Title: Running Blind
Author: Venona Keyes and Kim Fielding
Genre: Contemporary, Disability
Length: Novel (200 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (November 7th 2016)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 hearts
Blurb: Kyle Green is on top of the world. He and Matt have been together for ten years, and—as the voice of Ecos, the wildly popular anime character—Kyle is treated like a rock star in anime circles. But in an instant, a stroke leaves him blind. When photographer Matt gets the opportunity of a lifetime, Kyle reexamines their relationship, discovers it has been a safety net rather than a true romance, and sets Matt free to pursue his dream. Kyle’s life and career as he knew them are gone, and he must now find the courage and creativity to draft a new plan.
After being away for fifteen years, Seth Caplan comes home to Chicago to care for his mother and to partner with a small start-up tech company. He and Kyle meet after Kyle’s collision with a child’s sidewalk toy, and they hit it off. Kyle wants to get back into running, and Seth becomes his guide. As they get to know each other, they start seeing each other beyond their three-times-a-week runs. But Seth’s revelation of the dark reason why he left his career in California sends the relationship into a tailspin and leaves both men running blind.
Review: I’ve never heard of Venona Keyes before, but I’m a big fan of Kim Fielding and I’ll read anything she writes. I was surprised it took me a while to get into this book, because usually Kim Fielding’s writing sucks me right in, so I blame it on the collaboration. But once I got into it, it managed to keep my attention.
Kyle’s world is turned upside down after a freak of nature: a stroke that leaves him with Riddoch syndrome, which only allows him to see objects in movement. I haven’t heard much about this syndrome, but it made sense to me and I liked how it was presented to us without making me feel like I’m taking lessons in medical school. Kyle is no longer able to do his job as the voice of Ecos, a very popular anime character, breaks up the relationship with his longtime boyfriend Matt, and finds ways to accept his new situation and move forward.
I loved how despite the shitty situation, Kyle avoided turning into a bitter asshole. He accepted help and worked hard to improve the quality of his new life, so when given the chance to resume running with a running guide, he takes it. Seth Caplan moved back to Chicago to take care of his mother who suffers of dementia and to partner with a small tech company. Seth and Kyle hit it right off and they become good friends, but neither of them is looking for a relationship. But the more time they spend together, the harder it is to ignore the attraction between them.
Let me tell you this isn’t exactly a steamy book, and it takes forever to get to the lonely little sex scene. But somehow this kind of worked, because the focus of this story is Kyle taking charge of his life again. There are dates and romance, but there’s no explosive chemistry anywhere to be seen.
I also loved how Kyle’s relationship with Matt didn’t become bitter and hateful. They both realized they’ve always been more friends than lovers, and remained good friends even after they ended their relationship. We even get to see Kyle and Seth together with Matt and his new boyfriend, which made me stupidly happy.
The HEA is sweet and strong and beautiful and full of hope. Overall this was a pretty great book!