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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Living Promises (Promises #3) [Jeff & Collin] by Amy Lane

Another beautiful, heart breaking story in the Promises series. ~sign~ I LOVE Amy's writing, I love this series and how HUMAN it is. Getting to the third installment means these guys (and a few gals ;)) are so REAL to me. Yeah there's a lot of angst in all of these, this one included.. Boy Oh Boy so much stuff Jeff has to deal with that he rather keep to himself! But when you think about it, it's never OTT, everyone here in these books feel genuine to me. I already wrote in the previous book's review I'd love to visit Levee Oaks and meet everyone because that's how it feels. They are, all of them together, such a warm and loving family and every new member just adds to the sweet mix. 

I'm blabbering without saying anything about this book.. I realize that.. it's just finishing another one in the series is so satisfying. Another couple is formed (well, actually more than one ;)) and the HEA vibe is everywhere ;) 

About twelve years ago Jeff was left all alone in the world when he came out to his family. From a loving and caring family all that was left are bitter sweet memories. Not only does his father disconnected him from ALL of his extended family, his mother is institutionalized with Alzheimer and he isn't even allowed to talk or visit her. He finds his way into her life with the help of a nurse, enabling him to speak to her on the phone. At lease that.. even though she doesn't always remember he is out to the family or even not a teenager anymore.. But that's the family he can cling to.. Lucky he found a new family through his rather new best friend - Crick whom he met when Crick came to Jeff for PT after he returned injured from Iraq.

It didn't take long for Jeff to be integrated to the family, and yet he keeps most of his troubles to himself showing off is "funny side". He rather live alone with his two cats. It's been 5 years since his last relationship, the one that not only left him with a broken heart and totally alone in the world but also with HIV.. Kevin never meant to do Jeff any harm, but the decisions they both made brought Jeff to be infected and then not that long after Kevin got killed overseas.. The only "break" Jeff got was from one of his professors giving him all the hope and help he and his wife could. They saved his life - for sure! Jeff would have considered himself a rather self centered person, and yet he loves to help others which is why he found himself in just that sort of profession and yet it doesn't end at that, when he sees the 18 years old scared to death Collin in the HIV clinic he does his best to reassure him. 

Jeff might have put the whole situation with Collin behind him but to Collin - Jeff became a sort of a hero and then, 4 years later he started noticing him in the diner his family owns. Yeah he was a bit of a stalker but not too much ;) I'll admit I disliked him a bit about in the beginning for how pushy he was. Yeah he wanted to return the favor to Jeff but since Jeff doesn't really KNOW him why would he accept his help? Not to mention his lips..

I'm getting ahead of myself.. The big issue that Jeff needed help with had to do with Martin - Kevin's youngest brother coming to "visit" after he read the letter Kevin wrote to Jeff in case of his death. Jeff never got that letter and so when Martin finds it in the attic with a whole lot of secrets he has his answers to seek. Lucas, Kevin's best friend (who also served with him) comes along / after Martin to try and defuse the situation.. Kevin's family was never going to accept the fact he was gay and that's exactly the family Martin grew up into. Lucas though, being the white guy int the black neighborhood, didn't have any problems with Kevin's sexuality. 

That's just Jeff's life nowadays.. Not being able to see his mother, dealing with the love his life being dead and buried and now getting to relive all of that again with Martin and the letter Kevin left behind. Also trying to help Martin figure out what he needs and how to be able to go back to his family or stay at Shane's house for runaway kids. 

Though you won't have guessed it both Lucas and Martin really do fit with the family. Lucas and Kimmy (Shane's brother) click though it's on the outskirts of the story and Martin finds comfort and friendship with few other characters (Jeff and Collin included). 

Into this hideous mix comes Collin, wanting to FINALLY return the favor Jeff did for him so long ago. Yeah he is younger than Jeff.. but getting HIV tends to mature a guy.. and so he does his best to try and make Jeff see reason and allow him to be there for him. Jeff even try. After every instance they grow together he does his best to pull apart leaving Collin frustrated! Yet all the family is supportive of Collin seeing he is JUST what Jeff needs if he only allowed himself to have it. 

Collin also has a sad little story of his own, and yet having a loving and supportive family does the trick and so though almost ten years younger in a way he is older and wiser that Jeff. He had someone to support and love him all his life but finding love, that was never on the menu, except when it comes to Jeff. I didn't like Collin at first, he was a little bit too pushy for my liking but as the story progressed he TOTALLY grew on me :) I also loved his interaction with his mother and worker - Joshua. What a cool old guy! hehe

If you think that's the only mess Jeff has to deal with - you're wrong! There's also something wrong happening with one of the members of the family, making everyone extremely worried and also bringing back Benny from her studying. I gotta say, if Deacon in the patriarch of the family, Benny SURE is the matriarch. Haven't realized how much I missed her myself! 
Because of this situation there are a few more POVs than just Jeff and Collin. It was surely needed, giving us more angels to this "side story". 

I've written too much as it is. This book was LONG and COMPLICATED! Though I really (!) enjoyed it, it was a bit of a difficult read, especially since it's the third installment and everyone in the story means so much to me - seeing them hurting was painful. 

As the rest of the books in the series - HIGHLY recommended. But MUST be read by order. 
There's only one more book left.. a sort of closure, with all the couples together in one book. ~sigh~ saying goodbye is going to be truly sad.. :

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 350 pages, 20-23 April 2016 / On GoodReads
Promises is a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Contemporary MM Romance series by Amy Lane.

1. Keeping Promise Rock [Carrick "Crick" Francis & Deacon Winters] (Published 17 January 2010) ★★★★★
2. Making Promises [Shane Perkins & Mikhail Vasilyovitch Bayul] (Published 26 July 2010) ★★★★★
3. Living Promises [Jeff Beachum & Collin Waters] (Published 4 July 2011) ★★★★★ 
4. Forever Promised [All couples!] (Published 28 June 2013) ★★★

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