Can a young man find the courage he never knew he had when faced with losing everything he holds dear?
A few months before his final exams in secondary school, nineteen-year-old Lennart Kelly discovers he’s inherited a house on Adelaide Road in Dublin from a grandfather he never knew. Having been ignored, bullied and abused for as long as he can remember, Lennart can’t wait to leave behind his father and the small town he grew up in. Moving away as soon as he finishes his exams doesn’t cure his deep-rooted insecurities though.
Meeting twenty-three-year-old Aidan Cassidy in a gay club on his second night in Dublin, scares Lennart. Used to being ignored and ridiculed, he doesn’t trust the attention he receives and can’t believe a man like Aidan could possibly be interested in him. It takes infinite patience and understanding from Aidan to slowly coax Lennart out of his shell.
But the past refuses to stay where it belongs and Lennart’s father is determined to take the house in Dublin off his son by whatever means necessary. Just when Lennart is learning to trust and embrace life, a violent attack threatens everything he holds dear. Suddenly Lennart is in danger of losing his house, the man he’s grown to love and maybe even his life. If Lennart wants to protect Aidan and safeguard his future, he’ll have to find the courage he never knew he had.
“Are you ready?”
I frowned at myself in the mirror. I looked ridiculous and couldn’t believe I intended to go out dressed like this. Aidan had been messing with my hair until it fell any which way, with one or two tuffs sticking up to accentuate the disorganisation. I scowled at the white shirt, grey jumper and yellow and burgundy tie.
“Hey, did you hear me?”
Aidan appeared behind me in the mirror and grinned. Trust him to look great. Dressed in identical outfits we should have looked the same. Yet here I was, a prime example of the ultimate dork, while Aidan, as always, looked hot as hell. The added dark rimmed glasses and the scar he’d painted on his forehead accentuated his cuteness and made me want to jump him there and then and forget about the evening ahead of us.
“I look like a bloody eejit. Why did I allow you to talk me into this?”
“You love me.” His grin grew wicked and I couldn’t help returning it.
“Yeah, I do. Sometimes I wonder if I don’t love you too much.”
“Come on. Stop moaning.” Aidan punched me lightly. “It will be fun. What’s not to like about a night out dressed up as Harry and Ron?”
“Going out as ourselves?” I raised an eyebrow at him before frowning at our costumes again.
“Stop sulking. We’ll have fun. The whole town is going to be dressed up tonight. Besides, I can’t go out with the lads from work and not wear a costume. Trust me, you got off light.”
I nodded and smiled. Old habits apparently died hard but I was more than ready to embrace another new experience. I’d be a fool to spoil my first ever night out with the lads with my sulky behaviour.
* * * *
At the restaurant, Larry, Aidan’s manager, smiled at us when we reached the table. “Here we have Gryffindorians. Great outfits, lads, although it does remind me of this fan fiction my wife is forever talking about and reading. I’m not sure I want that image in my head right now.”
My cheeks flamed up to match the colour of my hair as some of Aidan’s colleagues burst out laughing while others clearly had no idea what Larry meant. I did. I’d read some of those stories online and one quick glance at Aidan told me he had as well and that he’d had those very stories in mind when he’d suggested our costumes.
“Cockus Engorgio.” Aidan smirked at me as he whispered the words while we sat down and damn if his words didn’t have exactly that effect on me. I said a silent prayer of thanks for the tablecloth covering my crotch as I tried to ignore his still sniggering colleagues.
I read “Scenes from Adelaide Road” twice. Once as a beta reader and again yesterday, both to make sure I had read the most up-to-date version and refresh my memory, and because it was a lovely story worth reading again.
The one thing that struck me both times I read this story was how sweet it was. Not that Lennart and Aidan didn’t have some very serious, weighty issues to deal with, but their innate goodness and sweetness together shines through. This isn’t a light or frivolous story by any means, but there’s just the right amount of humor and well, romance, to balance those weighty issues.
Seeing the delights of new love and a first relationship are so joyful through Lennart’s eyes and his wonder about everything is very sweet. Although he’s plagued by insecurity and doubts, his enjoyment of the newness of it all is wonderful.
Lennart can be a bit frustrating–at times I wanted to shake him–and I can’t say enough about Aidan’s patience with him. But the dynamic between them seemed very natural and realistic.
Lennart’s journey from beginning to end is more profound than Aidan’s, but there is no question that they both grow as men throughout the story. The backstory about Lennart’s family is fascinating (and should Helena ever want to write the story of Lennart’s grandfather and HIS relationships, I would dearly love it).
The complexity of his relationship with Lennart’s father, and thus Lennart’s father’s interactions with Lennart played such an interesting role in the story. I loved the setting of Dublin and the way it–and Adelaide Road and Lennart’s grandfather’s house–had their parts to play in the story as well.
This is a beautiful story of first love and emotional growth and I can’t recommend it highly enough!
About the Author and Contact Info:
Helena Stone can’t remember a life before words and reading. After growing up in a household where no holiday or festivity was complete without at least one new book, it’s hardly surprising she now owns more books than shelf space while her Kindle is about to explode.
The urge to write came as a surprise. The realisation that people might enjoy her words was a shock to say the least. Now that the writing bug has well and truly taken hold, Helena can no longer imagine not sharing the characters in her head and heart with the rest of the world.
Having left the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam for the peace and quiet of the Irish Country side she divides her time between reading, writing, long and often wet walks with the dog, her part-time job in a library, a grown-up daughter and her ever loving and patient husband.
Helena can be found in the following places: