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Six years ago, Jeff Beachum comforted a frightened teenager outside an HIV treatment clinic, and Collin Waters has remembered his kindness ever since. Now, after six years of crushing on the kind, brown-eyed sweetheart of his dreams, Collin is feeling adult and together enough to make his move. Too bad fate, which has never been kind to Jeff, has something else in mind.
Jeff’s life had fallen completely apart before that long-ago day, and it isn’t much better now. Jeff has toughened up, become self-reliant, been the funny guy his friends turn to, the one who gives advice and comfort when needed. But every phantom from Jeff’s past is about to come out to haunt him, and the family Jeff has staked his future on isn’t in such great shape either. Collin is more than a starry-eyed kid, and it’s a good thing, because Jeff’s going to need all the help he can get. No one knows better than Jeff that life can be too short to turn your back on honest love, and that living happily is the best promise of all.
This is book three in Amy’s Promise series and it is one of the roughest (IMHO) to read. Right from the start she pulls our heartstrings with the tale of Jeff’s ex, the man who gave Jeff HIV then essentially kills himself rather than deal with the consequences of the disease and his homophobic family.
Then there’s Collin. Young, dumb and full of … exuberance… and not wearing a condom while doing it. He, too contracts HIV and is touched by the caring he receives at the hands of Jeff at the crisis center.
Years later the two meet again and Collin is determined to have Jeff as his own.
Jeff, however, hasn’t really put himself out there and certainly not for a “boy” several years his junior.
The push/pull of attraction goes on for quite awhile but Collin is perseverant and eventually he gets his man.
Meanwhile – lots of things are happening at the Pulpit… Crick is Crick and Deacon is Deacon and Mickey and Shane are adorable and snarky and at their best…
Martin, Jeff’s ex Kevin’s brother comes to town looking for answers and meets Shane and Mickey and learns to love something he was taught to hate.
First let me say that I loved all the books in this series. LOVED. THEM. But, this was the weakest in my opinion. (Still awesome, amazing, wonderful, brilliant…) I loved seeing the folks at the Pulpit but sometimes wanted to see more of Jeff and Collin. I never connected with them as a couple as strongly as I did the others and I think one reason why is the lack of page time for them developing their relationship as compared to Crick, Deacon, Mickey, Shane or even Benny and Drew!
I loved the Martin/Kevin storyline though it tore me up… so much.
This was an amazing (and difficult) book and I highly recommend it. It is NOT a standalone.
Paul Morey did a great, great, great job of giving Jeff a swishy but not over the top voice. I wish he’d made Collin’s voice a little bit more differentiated, but I appreciate the challenge of giving so many “main characters” unique voices. I loved his Kevin/Martin voices and really enjoyed this narration.
5 of 5 hearts