Lies are the chains that keep you weighed down at rock bottom.Todd's rating:
Officer Noel Carlson isn’t out to anyone in small-town Stratton, Pennsylvania, only to distant friends and family, so a relationship is out of the question. That doesn’t stop him from wanting one, though.
When a night-shift call brings him face to thonged butt with a hired stripper whose girl-party gig went terribly wrong, Noel takes pity on the guy and lets him go. But he can’t get the encounter out of his mind.
Shane has big-time debts to repay, especially to the brother who sacrificed nearly everything for him. His two jobs, in a deli and as a stripper, leave him no time for a social life. But a non-date of hot sex and takeout food with Noel? He can squeeze that in.
The bond they form is stronger than either expected or wanted. Especially since the step Shane’s about to take to put his brother—and his soul—back in the black isn’t quite legal. And he never calculated just how much his determination to make things right will cost him in the end.
Sorry to be my usual 'happy, happy, joy, joy' self this time around, but here goes...
Did I like this new book? Sure. Did I *enjoy* the book? Debatable. I'm mainly hoping (pronounced "praying") that the next books in this new series are a bit more hopeful, like the original series, Cost of Repairs. At least they all made it out alive.
It seemed to me that nearly ALL of the characters in the story must have pissed in God's most delicious Cheerio's in a past life, because (for the most part) all of their lives were complete shit shows.
MC # 1, Shane [aka Jody, aka Jo, aka Colby -- confused yet?], was molested at 10 years old, thrown into foster care, then attempted suicide at 15 after being bullied, only to be buried in debt, fighting for solvency as a stripper, sandwich maker & part-time porn star.
MC # 2, Noel [blessedly no 'aka's], became a policeman after being gay bashed by 4 rabid homophobes who tried to carve his heart out of his chest with the a broken whiskey bottle.
Noel's best friend, Tristan, was beaten over the head by the same whiskey bottle in the same bashing until it broke, leaving him with only 30 minutes of short term memory, after which he's lost and panicking without his notebook of 'shit-that-just-happened-minutes-ago. Picture Drew Barrymore's condition in '50 First Dates', but at least she got a whole day before the memory reset. Aaaaaaaand Tristan is in love with Noel -- who now has Shane. So yeah, it all SUCKS, but we are not quite done yet...
Shane's brother, Jason, went to prison at only 18 for 3 years for the murder of his step father in self-defense, when confronting the man about molesting 10 year old Shane, later gets custody of Shane only to work himself to death to pay lawyer's fees and THEN he's diagnosed with the same chronic heart disease that killed their mother at 32.
It's all kinds of telenovela up in hya!
So my guess would be that right about now, you're asking yourself, "Todd, dear, exactly why aren't you ranting about how much you completely hated this horrid, horrid book???"
Well, mainly because I really could empathize with the characters and what they did in the story to at least *try* to make lemonade out of the fuck-ton of lemons that made up their lives. (Short answer there.)
The Africa-sized pack of lies in this book did bother me, a lot; however, the motivation behind them was never, not once, malicious or conniving. They were simply a necessity in order to avoid hurting those you love, while desperately attempting to keep a grasp on what you hold most dear. Sanity being one of the things on that short list.
But the crux of why I stuck it out with this book was that both Noel and Shane truly did care about one another, like no one before, and they *could* be really great together -- if they could dig to the surface of the manure pile burying them.
So yes, the boys got points from me for fighting against the odds to finally, finally, PRAISE GOD ALIGHTY FINALLY get their much-deserved HEA.
Jesus, I'm exhausted now, so I'm going to go and find the fluffiest piece of inane fluff that was ever fluffed to read and decompress, because I think I just fucking earned it.
PS - The sex was really, really, really, really hot and there was a lot of it. <-- This would be the proverbial carrot, if your ass isn't already running for the nearest exit yelling, "CHECK PLEASE !!!" : )
** This book is completely standalone and nothing would be lost by reading it before any of the Cost of Repairs series. All of those books which were 4 solid stars for me, so I highly recommend them. **
My copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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