Title: Talker’s Graduation
Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: Short Story

Rating: 4.5

Talker’s Graduation picks up about three years after the end of the second book, Talker’s Redemption (review). Like the first two, it is told alternating between present day and past events, giving us an opportunity to catch up on the boys and their lives.

They are now living in Petaluma, CA, in a little house by the water.  Talker loves living at the beach, the ocean and the quiet finally bringing some peace inside his head.  Brian has become an artist and a gallery owner and Talker is a bartender at a local bar.  It is heartwarming to see the guys so happy.  It is clear that they have found their place and their bond to each other is as strong as ever.

It took a while for them to get there, however.  Brian’s recovery was long and difficult and it took a lot of time for him to regain use of his arm in a functional way.  Talker still struggled with some guilt, feeling that his emotional state is what led Brian into the fight that got the whole ball rolling.  But their commitment to each other never wavered, and slowly the guys were able to rebuild their lives.

One of the things I loved about this series, and this book in particular, is the absolute adoration between the two men.  In most books the main characters are clearly in love, but the way Brian and Talker just worship one another is amazing.

Brian was always so solid; it would be wonderful if he looked as solid in the flesh as he felt to Tate in his heart.

But his hair was still a little long because he cut it short and then let it grow until he couldn’t stand it anymore, and his eyes were still that guileless cornflower blue, and he still looked at Talker like he was the best and only boy Brian had ever seen. As far as Talker knew, Brian would grow old and die and never really see another boy, and that was just fine with Talker. Talker was pretty sure he’d never see another man ever in the same way he saw Brian.

They are so sweet together and so devoted to one another that you can’t help but be happy when good things finally happen for them.

My one problem with the book was the time shifting.  All three books use flash backs liberally but in this book I occasionally found myself lost in time.  Perhaps because the things happening in the present and past were not as distinct here as with the other books, but there were a few times I found myself a bit disoriented.

Talker’s Graduation is a perfect end to the series.  If you are a fan of the first two you definitely will want to read this one.  It really feels more like an extended epilogue than a stand alone story.  You could probably follow along without reading the other books, but you would miss the major action that happens to Brian and Talker that shapes their relationship.  This book is not really plot driven in that same way, but more of a chance to see that our guys made it out ok at the end.  And as a reader, that made me very happy.