Brigham’s Recommendations – “Blue Steel Chain” by Alex Beecroft
At sixteen, Aidan Swift was swept off his feet by a rich older man who promised to take care of him for the rest of his life. But eight years later, his sugar daddy has turned from a prince into a beast. Trapped and terrified, Aidan snatches an hour’s respite at the Trowchester Museum.
Local archaeologist James Huntley is in a failing long distance relationship with a rock star, and Aidan — nervous, bruised, and clearly in need of a champion — brings out all his white knight tendencies. When everything falls apart for Aidan, James saves him from certain death . . . and discovers a skeleton of another boy who wasn’t so lucky.
As Aidan recovers, James falls desperately in love. But though Aidan acts like an adoring boyfriend, he doesn’t seem to feel any sexual attraction at all. Meanwhile there are two angry exes on the horizon, one coming after them with the press and the other with a butcher’s knife. To be together, Aidan and James must conquer death, sex, and everyone’s preconceptions about the right way to love — even their own.
I enjoyed all three of the books in the Trowchester Blues series and I’d recommend all of them. The writing is beautiful and a handful of times I stopped just to ponder the way the writer chose to word something.
The third book stood out to me in particular though. The first two books were excellent, but “Blue Steel Chain” resonated with me on a deeper level. Aidan’s relationship with Piers-his sugar daddy-is truly, gut-wrenchingly horrible. And the more you learn about it, the worse it gets. That being said, none of Aidan’s experiences seem written for titillation, but strictly to further the plot.
James’ previous relationship with Dave-the rock star-is less abusive, but still very painful. At times, it was frustrating to see James’ struggle to move on, but his journey to understand that he deserves better from a partner was very interesting.
Aidan’s escape from Piers and Piers’ pursuit of him kept me on the edge of my seat, but what really sold this story for me was the way the relationship between James and Aiden developed.
They seemed so perfect for each other, until the sexual tension began to rise. It’s still relatively rare to read about ACE characters, and I’ll be the first to admit that the idea of asexuality is something I’ve been actively working to wrap my brain around. This story gave one of the best explanations that I’ve read thus far and did it in a way that didn’t feel preachy. Aidan’s understanding of himself and James’ understanding of his new partner was very well-written. It was a natural evolution for the characters and thus, the reader.
Was the sexual tension off the charts (particularly from James’ perspective)? Yes. Was I disappointed that their sex life didn’t go the way a typical romance does? Not at all. The way they were able to work together and find ways to have a relationship despite the differences in their sexualities. The compromises they made were satisfying to both of them and I loved the way the story wrapped up.
This story was the perfect blend of dramatic action and touching romance and I can’t recommend it highly enough.