Make no mistake. This is an intense love story. The main characters are Anson, a prison guard closeted for his safety and Bishop, a death row inmate. There are themes of racial injustice, wrongful convictions, and economic inequality. Against this backdrop, the men develop an intense connection. This amazed me because these are men on opposite sides of a cell door. There is no sex and limited contact, But Nicky James skillfully pulls you into their world and makes you root for them to be together.
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“It ain’t no one's business what you like and what you don’t. You understand? They ain’t never gonna hear it from me. I promise you that. If you think for one minute I didn’t know you were standing there the whole time, you’re wrong, boss.”
You’ve fought for me like no one ever has. You believed in me when I was sure there wasn’t a soul alive who was listening. I can’t thank you enough what you’ve given me, but it’s time to accept the truth, Anson. This is it
Bishop didn’t answer. I tipped my chin higher, slowly seeking those eyes that had haunted my dreams last night. Like I’d suspected, I was his sole focus. “You ain’t gotta be afraid of me, boss.” Those few simple words came out on a whisper, their tone as deep and arresting as the first time he’d spoken. And troublesome because he’d seen through me. He knew.
All it took was a single moment for Anson Miller’s life to fall apart. His only hope of finding solid ground again is to uproot everything he knows and start over. New house, new job, new life. But will working on death row as a corrections officer in the country’s hardest and most acclaimed supermax prison be the right move? Or is he exchanging one hardship for something way worse?
Twenty years ago, Bishop Ndiaye was a victim of wrong place, wrong time. The consequences landed him on death row. As hard as he fought to expose the truth behind his alleged crime, no one would hear him. No one would listen. He’s succumbed to his fate, hardened himself to prison life, and no longer hopes for a better tomorrow. For Bishop, there is no tomorrow. Death waits around the corner, and someday soon, he will be no more.
Anson’s appearance in Bishop’s life changes everything.
Anson lends Bishop more than an ear; he offers him friendship, compassion, and understanding. No one has ever gifted Bishop with more.
The more they talk, the more they share.
The more they share, the more their bond grows.
But when their hearts open up to one another, the barrier in their way is far more than a steel door of a cell.
It is life and death.
100k word novel 100% HEA (no cliffhanger)