The Chase and the Catch by A.F. Henley
After one of his fans committed suicide, John lost everything: lover, confidence, drive. When he is given a chance to get back on his feet, he is happy to take it—even if it’s just writing an actor’s autobiography. It might not be romance, or even fiction, but it’s something, and there are worse people to work for than the charming, successful Parker Chase.
That doesn’t mean working for Parker is easy, however. A staunch supporter of living for the moment, Parker goes against everything John believes in. He feels out of place in every moment of Parker’s Hollywood life, stuck in a game of wits that at times seems almost contrived…
My rating: ★★★★★
My Review (Warning: Spoiler Alert!!):
Mind games. That’s what happens when two broken people collide. This is what The Chase and the Catch by A.F. Henley is all about and more.
One of John Liege’s fans committed suicide, an incident which left John broken, suffused with guilt and despair, unable to move forward. Most days he feels like he was going to lose his mind—it didn’t matter whether he was awake or fast asleep—the incident haunts him. Most people are lucky they didn’t have to be plagued with regret and guilt of having failed to protect a loved one… but John was one of the unlucky ones. Though in John’s case, it was a fan, but it didn’t matter, the effect was the same for him anyway. His guilt was palpable, his heart was broken, there were the endless nightmares, and the endless questions running through his head over and over.
Parker Chase on the other hand, grew up surrounded by people who adored him. But he didn’t even know who he really was, how could these people claim to love him? Well-aware he was surrounded with phonies, Parker became a jaded and a hard person. I don’t even want to start with his issues. Suffice to say his being jaded helped twist his mentality, making him engage in mind games.
John and Parker were both on the defense and offense from the get-go, each refused to be outdone but it was clear they were drawn to each other.
The Chase and the Catch by A.F. Henley is a classic example of hate you love you (HYLY) trope, but what made the story more complicated are the mind games and the characters’ respective mile long issues. And this is where my love for this book begins. For me, what makes a book memorable is when its readers are able to connect with the characters. Then of course there’s the plot, the prose, the dialogue (there were some lines in this book that had me laughing out loud, that, after some scenes made me bawl my eyes out lol). I believe this book has all of the above and will go to my reread list. Definitely.
Brilliant sunlight shot daggers of pain into John’s eyes and he fumbled for his sunglasses with one hand, blocking with the other, as if, somehow, a single leather-gloved hand would do any good against the assault. Snow had fallen the previous night and everything gleamed with the lustre of freshly polished silver. The parking lot was a postcard-worthy image of pristine white surfaces surrounded by burdened evergreen branches and puff-capped fence posts—the kind of scene that a year prior would have found John dragging out his tablet, inspired into tapping words about flush-cheeked kiddies or curiously joyful rodents. Now the view just made him want to growl about delays and inconveniences.
“Did you call ahead?”
John adjusted his sunglasses, flipped up his collar, and thumbed at the dash of the car. “Yeah. No flight delays. Pop the trunk, will you?” When his sister didn’t react, John tilted his head and sighed. “What?”
She didn’t hesitate, but then Jenna never did. With everyone in his life still treating him like he was going to explode into a million shards of anxiety every time he opened his mouth, Jenna could be counted on to speak when she felt like she needed to. And even the times when she just damn well wanted to. “You don’t have to do this.”
“Actually, no, I really do.” He worked up a smile. “I mean, I could drive, but the weather’s kind of shitty and it would take me something like thirty-five hours.”
“I don’t mean the flying and you know it.” Jenna snagged his jacket when John reached for the door handle. “You don’t have to run off and do this. The writing will come back to you when you’re ready. Since when does a person trade poetry and romance for scribbling down some guy’s autobiography?”
John held up a finger. “Biography. My perspective. An autobiography would be—”
“What the fuck ever. Don’t change the subject. Let’s just say that this does end up being a good thing for your career.” She caught his gaze when he looked up with another smile, and pursed her lips. “It won’t be. But regardless. Why do you have to go down there? Why can’t you do it like a normal twenty-first century human being and use Skype? Or you know, the telephone? Why do you have to be a billion miles away from home? I can’t be the only one who thinks this isn’t the smartest idea you’ve ever come up with. You haven’t exactly been…” She tapped her temple. “Well.”
John rolled his eyes and drew a snort of disgust through his nostrils in the extended, too loud way that he knew drove her crazy.
Jenna’s grip tightened into a fist. “Seriously. I’ve done some research on this guy, John—”
“Really?” John feigned absolute shock. “Me too! Weird…”
“I’m just not sure you’ve thought this all the way through. The guy can be an asshole. Self-centered, pompous—”
He disengaged Jenna’s fingers from his coat, placed her hand on the seat, and patted the back of it. “I’m sure his fans would disagree. As a matter of fact, most of them would have you drawn and quartered for even daring to think such a thing.”
“I couldn’t give a single fuck about any of his fans.” Her fingertips began to play a beat on the vinyl seat. “I care about you. And you already feel bad enough without immersing yourself into the life of a narcissist—”
John whistled through his teeth. “Harsh.”
“Read the blogs.”
John rolled his eyes and snapped the handle of the door. The onslaught of cold air was immediate. A good thing, John decided. It would get him out of the car that much faster if Jenna was shivering like a Chihuahua. “I’ve read the blogs. And I’ve read his Twitter and stalked his Tumblr and, and, and. He’s interesting. There’s a good story hidden behind that damn mask he’s been wearing for the last decade, and I want to be the one to dig it out.”
“You write romance—”
“No.” John drew himself out of the car and then turned back to lock up their eyes. “I write. Plain and simple. Now, please, pop the trunk. Because if I miss this flight due to the fact you’re holding my luggage hostage, I swear to God that I will make you pay for the next one. First class, nonetheless.”
He shut the door with a solid swing and walked to the back of the car to wait for the latch to release. The sound of the trunk popping was almost simultaneous with the clunk of the driver’s door opening.
“You call every day,” Jenna said, rounding the car, the high heels of her boots managing to click soundly even through the layer of snow. “I mean every fucking day.”
John dragged two suitcases out of the car and nodded at the open trunk. “I will. Get that for me, please?”
She ignored the trunk to worry her hands against one another. “And take your medication.”
“I haven’t been on meds for weeks now.” It was somewhat of a lie, but John soothed himself with the thought that the statement was mostly true. He still took the sleeping pills, but the antidepressants were gone. Thank fuck.
“By doctor’s orders or your own?” Jenna’s glare was colder than the wind.
John leaned forward, kissed Jenna on the cheek, and turned towards the glass doors of the airport. “Be good, Jen. And get back in the car before you freeze to death. Mom would kill you if she saw you out here in that jacket.”
“I can park,” Jenna called. “Come in and sit with you?”
“No time.” He kicked the silver disc that would operate the automatic door. “Flight’s probably already boarding.” He slipped through the half-open door. “Drive safe.”
“And what do I do if Sam calls?”
John bit back the reaction to tell Jenna she could invent new ways to penetrate the man with large, unforgiving objects, and pass them on to Sam in graphic detail. Instead: “He won’t.”
“But if he does?”
She was still standing beside the open trunk when he turned to walk away. She was worried. They all were: his agent, his parents, and his friends; her husband Mark, and probably both their terriers and their entire tank of fish. Not that he could blame them. It hadn’t been a good year. He’d always been able to use his writing to get him away from his problems, a retreat of sorts, where he could work things out in his head before having to deal with them. So when the words had abandoned him, be it in retaliation for the pills he’d taken too frequently, or because his brain was too busy focusing on the images of horror that kept playing through it, John had thought he was going to lose his mind.
Confusion had become depression. Panic escalated into obsessive-compulsive behaviour. He was no longer ‘that crazy writer.’ He was just fucking crazy.
“But this is writing,” John mumbled, staring at the flight board and trying to make his eyes focus on the words that would tell him where to go. “It’s still writing.” After all, what biography wasn’t spiced a bit here and there? Perspective was everything. And if Mr. Parker Chase—actor-extraordinaire, supposed-charmer, but potentially more-of-an-egotistical-dick-than-his-agent-would-like-anyone-to-know—was willing to let John be the one to offer that perspective, then it didn’t matter that the story wasn’t fiction. Or romance. Or even working its way towards a happy ending. He could live with the compromise just to be at it again.
For the time being, at least.
Copyright © 2014 by A.F. Henley
Published by Less Than Three Press
Gay Contemporary Romance
Purchasing Link: @Less Than Three Press
Please note: Novel contains some explicit content.
About the Author:
Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica.
A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.
Henley has been proudly working with LT3 since 2012, and has been writing like mad ever since—an indentured servant to the belief that romance and true love can mend the most broken soul. Even when presented in prose.
Find more here:
Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/A.-F.-Henley/e/B00FIODWSK/
Publisher’s Page: http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/author-a-f-henley/