Inertia by Amelia C. Gormley is the first of three books in the Impulse series and the debut publication for this author. It is a well-written novella-length m/m erotic romance that chronicles the beginnings and slow development of the relationship between Derrick Chance and Gavin Hayes.
Derrick is a handyman/carpenter who has chosen a quiet and solitary life in response to the deaths of his parents and brother, and his grandparents, with whom he lived and cared for when they fell ill in their latter years. Derrick is content with his quiet life. He has his work, which he enjoys, his dog and his friends Devon and his wife, and Miss Ingrid, his grandmother’s best friend who lives down the street. Gavin is a former dancer turned accountant. He is relatively outgoing, but vacillates between exuding confidence and doubt.
They first meet when Derrick is commissioned to build bookshelves in Gavin’s home and the sparks immediately fly. Because Derrick’s been in self-imposed exile from love relationships, shying away from any sexual or emotional involvement with anyone, he initially can’t bring himself to act on his strong attraction and respond to Gavin’s flirtations. Eventually, Derrick is drawn in and finds himself falling for Gavin in defiance of all his cautious ways. But Gavin carries wounds of his own. Fresh from an emotionally abusive relationship that ended with a dangerous betrayal, his future is far from certain. Derrick finds himself having to choose between desire and emotional safety, and to convince himself that Gavin is worth the risk of allowing himself to love in the face of the possibility of yet another loss.
“Why had he let himself be attracted to Gavin in the first place? It wasn’t like him. He’d gotten so used to shutting down any hint of interest he might feel toward another person that to do so was second nature. He didn’t ignore the attraction he felt for other people; he simply never let himself feel attraction to begin with.”
Inertia is narrated in the third person exclusively from Derrick’s perspective and the author ascribes a rich inner voice to this character. Through his inner dialogue the reader comes to fully understand the trauma of Derrick’s loses and the motivation behind his reluctance for any sexual or emotional involvement. Inertia is very much a character-driven story, and because it is narrated solely from Derrick’s point of view, it is through his perspective that much of the story unfolds and through which the reader gets to know Gavin.
Although the character of Gavin is somewhat less developed, the writing captures the fundamental nature of this character. More experienced and extroverted than Derrick, Gavin is very much the initiator in their relationship and his disposition helps to draw Derrick out, serving as a good counter-balance to Derrick’s more reserved nature. At the same time, the author captures the nuances of this character, his bouts of confidence and doubt, exuberance and hesitation, well portraying a man that’s just come out of an abusive relationship and the frightening consequences of that relationship, which may change Gavin’s life forever.
There is much sexual tension between Derrick and Gavin from their very first scene together and the author draws out this tension throughout most of the story by growing their relationship very slowly. Given Derrick’s inexperience and reluctance to allow himself to become emotionally involved with anyone, there are fits and starts to their relationship, but the slow burn remains constant, incrementally heightening the sexual tension between the two. Midway through the story the author throws a curve that momentarily increases Derrick’s anxiety about becoming involved with Gavin. This dynamic works quite well in building the reader’s anticipation for when they do get together; and when they finally do, their love scenes sizzle.
There were a couple of aspects of the story that didn’t work so well for me. I found that Derrick’s narrative was, at times, a little too detailed and prone to over-description in respect of the more mundane aspects of his life. In addition, I found the manner in which the story ended quite abrupt, but at the same time somewhat anti-climatic. While Inertia is the first of three books in Derrick and Gavin’s continuing story, the final part of the story read more like the end of a chapter rather than the end of the first book in a continuing series.
Despite my few misgivings, I did enjoy Derrick and Gavin’s journey. Inertia is a solid beginning for this author and I look forward to reading Acceleration, the second installment in the Impulse series.