Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Romy Myers is still deep in recovery three months after friends rescued him from the apartment of his abusive boyfriend. Unable to hold down most jobs, his friends offered him not only a place to stay with them at their apartment, but a job bussing tables at their new coffee shop, Half Dozen. Romy has almost completely shutdown, quiet and shaky from the PTSD and trauma he suffered at Carlos’ hands. The old Romy, flirty, funny, and adorable, was buried deep inside. After all being that person had almost gotten Romy killed. Now alone and quiet is the key for Romy these days. But watching his friends, Donner and Ezra so deeply in love sometimes makes Romy remember when he wanted that too. Until it all went so wrong.
Brendan Walker has made watching over the wounded Romy sort of his job since he was the one to carry the bleeding man out of that apartment of horrors. Ex football player turned building maintenance worker, Brendan stays close, using funny texts and messages to stay close, developing a friendship that helps Romy stay grounded enough to get through social situations. But Brendan finds Romy occupying his thoughts 24 hours a day. And feelings start developing towards Romy that no straight man ought to have.
Now Brendan finds himself questioning his sexuality. If he is gay, is that something his large family will accept? And Romy finds Brendan protectiveness makes him feel safe, perhaps safe enough to think about love once more. Can these men put uncertainty and their pasts behind them to make a future together?
Stand By You is the third book in the Belonging series about a close group of friendsby A.M. Arthur. It is also the only book I have read so far in the series. Normally I find that an impediment to understanding the characters and events that have already taken place, but in Stand By You, I missed the horrific events that precipitated Romy’s rescue from Carlos as they had already taken place. Stand By You picks up with a physically recovered Romy still dealing with the emotional aftermath of his captivity and brutal treatment at his boyfriend’s hands. Romy is such a clearly defined and believable character.It is easy to find yourself emphasizing with his problems and nightmares. Watching his character learn to trust again was deeply moving and a wonderful part of this story.
Also touching was the figure of Brendan Walker. A “bruiser” of a man in appearance, Brendan’s real self is that of a considerate, protective, thoughtful person who loves his family so much he is willing to let his assumptions about their reactions rule his life. Here Brendan’s biggest fear is being anything other than straight. His attractions to men don’t start with Romy, so this isn’t a “gay for you” story but one about acceptance and exploring your sexuality. Brendan’s journey, while not as wounded a one, is as deeply affecting as Romy’s, especially since they are so intertwined.
There are so many issues that A. M. Arthur addresses in Stand By You, from the impact coming out has on a person and their family, to the recovery from a trauma both emotional and physical, and people dealing with all facets of their personality, good and bad. No matter the subject matter and the manner in which Arthur uses it in her story, this author handles it with sensitivity and care. It makes for lovely reading and layered characters that makes an impression upon the readers from start to finish.
As with Foundation of Trust, Stand By You will drive me back to the other stories in this series. To meet Donner and Ezra and all the rest and read their stories as well. As I said, you could read this as a stand alone as I did. It works well as such. Or go to the beginning (assuming you haven’t already done so) and start from there. I will be playing catch up! Either way, consider Stand By You by A.M. Arthur a highly recommended read at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.
Cover artist not listed. But that is a good cover for this story.
Sales Links: Carina Press All Romance eBooks amazon Stand By You
Expected publication: October 20th 2014 by Carina Press
Books in the Belonging Series in the order they were written:
No Such Thing (Belonging #1)
Maybe This Time (Belonging #2)
Stand By You (Belonging #3)