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Monday, December 22, 2014

Duty & Devotion (Faith, Love, & Devotion #3) [Evan & Matt] by Tere Michaels

Another beautiful installment of Evan and Matt. While the first installment finished with a very positive note there were things that still needed to be addressed and worked on. I guess with most novels I'd be content to be left with a positive note and not an absolute closed ending. Also I usually don't appreciate reading of a formed couple which is why in a way I was a bit worried about getting the (almost) final HEA for Matt and Evan. I'm so happy that I was proved wrong and enjoyed the HELL out of this one. 

While it was a shock to both Matt and Evan to find out they are attracted to each other, I guess Matt handled it much better than Evan right from the beginning. Matt was the one who made the first move, the one who realized he is attracted to Evan, while Evan was oblivious to Matt's feelings as well as his own. As the romance between them flourished there was always a note of insecurity when it came to Evan showing off the fact he is gay or rather bi. In general he is more influenced by what people say about him, about his family while Matt, maybe even more because of the way he stopped being a cop is exactly the guy who doesn't give a flying fuck what anyone thinks. Also he is just happy to be, well, HAPPY! Yeah, with a guy but does it really matter in the end? To Matt it doesn't to Evan it does.. 

About half of the book we witness Evan's insecurities and the problems they both encounter in life - apart as well as together. Matt is replacing Evan's wife in too many ways, he doesn't work he just takes care of the children, Evan's children.. He is so domestic. Going shopping, taking the kids from and to wherever. It's not only he doesn't have a job he doesn't even have a time consuming hobby.. Evan on the other hand keeps struggling with labels. With trying to accept the fact he is gay, trying to somehow deal with the world around him not really getting or accepting the concept of two men together, two men raising a family together etc. I guess Matt's struggle is more "likable" in a way since he doesn't complain as much (in his head I mean) and he generally accepts life while Evan is always tormented and confused and can't seem to settle with the happiness he has in his life and screw everyone else. So while I personally didn't get annoyed by Evan, I was actually understanding him perfectly! I think he might be considered quite the "cry baby" by certain people. Naturally both Evan and Matt's personal struggles also affect their relationship even if it's obvious for the both of them they want to be together (but at what cost?).

About half way through there's a VERY loaded double date - them with Jim and Griffin (MC from Love & Loyalty - the previous installment). While Evan promises to "behave" he doesn't really, he is jealous - not only of the relationship and past Matt and Jim share but of the open affection Jim and Griffin expresses. I really enjoyed the fact that even though we see the possessive jealous side of Evan, it's not the only side we see and when Jim and Griffin leave (after quite an adventure) it's on a very friendly note between all four of them and with Griffin and Evan somewhat becoming friends and Evan learning from the two more than he (or Matt) would expect. 

Jim and Griffin leaving also signaling a new chapter for Evan (and by that also Matt) with him trying very hard to be himself, to be gay, bi, whatever, to be Matt's lover, to see him truly as the one he wants to raise his family with. Stereotypes aside, and what he wants in his hands and in his heart. It was beautiful seeing how much he worked on himself,the little changes and how much satisfaction it brought to the both of them as well as for all the family. 

The ending was also sensitive and sweet. Both because of the occasion (I'm not going to spoiler and say what it is :)) and because of the things that were said and done in the last and final chapter. 

Highly recommended!!! Beautiful way to see a couple that is basically established yet struggling with identity and labels, coming to terms with one's wants and needs. While most MM novels deal with some difficulty with the society, most don't relate to personal difficulty maybe because unless we are talking about GFY ("Gay For You") the main characters KNOW they are gay. Here it's a revelation that appears in an age that people usually don't find shocking truths about themselves. 

Unlike the previous two which could each be read as a stand alone, this one must be read AFTER the first two and mostly after the first novel so you'll understand the way the relationship between Matt and Evan was established. Also it's a BEAUTIFUL love story you shouldn't miss anyhow :)

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 234 pages, 21-22 December 2014 / On GoodReads

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