Love Can't Conquer Book Cover Love Can't Conquer
Love Can't
Kim Fielding
MM Romance
Dreamspinner Press
June 3, 2016

Bullied as a child in small-town Kansas, Jeremy Cox ultimately escaped to Portland, Oregon. Now in his forties, he’s an urban park ranger who does his best to rescue runaways and other street people. His ex-boyfriend, Donny—lost to drinking and drugs six years earlier—appears on his doorstep and inadvertently drags Jeremy into danger. As if dealing with Donny’s issues doesn’t cause enough turmoil, Jeremy meets a fascinating but enigmatic man who carries more than his fair share of problems.

Qayin Hill has almost nothing but skeletons in his closet and demons in his head. A former addict who struggles with anxiety and depression, Qay doesn’t know which of his secrets to reveal to Jeremy—or how to react when Jeremy wants to save him from himself.

Despite the pasts that continue to haunt them, Jeremy and Qay find passion, friendship, and a tentative hope for the future. Now they need to decide whether love is truly a powerful thing or if, despite the old adage, love can’t conquer all.

Reviewed by Xanthe
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

For me, this is a story of pain, love and hope. Two men have pasts that continue to impact on their daily lives and are in need of the love and support that they can provide for each other.

Jeremy has a great home and enjoys his work but is struggling with his lack of social life or romantic prospects. Meeting Qayin is maybe serendipity with an unknown connection that they have but there’s a spark between them right from the first time they make eye contact. Qay has a very dark story and his past has caused him so much heartache. He has many demons to fight including his childhood, mental health and addiction. To him, Jeremy has all his life boxes ticked and has it all together.

Along with a possible new relationship, Jeremy has to deal with the drama that his ex, Donny, left on his doorstep and Qay has community college, a manager that is getting on his last nerve and every day struggles with sobriety.

I love that the men take time to get to know each other, talking about nothing at all and important things. Their first road block doesn’t take long to arise but after a moment of anger, contemplation brings Jeremy back to Qay and they continue on. They fit well together and you can feel how much they anticipate being around each other and need the connection that they share.

It’s a good story in that it sheds light on some of the lost souls that are often overlooked in towns and cities, reminding us that everyone has their own individual story. Qay was one of those people and Jeremy ensures that these people, if he can, are helped and moved onto somewhere that can provide food/shelter. The easy road is definitely not something that Qay travels in his past or in this story. Though he has a blossoming relationship with Jeremy, that itself can bring up a whole host of emotions and turmoil, especially for someone with an overactive mind and so many negative thoughts about himself. Even after seven years of being sober, every day is a battle for someone who has an addiction and Kim has written that very well as we follow Qay on his journey with Jeremy. One of my favourite lines from the book is that a marathon runner is alone for the race but always has the support, guidance and friendship of his coach, friends, family etc.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story. The characters worked so well together, the relationship built up with several highs and lows to test it. Donny, Jeremy’s ex, brought a lot of drama and danger to his life which goes on to impact his how he connects with Qay. Along with Jeremy and Qay, we have several secondary characters that bring a great amount of friendship, love and support to the story. Rhoda is eccentric and a perfect friend for Jeremy, pushing him when needed but also giving the two men the time to get to know each other. The end finished kind of abruptly for me, with a big moment happening between the MCs and then we just go to an epilogue, whereas I felt a little more could have been done with the impact on their mental and emotional states along with the permanency of the relationship.

A story that I would recommend, though would put a possible trigger warning on for talk of addiction, suicidal thoughts and one attempt. Kim Fielding has written the romance and troubles perfectly, allowing for the highs and lows that are inevitable along with the unexpected moments that bring our couple closer to their HEA.