Author: Lara Brukz
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 134 pages
Rating: C List
Recovering alcoholic Marshall Ellerbee still grieves the loss of his best friend and lover, Eric. After a year of sobriety, Marshall accepts a new job with the Wellness Center, something else to help him continue cleaning up his life. Things are finally improving when his sponsor has a heart attack. The counselor hired to replace him is none other than Kyle Young, the lost ex’s best friend. Kyle has always hated Marshall, but now they must work together and move past their history. When Marshall saves Eric’s life, Kyle suddenly sees Marshall in a new light. But will romance unsettle Marshall’s hard-won new stability…
Review: This story will make more sense if you read the first book, Five Star Review, before hand. This is Marshall and Kyle’s story, but so much of their past and issues involve Eric that it helps to know Eric’s version of events.
Marshall is trying to get his life back on track after years of devastating addiction to alcohol has left it in shambles. He has burned all of his bridges and spent so many years drunk that he has no friends and is relearning how to interact with his family. I felt for Marshall and his struggles and his desire to be a good man who lived a sober and healthy life. He knew he had made mistakes and that he had to earn people’s trust and forgiveness. He was genuinely trying to be that man.
Kyle struggled to see beyond his anger and disgust with Marshall’s past and find a way to forgive him for what he had done to Eric. He wants Marshall in his bed and quickly falls for the man that Marshall has become. Unfortunately his own past and issues prevent him from being able to trust that they can have a future and he makes some big mistakes and treats Marshall badly. I struggled with seeing Kyle as the great guy he was supposed to be in this story.
It was good to see such a painful story for both Eric and Marshall find some resolution and peace. Whether Marshall deserved Eric’s forgiveness is debatable, but the freedom from carrying the weight of it that Eric surrendered by forgiving Marshall was very well deserved.
Honestly, by the time we were coming to the end of these men’s story I was more upset with Kyle than I was with Marshall. There were some very ugly and unacceptable things in Marshall’s past. That is never in question, but I do believe in second chances and a person seeking to change themselves and their life. You cannot truly change another person, but if you are willing to put in the time, energy, pain and tears, I do believe that you can change yourself.
Reviewed by Nina