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Monday, August 8, 2011

Living Promises by Amy Lane



Living Promises by Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (340 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

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.

A second chance at love can be the scariest option of all. Jeff lost his lover six years ago and has been living with HIV ever since. After a chance meeting at a clinic, Collin has been waiting for the opportunity to reconnect with Jeff. Years later they get that chance but love and life is never as easy as it would seem. Between their HIV positive status, family issues, health concerns, and past emotional trauma, it’ll take everything both men have to jump at the chance for love.

Living Promises is the third book in the Promises series by Amy Lane. You really should read the first two books before attempting this one since there are numerous important characters from the other books featured in this one. Fans of the series know to expect high angst and drama set amid a chaotic and bustling family structure. The family is one of the main themes in this story with all the various members often interfering with the main couple, Jeff and Collin. Most of these interactions are humorous and heartwarming as the idea of "family that will never leave you" is often repeated.

The main couple, Jeff and Collin, are well rounded and three-dimensional. The story tackles some pretty heavy issues, from HIV (both men are positive) and included health scares to dead lovers, homophobia, children, and potentially devastating family news. The story remains pretty easy to read despite the heavy tone and the characters infuse a lot of humor and light-hearted sexual tension to help alleviate any dark moments. Some of this is distracting and can be too much but for the most part the story handles the balance incredibly well.

Fans of the series and author should enjoy this latest offering. It’s very in line with the previous offerings and offers glimpses into established relationships. You should definitely have read the previous books or the various secondary characters with their nicknames, inside jokes, and relationships may not mean as much and could instead be distracting. If you’ve already read this series and are waiting anxiously for the next installment, pick it up and reveal in the great setting and solid writing once again. I can easily recommend it.

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