Dreamspinner Press

The Cellmate by Rachel West

I haven’t read a lot of prison dramas—more than a couple, though, and The Cellmate is unlike any I’ve ever read before. If you’re looking for a raw, gritty, confrontational, in-your-face story filled with violence and non-con/dub-con sex, then skip this one because it’s not at all what you’re looking for.

The Cellmate is a lovely story; it’s gentle and romantic, which is the perfect fit for the characters. They’re both so young, and in spite of the fact that they’re convicted criminals, are also incredibly innocent, and I loved that contrast. Jesse is a victim, a victim of circumstance, a victim of betrayal; the only criminal act Jesse ever committed is being gay—according to his father.

But Andy is no victim. No, he really did commit a crime of sheer stupidity and is paying the price for that act. He’s exactly where he should be, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be given a second chance. He knows he screwed up and is remorseful for his decision to get behind the wheel of a car, drunk. But remorse and regret don’t mean squat to the victim of his stupidity. Good people do bad things all the time, and Andy’s one of them.

This is a story of two young men who try to make the best of the hands they’ve been dealt, finding comfort in each other’s bodies in the dark that does nothing more than offer them the illusion of privacy, but it’s not long before that distant intimacy grows into something more. It’s not an easy journey by any means, though. Jesse is haunted by his past and it takes patience and no small amount of hurt for Andy to break through the barriers Jesse tries to build around himself. In the end, they both find redemption in each other and atonement for their actions and find that doing time may not have been an excuse for the crime—or for the sacrifice, in Jesse’s case—but the reward was well worth it in the end.

I’m a fan of Rachel West’s Everything Under the Sun and I connected just as well with her easy-going writing style and the open and honest emotion of her characters in this short but touching story.

This author hasn’t released anything new in a while; I hope that’ll change some day soon.

Buy The Cellmate HERE.

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