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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Making Promises by Amy Lane

Making Promises by Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (350 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

All Shane Perkins ever wanted to be was a hero. But after a career-shattering decision to go down fighting, Shane comes home from the hospital to four empty walls, a pile of money, and a burning desire for someone to miss him the next time he gets hurt in the line of duty. He ends up an officer in the small town of Levee Oaks, and, addicted to the promise of family, he makes an effort to reconcile with his flighty, troubled sister. Kimmy makes her living as a dancer, and her partner steals Shane's breath at first sight.

Mikhail Vasilyovitch Bayul dances like an angel, but his past is less than heavenly. Since he left Russia, he's made only two promises: to stay off the streets and stay clean, and to take his mother someplace beautiful before she dies. Making promises to anybody else is completely out of the question—but then, Mikhail has never met anybody like Shane. Earnest, brave, and self-deprecating, Shane seems to speak Mikhail's language, and no one is more surprised than Mikhail to find that keeping promises is Shane's best talent of all.

Love is never an easy road but the results just may be worth it. Shane hasn’t had an easy life. From his neglected childhood to being an out cop in the LAPD, Shane’s weathered it all with stubbornness and dedication. Yet when he’s set up and seriously injured, Shane finally leaves the hectic city for more quiet in northern California. There he meets the skittish, difficult dancer Mikhail. Determined to win Mikhail over, the dedicated courting is neither easy nor smooth but eventually the two may just find happiness.

Making Promises is book two of the series after Keeping Promise Rock. You can read this story alone without having read the previous book but the characters from the first book pop in and out of the story so if you’re the kind that absolutely likes to know the background, read Keeping Promise Rock first, then this. Otherwise you should be fine picking this up on its own. Here, the quiet cop Shane is the star as his background and personality are matched up against the entertaining and difficult Russian, Mikhail. The story is very character driven as it follows their love from meeting to happy ever after and their journey is anything but easy and smooth. There are numerous obstacles, issues, problems, and conflicts both external and internal.

The writing is incredibly good. Once again the characters are three dimensional and the story sucks you in immediately. The relationship between Shane and Mikhail is rocky, emotional, and thoroughly engaging. You can’t help but root for these men even as they sabotage themselves. Shane is the more stubborn, even keel of the two as an awkward man struggling to fit in but never quite does. He clings to the family of his choice and dotes on them as much as possible while determined not to let Mikhail’s fear of commitment destroy a good thing. Mikhail is the more entertaining, and eye catching, of the two with his pain in the ass antics and true fear of promises. His difficult and painful past play a big part into the man he’s become and thus he has good reasons for why he’s so afraid of love.

Other than the dance between Shane and Mikhail as they fall in love, the story has numerous other conflicts. There is Mikhail’s dying mother, who is simply a wonderful loving woman that wants the best for her son and thinks only a woman can take care of him. There are also several scenes with Deacon, Crick, Joe, Jeff and Benny from the first book as they support and care for Shane and Mikhail as family. This is a great added element and also gives more emotion to the rocky romance.

Although I didn’t enjoy this as much as the first book, it’s a great romance and wonderful to read. The good writing and solid characters suck you into the story. The supporting cast seems to pop up magically whenever there is trouble – and almost too much, taking over scenes – but I doubt anyone will mind seeing beloved characters return. Fans of the series and author will definitely enjoy this offering while newcomers can easily pick it up and see what they’re missing.

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