Wow, this book is super angsty and an absolute emotional rollercoaster! I was certainly expecting something a lot lighter, and while I wouldn’t say this is a dark romance, some of the themes can be tough to read.
The last thing Trey needs after escaping his abusive partner is to be caught stealing by a white-haired old lady. But when she insists he returns the item and then get in her car, well, he doesn’t have many options. Whitney has a history of adopting “strays,” so her oldest one, Parker, shouldn’t be surprised to find a strange man in his mom’s house. But after their meet disaster, Parker can’t get Trey out of his head – and neither can Trey ignore the super hot guy sleeping just upstairs. But they’ve both made enough mistakes in their lives, and could getting involved be one more?
“I just…want to help. I’m bigger than most people. I know more about shit that needs fixing than most people.”
Parker’s the oldest of the Wolffe brothers and the fixer. He’s the one who moved in with Whitney when she needed assistance, and he’s the one who takes care of all the little jobs around the house, from fixing a bathroom sink to decorating for a birthday party. He’s the responsible one, the one who’s always there to help, and while he’d deny that he takes too much onto his broad shoulders, anyone else with eyes can see that that’s true. Parker’s always considered himself heterosexual, so all these new feelings about Trey are confusing.
“You’re safe here. You keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, and you’ll only be stressing yourself out for no reason. Don’t let him take your peace from this house too.”
Trey is a different story. After years in an abusive relationship, he’s not sure how to deal with people who seem to want to just help him (and his adorable dog), no strings attached. But slowly, Parker’s kindness and strength start to draw him out. I loved watching Trey blossom with Parker and Whitney’s help. Parker especially encourages Trey to pursue his art dreams – specifically, he wants to be a tattoo artist, which is lucky as Whitney has some skill in that area. And it’s not just Trey who benefits in this relationship. They both are operating under a miasma of guilt and misplaced responsibility – Trey for the abuse he suffered from his ex, and Parker for, well, everything. Getting Parker to take that step back and leave some time for himself is something that only Trey could have done.
“I know you probably feel like you’re damaged goods, but you’ve seen me work. Anything broken can be fixed. I don’t quit, I don’t give up, and I don’t care how fucking long it takes to make you feel better again.”
I loved the Wolffe brothers – and mama Whitney – and how they’re a family even when they’re screwing up. I absolutely adored the heck out of Whitney, who may be frail but still rules her boys with an iron fist – and wields a tattoo machine as well. But, I still didn’t really love this book, and I think it’s more of an “it’s not you, it’s me” situation. For one, some of the content warnings hit a little too close to home for me. And it’s not that I think they were badly done, but some of the events that happen later in the book involving his ex were hard for me to read.
Overall, I’d give this 3.5 stars. If you’re looking for lots of angst and lots of emotion, and don’t have a problem with the content warnings, this is definitely a good bet.
I received an advance review copy of this book from BookSprout. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.