Heller deftly tells this story in three parts, spanning over a decade. The first takes place in high school, the second in college, and the third begins twelve years after they last saw each other in college. This gives a bit of the tale away: they’re friends during their youth, then lovers, and boy, did it take a long while and much angst to get there, and then it ends. Abruptly. Only through fate do they meet up again, and even then, it’s not a smooth ride.
Our MCs, as boys, are Ryan, a pretty much never-closeted, energetic, intelligent, funny, and self-absorbed in the most charming of ways, teen (then TV producer), and Brandon, a totally closeted, bookish, intelligent, abused, generous teen (then OB/GYN). They bond instantly when Ryan smoothly rescues Brandon from bullies and then they have the most like a date, non-date, ever. Ryan both supports and dares Brandon to be the best him he can be, all the while not having a full picture of the hell that is Brandon’s life. Brandon gives Ryan purpose. They love each other, but, whereas Ryan can be open about his feelings once he wonders if Brandon is gay, Brandon can never be open, except once, in a slip-up.
In college, things change. Their friendship becomes more intense in many ways, and Brandon has a hard time remaining closeted. Love blossoms. But Ryan is impatient, tragedy strikes, and then Ryan makes an unforgivable mistake. Brandon leaves, rightly so. Can I just add that I cried and shook my head, reading on like people can’t not watch an accident? I wanted to throw it all in, I was so angry at Ryan!!!
But, I read on. The third part. It’s twelve years later when we meet a much more confident Brandon, and a much less cocky Ryan. Can they trust each other? Can they forgive one another? Is the hotness they shared still there? The tenderness? I won’t spoil the details, but there is an HEA ; )
There is violence at various points in the story, graphic, but not gratuitous. If you’re squeamish, beware. You might have to skim over some scenes. This is an m/m, friends to lovers story, and, once they consummate their love, the sex scenes are explicit. The secondary characters, though few, add humor and depth to Tied Together. I do think that the third part had a bit less detail than the first two, but it was, overall, a great read. I recommend it. Four out of five stars.