I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
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This is apparently book 2 in the series, but I had no issues reading this as a standalone.
If you've read the first book, you probably remember Marc who's a former homeless ex-junkie, selling himself to survive. Having pulled himself together with a lot of help, he now runs the LGBT shelter with Tate.
Eight years ago, Anthony led a mostly charmed life, in unrequited love with his best friend Marc, until Marc was gone, kicked out of his home at 16 for being gay. Lost without his best friend, his confidant, Anthony turned to alcohol and heroin.
Now Anthony is a junkie himself, and after a couple of failed attempts to get clean, he's on the verge of an overdose.
A late night visit from Anthony's sister spurs Marc to find Anthony and get him off the streets. But there are rules. Anthony must stay clean, or Marc will kick him out. And after 6 months, if Anthony stays off the drugs, they may go on a date.
This is a rather somber story, and both men keep secrets. Marc hates being touched, for reasons that aren't clear to those around him, and Anthony struggles without the drugs to kill his pain.
There wasn't a whole lot of physical affection between them for quite a while, which made it difficult to connect with the love story, and even though they eventually got together, there was what seemed to be manufactured drama toward the end, with Marc lashing out almost inexplicably toward Anthony, which nearly derails their budding romance.
While I can to some extent understand Marc's issues, I had a hard time forgiving him for the pain he puts Anthony through.
The main focus of the story is on drug addiction and recovery, and those parts were really well done. The author let us see deeply into Anthony's struggles with sobriety, and Marc's fears of relapse himself, and the lingering pain from the abuse he suffered. Also explored are the realities of life on the street, and the difficult choices so many young people have to make to survive.
As I said, this is a rather somber story, and while we get a happy ending, it's a hard fought for one.
** I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return. **