them. It's hard and scary. Coping mechanisms might come at a cost, but they make us feel safe, and letting go requires a cataclysmic event and more bravery than we sometimes have.
Because the book has what retailers consider "erotic sex" in it, I have to advertise this, but it's the background of this story and as much as I love sexy scenes, I've enjoyed writing this aspect as threads within the seam rather than the whole hem job. Like, "Everyday Kinky" rather than "It's so 'abnormal' that we have to spotlight it every time it's mentioned. Ergo, this book is not the best piece of literature for someone who isn't familiar with various "kink" dynamics (many, many, many are spun together) but it's perfect for someone who has already read a lot of 101-style literature and wants to skip all the kink and sexuality dynamic lectures. You get to just journey with these guys as a fun thrill.
We read Silas's journal with Oliver in which Silas tells us all about the horrific childhood he had and we can see how it's shaped him. At the same time, Oliver was with Silas all the while, but being much younger, he doesn't remember what he lived through. It's affected him in ways he's discovering. This is a very real phenomenon. From age 0 - 7, we're in a state of hypnosis (theta brain waves). We absorb information without knowing what we are taking in. We give it a meaning, but we are giving it a meaning with our young minds, and what we perceive something to mean at age 5 would be much different than the interpretation our 30-year-old mind would have. But this is carried through via our subconscious mind (~95% of our mind, considered the record player of our mind) and becomes part of our personality and our daily patterns, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, etc...
Oliver's little mind latched onto Silas, his only protector and this has stayed with him.
Silas was older and more aware, but he was still shaped by these events. Their traumas were complimentary.
As a result, they form a (trauma) bond for comfort that outsiders will judge (and no, this is NOT the taboo part, lol) and won't understand, but hopefully (maybe) the audience can as they watch events unfold via Silas's journal (which has contributions from Darry and Simon).
Safety, transformation, coping with mental health struggles, and letting go are big themes in this series and are dug into heavily in book 2 in particular.
You can only let go when you feel safe. You can only transform when you let go. I keep thinking about this quote:
How does one become a butterfly? They have to want to learn to fly so much that they are willing to give up being a caterpillar. –Trina Paulus, Hope for the Flowers
In other words, transforming requires letting go of something you are now. Maybe something you've outgrown. Maybe something you no longer want to be. Whatever the case, it's scary to let go of what you know is safe vs. the unknown, which will likely be wrought with danger and discomfort before you reach comfort.
Finally, struggles with mental health usually result in us doing these two things: holding on tight (control) and making us feel very unsafe (like there is a tiger chasing us) even where there is no imminent danger in sight. These ideas, safety, transformation, and coping with mental health are therefore interconnected. Silas and Oliver had their coping mechanisms for this to a science, but then Julius comes along in book one and is the catalyst for BOTH of them.
I am a tad biased. Writing the Oliver and Silas relationship was one of my favorites to write. It is so deep. There are so many layers. I never get bored of exploring all their nuances. Silas is so devoted to Oliver and Oliver is attached to Silas, understanding him in a way no one else will.
I do look forward to exploring more of Darry and Oliver too. They also have a special bond even though it's different. Brotherly bonds are one of my all-time favorites to write and read. Only second to fatherly bonds (which is where I consider Silas in this -- as a father to Oliver vs. his brother).
Another idea is being present. This is where Darius comes in. There are countless ways to escape reality. Darry escapes reality by drinking. Darry challenged his demons the most in book one so he's already in a much better place in book 2. He's not "out of the woods" but things are different. Wyatt is his catalyst (as much as Darry and Asher are Wyatt's). He's got a new reason to be in the present.
Then there is Simon, Shane, and Asher! This has gotten long. I will come back to add to this. Simon is a deep character and I love his role in the family. Shane has a history as hinted in book 2. I might need to do a separate book sometime to explore them in a more detailed way. We get to see some of what happened to them as teens. In book 3 we'll see them fitting into the Randall family.
Asher did want to speak a few times while I wrote book 2, but I know so many POV's is a distracting read so I didn't include those parts. I might do an outtake or something for him. Either way, we'll get to know him more this book and then even more in book 3.
Last (but not least by far) is Lakshan. This character is very dear to me. He also has a backstory we won't see in book 2. It'll come out in book 3. He's an old soul and a pure heart like Silas. They meet when Silas was lost. Lakshan finds him and plays a major role in his healing, but Silas does the same for Lakshan in a different way. Can't wait to write book 3! It's bound to be gritty.
Gah! So much to explore in this one book. And kink does play its role too, but there are just so, so many things. I've been enjoying every moment of these boys.
Why Is This Book Taboo?
I can't give too much away here for two reasons. One, even on my own website there are things I can't say so I will say it like this. Silas x Aleksander have a relationship and that is the taboo one. If you read the first book, you know who Aleksander is to Silas. It's also dubious consent because of Silas's state of mind. I wrote it so the reader could be as much of an observer as possible.
Two, I don't want to influence reader opinion with my own bias. If I say too much, my own biases/opinions will filter through whether I want them to or not.
What Is The Difference Between the Unholy Version and The "Safer" Version?
I cannot stress enough, the story is the same in BOTH versions. Amazon does allow taboo under certain parameters. Unclear ones, but it's permitted. So if you cannot do taboo at all, do not read either version.
In the Unholy version, we're right next to the action. Showing vs. telling is used to tell this part. We are in Silas's POV as he tells us via his journal as an adult man. Interactions with Aleksander are on-screen. I didn't write super graphic sex because there was another feeling I was trying to get across to the audience. However, the parameters on Eden Books are such that I had to rate the book a heat level of "4/5 Lips" LOL! From my rating system, it's more of a 3/5 (Um, Mock points, I guess?).
In the "safer" version, we are told the events third-hand from Oliver's POV as he reads them. The reader gets as much distance as possible from the events because the writing technique used is telling vs. showing. Oliver summarizes for us, which means all on-screen sex between Silas and Aleksander is removed (Oliver edits all that out for us, lol). Basically, the taboo bit is diluted severely, but not gone.
Trigger Warnings and Tagging Information
Content Advisory: This book contains themes some readers may find dark while other readers may not find them dark at all. Child abuse. Dubious Consent. Grooming. Mindfuck. Narcissistic parent. Taboo subject matter (on-screen). Mentions of teens having sex with other teens (off-screen). Violence. References to suicide, alcohol use, and alcohol addiction. Panic attacks.
consensual-non-consent (mild). polyamorous relationships. Fantasied domestic discipline. Lots and lots of spanking (non-consensual spanking, consensual-non-consent spanking, non-sexual spanking). Rough sexual play. Daddy “kink” (mild). Found family. Domestic discipline.
Beyond lies fiction. This book is not meant to instruct or depict any kind of lifestyle. This book does not follow any particular set of rules or morals. Although the themes are real, this should be considered a fantasied version of this lifestyle, written to create a particular feel, one the author, her readers, and the characters love best. The author does not write “how-to” guides. She writes for fun and entertainment, period.
Should you resonate with the themes of this book, it is important to seek guidance that is not this book.
Where Will Each Version Be?
If you have any other questions, feel free to email me here: email@example.com. Just please make sure to introduce yourself a little if I don't know you (Hi Mock, I am a long-time reader ... or Hi Mock, I'm a new reader and ... ). Due to the nature of this book, I want to make sure I'm speaking to friend and not foe. I will keep updating this blog if I get any more questions I think many would like answered.