We already met Shane in the previous book. He is a cop, originally came to handle Benny's father when he was crazy enough to try and forcefully take Parry Angel (Benny's daughter). Shane and the family got along just fine (once Jon realized he's not there to harm anyone, he's actually on THEIR side) but there is still much we don't know about Shane. He and Deacon are both guys who doesn't express themselves verbally, for different reasons. Though Deacon is considered the "patriarch" of the family and sure act as one, he is actually quite shy. Shane on the other hand sees himself as "weird" and so he rather not speak his mind and be considered the odd bird.. Which is why he sticks to himself mostly, after arriving in Levee Oaks he adopted as many dogs and cats as he could and considered keeping to himself. Yet without even realizing it he procured a loving family, one who truly cares for him, unlike his real family - self centered parents and Kimmy, his twin sister, he was never close to.
Since the Pulpit is in bad shape and everyone is struggling to do their share, Shane decides to spoil the girls a little and buy them cool cloths at the fair in which his sister the dancer performs. Both siblings missed each other but it seems they aren't very good at keeping in touch, it's not something they were "taught" to do growing up. There isn't a lot of them in this book, though near the end there is a big issue both of them deal with together which brings them closer to one another. I was wondering if Kimmy was somehow forgotten along the way, but then I realized the connection was just "silenced" to make more room for Shane and Mikhail relationship buildup.
We actually also got the fairest glimpse of Mikhail in the previous installment when Shane comes with great news near the very end. But seeing how these two got together was SO satisfying! I enjoyed every minute though Mikhail didn't make it any easier on Shane. Mikhail is a dancer, just like Kimmy, they preform together when Kimmy's boyfriend and dance partner is "unable" to attend. When Shane first sees Mikhail he is floored by the guy, mostly his appearance but also his whole demeanor. They enjoy a fun day together, picking up cloths for himself and for the girls back home. Though Shane is smitten, he wants a real relationship, so the "no strings attached" Mikhail is offering is NOT on the table the way he sees it. When he offers to court him, Mikhail is dumbstruck. he doesn't know how to deal with what Shane offers. He is in a difficult situation as it is - his mother is dying from cancer, and he is also drowning in his own guilt about a broken promise from his miserable past.
Shane doesn't care, he likes Mikhail, he wants to be with him and he is willing to do the adjustments Mikhail needs (mostly taking things VERY slowly). Mikhail agrees to Shane's advances but he doesn't believe any of it will last, life has shown him otherwise and so the self journey Mikhail has to go through is see Shane for the amazing guy that he is and realizing he is not only worthy of him, he is the PERFECT guy to care for him.
The relationship buildup between the two of them was so so beautiful. Shane is such a good and honorable guy, and yet he had to deal with shitty people his whole life, taking advantage of him, mistreating him or taking him for granted. His new family is a great improvement and yet he wants more, more from / with Mikhail. He gave Mikhail what he needed, making sure he is unable to push him away, and if he must, he is also somehow there to guide him back. There is so much compassion in everything he does and the way he acts to everyone around him. I was really happy with the way things concluded, not only with his relationship with Mikhail but work-wise as well.
Mikhail is ashamed of him past and his decisions from back then, his mother did her best to care for him and in the end did the huge step of getting them from Russia to the US so Mikhail can get a (better) future. Now it's his turn to take care of her on her dying bed. Their relationship was so sweet and sad. Seeing her getting weaker and weaker and yet she is always his mother and she makes him happy and cares for him in everything she does. It's no wonder she and Shane also bonds. She might have wanted a woman to care for Mikhail, but seeing who Shane is, she is happy her son will have someone to spend his life with (even if unlike her original wishes Mikhail would have to cook for HIM, Shane is a disaster in the kitchen! hehe).
The journey both of them went, together and alone taught them the true things they value in life, and also to value themselves. It was funny seeing how much Mikhail was afraid of the shy Deacon and yet Deacon TOTALLY acts the crazy protective "father of all" in most instances. I loved how both Mikhail and Shane saw each other, the beauty they found in one another (not always what others would see or like). I loved how Mikhail was protective of Shane and the things he found appealing and others didn't (like being weird and his body hair). They were a fit, in everything, it was just waiting for Mikhail to accept there is no other option but to submit to his own will, realizing THIS is what he wants and he deserves exactly that. From Shane's side there is a nice closure with a situation from his past. It showed how much everything in his life changed and made him strong enough to express himself when he knows there are so many people who got his back.
A must read! [ After the first one naturally ]
Can't wait for the next one with Jeff's story.
Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 376 pages, 17-19 April 2016 / On GoodReads