As we go through this journey called life, we all have wildly different experiences, but there are common threads—things that we can all relate to no matter what our journey has been like. The most prevalent of these unifying factors of the human experience is, unsurprisingly, interacting with other humans. As social animals, our relationships often define our entire existence, and the foundation upon which we build all relationships—be they personal, professional, or societal—is trust.

In Vivi Anne Hunt’s latest novel, To Trust and to Touch, the author gets to the heart of this matter using two characters who are fantastic foils for each other. One is trusting, perhaps to a fault, while the other is unwilling to trust at all.

Disclaimer: As the editor of To Trust and to Touch, I am unable to give an unbiased review on the book. However, I still wanted to share my thoughts on this wonderful story.

Once again, Vivi Anne Hunt managed to draw me into the kind of story I wouldn’t normally read if it weren’t for work. I’m not the type to pick up a romance novel off the shelf. Despite this, I was drawn into and engaged with the story of Cyrill and Alex. It was clear why this was: I could relate to the challenges the characters were facing. Again, something we can all relate to is having to trust others, and this book is all about trust.

I mentioned the characters act as foils for one another, so let’s dig into that further. The first I’d like to discuss (but not the first we see in the book) is Cyrill. On the surface, he’s a typical divorced, middle-aged single father. A couple of things shake up this formula. On one hand, he’s bisexual, though he’s not hiding this from anybody. Also, he’s part owner of an adult club, though a hands-off partner. Once we dig further into the story, we find that Cyrill is a very trusting person and even runs a charity to give abandoned LGBTQ+ youngsters a chance to get back on their feet. He’s quick to invite people into his life, even trusting others outside the family to help care for his young daughter, and is open about his past. In some ways, he might be too trusting, which is why he’s such a great foil for…

Alex, an enigma of a young man who has shuttered himself off from human contact. Something happened to cause this, though what this is remains a mystery for much of the book. He fends off unwanted contact with equal parts disinterest and hostility. He uses an abrasive attitude as a defense mechanism, and has done this for so long that he has acclimated to it being the norm. He can’t imagine himself trusting somebody by the time we catch up with his story, and he even surprises himself simply by sharing his phone number with Cyrill when they meet.

I think we’ve all been there to some degree. We’ve either trusted somebody too much and been hurt, or if lucky, we’ve had the opportunity to look back with relief that nothing bad came of it. If we were hurt, we probably shut ourselves off to a certain degree, putting up walls to prevent that pain from happening again. Life can be a cycle of this. Trusting others until somebody betrays that trust, putting up barriers, then adjusting over time to a healthier balance between openness and defensiveness.

To Trust and to Touch places a microscope over this journey by inflating it to the extremes. Cyrill’s trusting nature opens the door for Alex to start bringing down his barriers and simultaneously acts as a contrast to show just how different these two approaches to life—completely open or completely shut off—can be. It’s this cycle of trust, betrayal, and healing that I think we’ve all been through that makes this book one that I believe anybody can relate to, be they a fan of romance or not.

If you are a fan of romance, I can assure you—objectively—that is has that as well!

You can watch, but you can’t touch.

Alex performs at the infamous adult club, Kink World. He’s only in it for the money, and he has one rule: no touching. He doesn’t trust anybody that much. However, a chance encounter with a man who is the very epitome of the word safe may change all that. A man who runs a charity for abandoned queer kids, who has a five-year-old daughter, and who is unlike anyone Alex has ever met.

After years of focusing on raising his daughter and running his charity, Sigh’s status quo is shaken up when he meets a man covered in vine tattoos outside his brother’s club. The young man stirs a longing he has ignored for far too long. However, he seems unwilling to let anybody in, so Sigh faces an insurmountable challenge to overcome these barriers and find some way to connect.

Will Alex ever let someone touch him? Will Sigh find somebody to fill the emptiness? Will the men find a way to heal together?

To Trust and to Touch is available now. Find out more about the book below:

Meet Vivi Anne Hunt, the author of To Trust and to Touch.

Vivi Anne Hunt writes steamy m/m romance books about men who love and protect each other fiercely. She’s a big fan of age difference and hurt/comfort, so you will often find those elements in her books.

As a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community, she advocates for more diverse representation in books. As a proud self-published author, she supports the indie author community however she can.

Vivi lives with her cat and her bossy muse. You can find her tweeting obsessively @ViviAnneHunt. Come say hi.

Did you find this interesting? Check out “The Emotional Power of Kai’s Healing Smiles” for my reflection on Vivi’s first novel, Kai’s Healing Smiles.

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