“Love is a thing … It’s kind of like quicksand: The more you are in it, the deeper you sink. And when it hits you, you’ve just got to fall.” – UB40
Title: Pick Up the Pieces (The Light In Your Eyes: Book One)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 324 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Fifteen-year-old Theo Bascopolis longs for the man of his dreams. But his dreams are dashed when his conservative Greek father discovers Theo is gay and throws him out. Hopeless, he falls in with Fast Franky, a pimp who seduces Theo with the nickname “Sweetcheeks,” but abuses him and wants Theo to hustle. A bloody fight with Franky forces Sweetcheeks to run. Winding up in Washington, DC, he meets a group of rent boys who take care of each other. While he may not have the man of his dreams, Theo finally has a home and family of his own making.
When the boys take in mysterious tenant Mark Vincent, he seems a solid protector, until one of Sweetcheeks’s boys suffers a savage beating in his name. Vincent visits the boy in the hospital and introduces his equally enigmatic trainee, William Matheson. The instant attraction blindsides Sweetcheeks. In spite of knowing love isn’t for rent boys, Sweetcheeks hopes Matheson sees beyond the body he’s offered to so many. But Matheson has secrets of his own, and both will have to tear down their walls to find enduring love.
Review: I am a HUGE fan of the Spy v. Spook series by Tinnean, so I was jazzed to see this story come up on the Dreamspinner list. While falling in love with Mark and Quinn in the earlier books, we got to meet Theo “Sweetcheeks” Bascopolis and Will Matheson. They were supporting characters, so we didn’t get much of their story, but now we are getting a “behind the scenes” look into their relationship.
As expected, when a 15-year-old boy becomes a prostitute, there isn’t a very happy backstory. Theo’s story started out with betrayal from his family and then continued with more betrayal at the hands of a man he thought loved him.
When Theo runs, he ends up forming a rag-tag family with some other rent boys. When Mark Vincent moves in, they don’t know much about him, but they figure since he is tough he can be a line of protection for the boys. When his mysterious job causes serious harm to one of them, it sets Theo on a course to meet Will. Will is training with Mark, and when he meets Theo, it is like being struck by lightning.
Even with the strong attraction they share, their lives are so different that it causes a lot of tension between them. Theo never thought he would find love, and Will can’t tell Theo anything about his job. Theo is also the first man Will has ever had anything serious with. Both men have to overcome issues with the other, but their love is strong.
Parts of this book were difficult to read and my heart broke for the young Theo, but I loved the story. You can definitely enjoy this book without reading the Spy v. Spook series, but reading those books first adds so much more to this one. I especially loved seeing Mark and their shared experiences through Theo’s POV.
If you are a fan of romance, spies and rentboys, then this book should tick all your boxes. I highly recommend this book and the entire Spy v. Spook series.
You can buy Pick Up the Pieces (The Light In Your Eyes: Book One) here: