Title: Say It Right (All Saints #2)
Author: A.M. Arthur
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: September 12, 2016
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
After his parents kicked him out for being gay, Marc Villegas lived on the streets before getting a second chance. Now he’s giving back by working at a shelter for LGBT teenagers—because helping fight their demons keeps his own at bay. Including his infatuation with the former best friend he’s sure is straight.
Anthony Romano hasn’t seen Marc since Marc left home eight years ago. In his confidant’s absence, Anthony turned to heroin. Now at rock bottom, he has an offer from Marc to help him get clean. Detox is hard and ugly, but not as hard as admitting the truth: he’s in love with Marc. Always has been.
Marc swore he’d never date an addict, but he never dreamed the one in question would be the man he’s always wanted to be with. As the two explore their feelings for each other, Marc faces a difficult choice. Say yes, and it could cost him his sobriety; say no, and it could cost him his heart.
We first meet Marc in Come What May, where he and Tate are co-founders of All Saints House, a shelter for at-risk LGBT youth. Marc is the moody, lonely, quiet guy you just know has a dark secret, something that explains why he is so committed to the homeless shelter and All Saints’ mission.
And while Marc’s backstory is compelling, the story of Anthony and Marc felt predictable – two childhood friends, one comes out and is discarded by his “loving” family onto the street; the other remains home to mourn the loss of his best friend. Life deals each of them a bad hand, and they meet years later, only to realize they have always loved one another.
The arc of Anthony’s rescue and ongoing redemption keeps the story interesting, and Marc and Anthony’s love for one another is tender and true. In Come What May, I loved how Josh came to terms with his love for Tate. In Say It Right, Marc is so closed off and so tightly wound (with some pretty big triggers) that breaking through to that love was a difficult (and sometimes slow moving) process. While the ending brings Marc and Anthony to that hard-won HEA, the whole fundraising subplot seemed a bit too long-winded and unfocused.
But, I completely understand that “your mileage may vary” … so if you liked the first book in the All Saints series, give this book a read and let me know if I’m off base! And as an added bonus, if you’ve read A.M. Arthur’s “Belonging” series, you’ll get to catch up with Ezra, Donner and Alessandro from that series.