Book Reviews

Ten (Love by Numbers 1) by Tia Fielding

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Drama
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 18-March-2020

Book Blurb

Can two broken men build one life? 


Ten years. 


That’s what Makai lost for a crime he didn’t commit. He’s been exonerated, but the abuse he suffered in prison isn’t so easy to leave behind. He heads to the one place he remembers being happy: Acker, Wisconsin, where he spent summers with his grandpa. Unfortunately, not everyone wants Makai there. 


Ten days. 


That’s how long Emil, now twenty-one, was held prisoner as a teenager. The mental and physical injuries he suffered at the hands of a drug trafficking ring still haunt him. 


Nightmares, anxiety, and PTSD challenge the connection forming between Makai and Emil, though together, they might find a way to move beyond their pain and into a future—and a relationship—that both had thought impossible. 


Now they just have to convince Emil’s father, the town sheriff. It won’t be easy with danger closer than they know….




First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, January 2019.


Book Review

Two wounded souls for whom “10” has a special significance, a ton of complications, and a love that seems impossible for more than one reason are at the center of this emotional drama that pulled me in on page one and didn’t let me go until the final page. Both primary characters are interesting, complex, compelling young men who had my sympathy for what they have gone through as soon as I read the blurb. I loved how they gradually become friends despite all the obstacles they and everyone else identify. As soon as they realize they can help each other, as unlikely as that may seem, they begin to fight for what they want rather than what everyone else thinks might be “good for them” and when they finally admit the feelings that have grown between them, I was a goner.

Makai has a very hard time having been accused of murder when he was twenty, unjustly imprisoned and mistreated there for ten years, and even now that he has been exonerated people still see him as a convict. I don't understand that kind of attitude at all, especially with how kind and shy Makai is, and I was livid on Makai's behalf. I mean – how can you treat a man who was proven innocent like a criminal? It just doesn’t make sense to me. Makai grows a lot even though it is very hard for him to integrate into a society he has not really been part of as an adult. His emotional development is difficult, and even though I wished he’d have an easier time of it, that would not be realistic.

Emil has also had a hard time, though for very different reasons. He is twenty-one and was kidnapped and held for ten days when he was sixteen. He is also the nasty sheriff's son – though the sheriff is very nice and supportive toward Emil. Emil finds his overprotective parents as hard to deal with sometimes as his PTSD. I could see why they would want to protect him, but they end up smothering him instead. Emil also grows tremendously, and I was cheering him along all the way.

Emil and Makai do not expect they can ever have a relationship. They believe love is not for men like them, but as they get to know each other, they figure out that they have enough in common to be able to relate to the other’s problems, and that their issues are, in fact, complementary. Their progress is slow and sometimes painful, but that makes perfect sense. I loved the story even though it drained me emotionally, but in the end the "effort" was well worth it. Makai's thoughts from the final page sum it up perfectly: "He had no illusions on life being perfect, of things being completely resolved and everything being fine from now on. Happiness wasn’t just something that landed on you and stayed, you had to work for it and work on yourself, but every moment like this made it all worthwhile."

If you like romances that are anything but easy, if character-driven stories are your thing, and if you’re looking for a read with a message of hope, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do. It’s an amazing look at the resilience of the human spirit and a very touching love story.





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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 220 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 17-September-2019
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link