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Stanley’s life took a left turn at a knitting shop and hit a dead end. The closest thing he’s had to a relationship breaks things off to date a “nice boy,” and none of the pretty young things in Boulder’s limited gay scene do it for Stanley. He needs to reevaluate whether working as a floor designer for a series of craft stores is really where he wants to be.
Then Stanley does a peculiar thing: he starts to live the life he fell into. Stitch by stitch, he knits his life into something meaningful. Just when he does, Johnny, the store’s new delivery boy, walks in.
Johnny is like no one Stanley has ever met: he doesn’t believe in quickies in the bathroom and has a soft spot for theater and opera. There has to be a catch. When Johnny’s dark past comes back to haunt them, Stanley realizes how much he loves his cushy life in the yarn store – but he’ll give it all up to keep the man who makes his ordinary life extraordinary.
Depending on your ordering system this is either book 3 or 4 of the knitter’s series. This is one of the more intense books in the series. Stanley is an aging “bottom boy” and Johnny is in the Witness Protection Program after ratting out the mob. Johnny is also the guy who saved Jeremy from being killed in mob related activities.
After Craw “dumps” Stanley for Ben, Stanley is forced to re-evaluate his life and he comes to the conclusion that he has a full, if somewhat lonely, life and that he values himself too much to continue to “give away” his body in back rooms as before. He turns to knitting and friendship to fill the gaps.
One day Johnny makes a delivery to Stanley’s shop and the two are instantly attracted to one another. Johnny is nothing but sincere and almost immediately in it for the long haul. They begin with a date. *sigh
Stanley takes some convincing, but after a couple of proper “dates” he’s convinced Johnny might be “the one”.
Of course Amy can’t leave us with a simple, happy love story like that. Oh, no. She has to add in mob violence and danger and the worst thing imaginable happens and the mob comes calling, threatening Stanley’s life and those on Craw’s farm.
When the dust settles, we are left with Stanley and Johnny hoping to make a go of it and Jeremy and Aidan now facing a long road to recovery. (The lead in to the next book.)
I had forgotten how intense this book was. I love older characters and Amy tends to write mostly about the younger men in early adult hood. This proves her immense talent and flexibility in that these guys are just as rich, deep, loveable, flawed and easy to root for as her younger characters.
Though I would have rather nothing bad happen to anyone, I can see what the violence did for Jeremy, Aidan, Stanley and Johnny and it was amazing. It also helped cement the bond between Stanley’s family and Craw’s in a way that is irrevocable.
This was Philip Alces’ best yet! His Johnny interpretation was fantastic but he excelled with the swishy yet cranky Stanley. This is his range, as it were, at its best.
I really enjoyed this audiobook (by far the best of the series) and highly recommend it.
5 of 5 hearts for both book and audiobook.