This book may be labeled as the first in AM Arthur’s Restoration series, but if you’ve read her Belonging books, you’ll recognize several characters. One of our heroes here was actually a rather unsavory character in those stories: Tag, who it seems is both a psychiatrist and an alcoholic man-whore. I didn’t read those earlier books, but based on the backstory we get here, I probably wouldn’t have liked him.
Tag, otherwise known as James, has problems. More than a decade ago, his mother’s boyfriend molested his sister and she killed herself. This has shaped his life, pushed him into his career. And now that the pervert is out of jail, it has him reaching for the bottle and the first available hard body to get him through the night. But one really ill-advised night at the club has him calling his best friend Nathan to come pick him up. From there, it seems like a good idea in his drunk mind to lay a big fat kiss on his straight buddy.
But this is a m/m romance, right? Nate can’t be totally straight. Turns out, he’s mostly straight, except when it comes to James. And after that kiss, everything changes. It changes even more after a vicious attack on Nate makes both men take stock of their real feelings and decide whether they can ever be more than friends. This, as each must work to exorcise the internal demons that could end their budding relationship before it ever really gets started.
I wanted to love this book, especially with two such damaged protagonists, but I had issues. The biggest problem is my inherent skepticism of the gay-for-you theme Nate has going on. More specifically, how a man who has always been straight jumps so quickly and easily into a sexual relationship with his best bud. I would have expected a bit more teeth gnashing and reflection about that. Yeah, I know that there is something special between these two, but I feel like a little more trepidation would have felt realistic.
Issue number two: James as a “good” shrink. He is so messed up. Banging strangers in the bar; drinking every day. Blacking out. It’s hard to reconcile that with the devoted and effective psychiatrist he is supposed to be. Plus, turning a booty call into a patient? Ew.
It wasn’t bad, but I just wasn’t feeling it. It seemed like there was more comfort in the Nate/ James relationship than fire. There’s one full on sex scene that’s pretty hot, but this relationship didn’t stir me. One second these two are like an old married couple, the next, acting like jealous teenagers who don’t know how to have a conversation rather than jumping to conclusions.
There’s also too fine a point put on the benefits of therapy. It’s like everyone is in therapy or counseling or group support of some kind. It felt like too much.
I will say that I wasn’t lost by the connection to the previous series, even though I had not read those books. Maybe, though, this will be a better hit for those already invested in this world.
*ARC provided by author for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
Getting It Right
by AM Arthur
Release Date: March 16, 2015
Publisher: Carina Press