Rated 4.60/5 based on 10 reviews
Raw, graphic, candid portrait of two young gay men whose love affair is deeply affected by the scars they sustained from childhood sexual abuse. Tammy and Jamie are soul mates, but their love is thwarted for years by bad timing, fear of ridicule, and the damage that lingers long after childhood. Along with the internal, there are external forces that threaten to separate them forever. More

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Words: 120,030
Language: English
ISBN: 9781466001534
About Laura Susan Johnson

Laura Susan Johnson has been writing since the age of eleven, cutting her teeth on stories of the family dogs and cats. She has written two novels: CRUSH and BRIGHT and three short stories, BURDENS, OUR HOUSE and COLD FOOT. All of these projects are now available here at Smashwords. CRUSH is also available in print at Beaten Track Publishing.

She is currently working on another short story entitled OLD CARS and recently completed her second novel, BRIGHT. She lives in Idaho, Oregon, Arkansas and California.

Inspired by gay couples she took care of in her career as a hospice nurse, Laura Susan began penning her novel CRUSH in August 2010.

Laura Susan applied much of her own life experience to the three main characters created for BRIGHT.

For more info about Crush, please visit the official site:

For more about Bright, visit this site:


Crush: Book Trailer Aug. 2012
Trailer for Crush by Laura Susan Johnson

FAQs about Crush/YouTube Series
Author Laura Susan Johnson discusses her debut novel Crush with readers who send questions to her.

Also by This Author


Review by: LeafLitterLady on May 06, 2014 :
My heart is broken!

This is the most heartbreaking book I've ever read! An amazing love story about 2 guys who fall in love holding hands at church. But they are separated for years and years and never forget the way they feel when they're together. When they finally get together they are so happy but they have no idea that their high school friends are planning a crime against them. I can't ruin this story. Just read it! It made me laugh and cry and angry. Just read it you'll never regret it!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Tracy Muth on March 13, 2014 :
Worth much more than 5 stars!

Jamie is severely abused at the hands of his parents, from the time he is 6. They perform unspeakable and evil acts upon him. until he is 13 and is adopted by the police officer who rescues him.

Tammy is the product of an affair with a married pastor. His father never acknowledges him. He has no father figure except his uncle, who molests him.
Tammy is just freakishly scary.
Once his Aunt gets pregnant his uncle stops molesting and paying attention to him. Tammy feels abandoned and becomes jealous and enraged and even thinks of ways to kill his new baby cousin. He goes through a couple of years of performing some really evil deeds. This kid had all the makings to grow up a serial killer. Once in High school he turns to sex as a coping mechanism.

At the age of 13, after Jamie is adopted. He enters his freshman year of High school, and meets Tammy, who a Senior. Tammy has become the all American jock and all around manwh@re.
They are attracted to each other and fall in love. This love scares Tammy who has never considered himself gay. The night Tammy graduates they kiss for the 1st time. Tammy leaves the next day for college without even a goodbye.

Tammy returns 16 years later when his mom is hospitalized after a fall. He meets Jamie again, who is now a nurse. They get reacquainted. They fall in love all over again. Horrific events threaten to wrench them apart. Will they survive all the trials and tribulations , and if so will they make it through in one piece?

This book is very difficult read, not because it's not an excellent book, but just to read the terrible, evil things that are done to these boys, especially Jamie as a child, and also the horrible and cruel things Jamie is made to suffer as and adolescent and a young man.
I know this is a work of fiction, but it is still so sad that there are such evil people on this earth that would abuse a child and condemn a man for loving another man. This book is very graphic in some of the details of the abuse Jamie receives, but the author handled it beautifully.

This is a true love story and the love Jamie and Tammy have for one another is breathtaking. This book is difficult to read at times, but I promise it ends well and you won't regret picking it up. The horrific acts are worth getting through to get to read of the love these two men share. To read of how they work together to help each other heal and fight their daemons. This book will take you on a true emotional roller coaster. It will make you sad, angry, happy, and a host of other emotions.

I highly recommend this book. This is my 1st book by this author, but I am looking forward to reading more of her work in the future.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Deb E on Oct. 22, 2013 :
This book was just emotionally draining, but underneath the horrific subject matter of this book is a beautiful love story. Be warned that the graphic, horrifying child abuse that is portrayed made the book very hard to read.

The story is told in alternating POV's of Jamie and Tammy from the time they are children up until they are in their 30's. While the chapters do not just rehash each other, the same events are often portrayed from each man's perspective. Both are abuse survivors. Jamie is rescued at age 13 after spending most of his life abused and then as a chained prisoner of his parents. Tammy also suffers abuse at the hands of a family member. Both boys handle their situations very differently.

While there are so many acts of hate and abuse perpetrated against Jamie and Tammy, there are also lifelong bonds of love and friendship that are forged. The love and support that Jamie and Tammy give each other is tender and heartwarming. I found the book tended to get a bit preachy towards the end, and would benefit from a bit of editing, but it is a very well written story that will stay with me for a very long time.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Patsy Knox on Oct. 18, 2013 :
My husband and i both loved this book, although reading a book that hits so close to home is always a challenge. After reading a book about survivors of child abuse, I always reach for "brain candy" to help me forget the horror I just read. Let's face it. We live in a mean and ugly world. Who can blame us for wanting to escape.

Crush is bearable because in spite of the horror and ugliness within, there is also love, courage and beauty. There are a few laughs too, to add some comic relief. Mostly though, Crush is a hard read, an unflinching look at the evil of child abuse. Jamie is victimized by pure evil, while Tammy is manipulated by a different kind of pure evil. But in their world of darkness and despair, they find each other. Their love story is a miracle. Love does not cure all ills or solve all problems, but when you have someone close to you who shares your sorrows and your moments of happiness, when you have someone who truly loves you, it makes the differentce, literally between life and death.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Trisha Harrington on Oct. 18, 2013 :
A Broken Person Can Always Be Healed. You Just Need To Find The Person Who Will Love You Wholly And Truthfully.

This book left me feeling numb, and though that would normally be a bad thing. With this book it was completely a good thing. This is a book that lives with you after you have finished. It can break you and put you back together, only to break you again with a few minutes notice. It is not to be read on a bad day and needs to be read by more and more people until there is no one who has read it. I cannot explain well enough how beautiful and thought provoking this book is. Every time I read this book I am left feeling changed inside. It is something that needs to be experienced in order to understand.

Crush, is a book about two men. Tammy and Jamie have known each other since high school. Or so we are lead to believe. But in fact they met years before. That was really the moment I fell in love. That singe scene at the grocery story when they were babies was enough. Something in that had me loose my heart and the boys held it until I had finished the last page and ever since they have held it. Nothing could have taken from the book. Sometimes a book like this is needed to get a topic out there.

Jamie and Tammy have loved and lost and loved again. But never in the course of this book did they lose their love for each other. Never did it break them beyond repair. They always had their love, even when they didn't realize it themselves. It was something incredible sweet and poignant. I wanted to cry so much during this book, but I was not able to. Tears could not come for them. Instead my heart shattered and broke with theirs and healed when theirs did. Through the book their love kept me reading and unable to put this wonderful story down. Even when we are broken we are never truly doomed to be broken forever. We can heal, but for that we need that person to love us.

When the boys loved in this book I felt it. The sex scenes were almost as sad as some of the other scenes. Jamie's thoughts and feelings during those times were conflicted. It was depressing (in a good way) to read how he felt. After the attack they became more romantic. After they had truly begun to heal I stopped wanting to cry during them. They were erotic and true but they also had a loving side to them. Something that is not shown enough in mm romances. I truly believed they became one when they had sex. It was something that caught me off guard after the first sex scene.

The abuse in this book is horrific. I read Touch Me Gently and Dream Boy. But this book managed to be even more heart breaking than those two combined. I was prepared and then I was not. Abuse is never an easy topic to discuss. But this covered that and did it so well. Jamie was tortured and destroyed by the people who were supposed to love him the most. In my mind I felt that his parents should have been shot and I would have been willing to do it. What they did was sick, disgusting and gruesome. But what they did happens, and no matter how hard we deny it. Jamie's parents are in our world. Just disguised to blend in with people and not on the pages of a book.

Rape is a controversial subject. This book approaches it in different ways. There was Jamie's experiences with rape and then there was Tammy's. Both are real and both are heartbreaking and both happen in real life. The difference is their reactions. Jamie turned to God and Tammy self destructed. In this though some may hate Tammy for his reaction to the abuse, he was only a child. Every child acts differently and both boys in this handled their grief their own way. That is something that they should not be hated for.

Religion is a strong feature in this book. But it's not shoved down the readers throat. If it had I would have been discouraged by this book. But it was done tastefully and really added to the experience. Jamie's survival was partly down to his ever strong belief in God. It helped me understand him as a person and made me smile for him, it was his own way of handling things. Of dealing with the past and connecting with something that made him thankful. Something that made him appreciate what he had. I could not understand it, but it was Jame. It was such a nice thing to see.

Tammy was the polar opposite in that sense. He didn't believe in God and so that made his views different again. I related to Tammy better in that sense. He was not someone who had their belief to help them, he didn't understand why things happened and he had to find his own way in the world. Jamie had the belief that God does things for a reason. God saved Jamie. Although I believe in God, I am not the most religious, and I find it harder to connect with a character who is completely devoted to God. But the way Jamie and Tammy differed I understood and connected with them on that level. Laura Susan Johnson did a wonderful job with both aspects of belief.

The secondary characters in this added the good and the bad to the story. There were friends and foe in this and the good and the evil. But never was there a character that was not needed. Tammy's mother and Jamie's "sister" Stacey. Those were two of the more positive characters, Lloyd was another character who although we did not see a lot of was Jamie's "hero" in the beginning. He was someone I was truly thankful for in this story. The strong sense of family and love in this was beautiful and through the family, characters came alive for me.

If you want to believe everything in life is good and that children stay innocent and are always protected. Do not read this book! This book will point out the flaws in the world. It will show everything that would kill a child. It will break you and put you on the edge of your seat. It will show the journey of two abused children right into adulthood. It will show you the innocence and childishness of people who have suffered to the last. Who grew up too soon but never really grew up at all. It's a book that will never be matched and something the author should be proud of.

Laura Susan Johnson has written a beautiful book. It is a book that I could personally read again and again, and take something from it each time. Nothing but beautiful could describe it and although some of the topics are not beautiful the true love aspect is. I highly recommend this book. Read this and be prepared to change, it's not easy and may take some time to read. But this is one of those special books. Laura Susan Johnson is an amazing author and I cannot wait to read more and more from her. She has written a treasure and exposed the world to a magnificent story.

I am sorry for the long rant. But this book deserves every positive thing and more. I'm not sure I will ever be able to do this book justice. It all has to be said time and time again. The reviews that are here are proof of that. It will be a book that will get to the top eventually and it will be discussed more and more. I'm not sure any book will leave me with the same emotions as this one has. This one will always remain in my heart.

Read it and fall in love just like I did.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Sherry Holley on Jan. 18, 2013 :
As a society we tend to overlook ignore anything that is considered different or not acceptable; the truth is human nature can not abide change of any kind even if it is just something as simple as a different lifestyle. Most human nature is very narrow minded and covets what they know and see daily; this becomes who they are and they will do or say anything to protect their way of life as they see it, no matter that in the light of day that their words or actions are shameful and bigoted. It is instinct to feel remorse after making mistakes but sadly that remorse is usually selfish as the original action. Acceptance, tolerance, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you,, well that is what most of us strive to do daily, its never easy,, good things never are. Jamie and Tammy are two people who despite the cruel circumstances they survived as children and adults find the strength and courage to not only survive but flourish and to help others. To me this book points out everyone's greatest fears even if they are never admitted out loud and teaches us that love truly is stronger than anything.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Suilan Lee on Dec. 27, 2012 :
When I first started reading Crush, it took me back for a moment. Jamie's story is so tragic, and on an emotional level, I found it was difficult to take in the realities of Jamie's young life. Add on Tam and his harsh realities, and for a while I couldn't continue on without feeling like crying. Their story however could not leave me alone. I came back for more, and what unfolds is a love story that spans a lifetime for Jamie and Tam.

These two men survive through some pretty tough experiences. Each situation they face defining their very characteristics and the decisions they make. Jamie's strength, his kind heart, his self judgement, and how he responds to Tam is greatly defined by what he has lived through. Tam's overwhelming love and empathy. I thought the writer created these two characters with a lot of thought, love and reality.

The word Crush is fitting to the entire plot. There are a lot of events that would break any individual. That Tam and Jamie got through them and remained so strong is inspiring. There is a lot of research that has gone into the book and for that I rate the book a 4 out of 5 stars.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Michelle MacIsaac on Oct. 17, 2012 :
I have never read a book like this. Part gay erotica, part dramatic character study, but the prose is almost like an autobiography or memoir, but with two narrators. I was very moved by their story . There was such tragedy and sadness in the lives of Jamie and Tam, and they learn that it takes enormous courage to face the opposition and hostility directed at them, just because they are in love. I love the writer's style, very simply spoken, yet richly detailed and intimate. I don't want to reveal a lot about the plot. Before pursuing the purchase of this book, I read some information about it. There is some very difficult and touchy content in this book, besides being quite erotic, but the author handles all of the unpleasant issues with a caring touch. The issues are clearly very close to her heart, but she balances the seriousness with light humour and even some laugh out loud funniness. I am very glad to have this book in my collection. Very impressed.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Heidi Rose on Oct. 11, 2012 :
I loved this book. One of my friends wrote it and I think she has a fresh voice. The word demisexual does not appear anywhere in this book, but put simply, Crush is a love story about 2 men who fall in love in high school and even though they are apart for many years, can't stop loving each other and hoping to meet again. Neither of them have been in love except with each other. Doesn't make them less gay, but they are clearly demisexual. The book is love story I won't soon forget. The story of Tammy and Jamie is painfully honest, violent, deeply disturbing in some spots, very erotic, and wrenchingly hopeful. The only problem I had with it at first was the "villains" of the book not being very developed. Then I thought, how can anyone make a hateful bigot sympathetic or acceptable? I recommended the book to my friends and to anyone.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Rebecca Baron on Nov. 21, 2011 :
This book is at first glance just another story about gay men struggling with their sexuality and having to come to grips with the reality of hate in a world that isn't ready for them. The themes are pretty familiar, hate, bashing, support and colorful rainbows. Jamie is a character that wears his heart on his sleeve and often goes up on a soapbox to tell you his beliefs.

Far beyond just a gay romance, "CRUSH" is a vastly emotional portrait of two human beings who, like all of us, are in search of love and trying to figure out who they are. What struck me is the raw honesty with which the author writes as she creates these characters. They are not saints or angels, but they are not monsters either. They are simply people. And not everything about them is lovable.

I could definitely relate to the characters. They each resembled someone I have known. They are alive and beautiful, and their story, while on the surface seems very familiar, even cliched at times, struck me with its originality. It's deceptively simple premise conceals an astonishingly complex and intricate odyssey through the heartbreak of child abuse, the loss of identity, the miracle of love, and the recovery of self. What sets "CRUSH" apart from other gay stories is that instead of flamboyant, glamorous guys who frequent gay nightclubs, you have two ordinary everyday guys who are simply struggling to survive. There are some very erotic moments, but where other gay fiction seems to lack emotional impact, "Crush" feels supremely, almost unbearably emotional, going far beyond ordinary shallow sexuality and going where most fear to tread, deep into the recesses of the childhood and adulthood closets, where the skeletons that dictate our behaviors lurk. You can't help but wonder if Jamie will ever conquer the horror that his parents left him in, or if Tammy will ever fully have Jamie's trust, and vice versa.

There will be those who feel that the book provides an unfair depiction of Christians. I didn't really feel that. I felt that Jamie and Tammy were just frustrated and rejected by the faith they were raised in. All through the book they seek answers from a higher power, and I found that quite touching.

All in all, I enjoyed reading "CRUSH." It is a different and refreshing m/m gay story.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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