MAYBE THIS TIME by A.M. Arthur
Details: No. 2 Belonging
Received from Carina Press
Through Love Romances and More
As a regular at gay hotspot Pot O Gold, Ezra Kelley avoids his tangled emotions with the simplicity of one-night stands and attachment-free hookups. Until the night bartender Donner Davis picks him up off the floor after a misunderstanding and too much tequila. Ezra can't remember the last time someone was…nice. It's more than he deserves.
Witnessing his lover's death two years ago has Donner trapped in a holding pattern, living in his sister's basement, working at the Pot and flirting with the customers. He's not above spending a night with the gorgeous Ezra, but love is not in the cards. That's more than he's ready for.
A passionate night leads to a connection neither man expects, and they take the first steps to something that looks like a real relationship. But Ezra's been running from himself so long he doesn't know how to live any other way. And Donner can't risk his heart just to lose everything again. They'll both need the strength to let go of the past if they want to get it right this time.
When I started this book I didn’t realize it was the sequel to ‘No Such Thing’ and I was pleasantly surprised to find myself spending more time with Jaime and Allessandro, even if they only play a supporting role in this book. The two characters taking centre stage this time, Donner and Ezra, are as fascinating as their two predecessors. They come with enough baggage to make connecting with each other harder than it should be which makes their hesitant relationship fascinating to follow. They don’t always deal with their issues in the best possible way which makes them relatable characters.
None of the issues the characters face are new to the reader. We’ve read books about parents rejecting their child before. There’s nothing new about being reluctant to commit to someone new after you’ve lost the love of your life. And yet nothing in this story felt rehashed. Their story may not be unique, these characters were and they are what made this a beautiful and hard to put down book.
It was impossible to not fall for Donner almost from the moment he is introduced to the reader. He is one of those characters who is aware of his issues, struggles with them but tries to stop himself from allowing his past to interfere with his future. Ezra on the other hand is a bit more of a handful. Younger than Donner he hasn’t yet learned to separate his past from who and what he is. His constant struggle between wanting to connect to Donner and being afraid of what it might cost him in the long run was at times heartbreaking. Watching him as he takes small steps towards a happy future was beautiful.
“Flaws are only part of a person. Our pasts are another part. But the most important part is our present. It’s the guy you are now and the guy you’re going to be down the road.” - Donner
The author pulls no punches in this book. We’re given a clear picture of everything that can and does go wrong in relationships, families and the world at large. The fact that this is a positive and ultimately uplifting story despite all the darker details proves A.M. Arthur has found the right balance between gritty realism and beautiful romance.
The writing in this book was smooth and at times awe-inspiring. The dialogue between the characters sounded real and the descriptions left me with a clear picture of Donner, Ezra and the world they live in. I’m pretty sure there will be more titles coming in the ‘Belonging’ series – I even have my suspicions about the character the next book might focus on – and I will most definitely be reading it when it comes out.
“Because nothing worth doing is ever completely easy. It’s like falling in love. You have to risk getting hurt in order to get the rewards, and usually the rewards are so fucking amazing and totally worth it.” – Donner