Monday, October 20, 2014

Stand By You by A.M. Arthur

Title: Stand By You
Author: A.M. Arthur
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Belonging #3
Main Characters: Romy and Brendan
Release Date: October 2014
Publisher: Carina
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:

Three months after his rescue from an abusive boyfriend, twenty-two-year-old Romy Myers has landed his first legitimate job, bussing tables at his friend's new coffee shop. The job has brought him some stability after years of abuse have left him feeling damaged and broken. He's working hard on his panic and social anxiety, and those things are often tempered by the big, burly presence of Brendan Walker.
From the moment ex-football player Brendan helped rescue Romy from his ex's abuse, he's wanted to protect him. And he does, from a distance, with joking text messages, a new gym routine to toughen him up and a genuine friendship. So far it's been easy, but Brendan's feelings aren't just friendly anymore…
When an argument spirals out of control, a hot and heavy make-out session causes Romy's friendship with supposedly straight Brendan to reach a new level. The last thing Romy wants is to fall for another guy who could potentially shatter him, but Brendan also wakes up a part of him he thought had been destroyed by violence, his heart.

My Review:
Romy's story is painful...just in the helplessness there is in it. He was on his own...too young...too trusting...too naive. And he got a horrible, awful way. Brendan, although he didn't know Romy before that, was the muscle behind Romy's rescue from the abuse. As a result, Brendan has become Romy's safe place to land. And this kid needs a safe place. He's a poster child for PTSD and is haunted by nightmares. 

Although Brendan is almost ready to admit it to himself, he is deeply, DEEPLY in the closet. Even though ALL of his friends are gay, no one even guesses that he might be into guys. For Brendan, he's always been a big, bad, alpha football player with a family who wouldn't understand if he tells them that he wants to date a guy. But he's drawn to Romy...partly because he feels so protective of him. Protecting is something that Brendan does well and he definitely serves that role in their relationship. It's only when he's at Brendan's place that Romy can sleep without nightmares and of course, that leads to other things happening between the two. 

Romy is in a difficult place mentally. He doesn't need any more challenges like a boyfriend struggling with accepting his sexuality. But Romy is so fragile. Both of them know that their's isn't a recommended relationship, but they can't resist. It's the instinctive nature of both of them. Brendan protects. Romy is accepting and giving. They may not be natural, but they work. 

Overall I enjoyed this book. Both these guys are more than a little down on themselves and are finding it hard to imagine a better future, but when they are together they dare to dream that something different can happen in their lives and that's why this book worked for me. There were issues with the book...Romy is a catalog of everything that can happen to a single character and at times it was just a bit too much. There is also a LOT of group dynamics which make the book overwhelming at times. There are tons of group scenes and it's difficult to keep up with who belongs to who and how they all relate within the group. But I did enjoy the book, the coffeehouse setting, and the romance between the two men. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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