Rating: 5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Officer Samuel Briggs moved to Stratton, Pennsylvania to start over, to get away from a painful past that has haunted him for the past three years. All he wants is some peace and quiet, control of his own life, and to complete the repairs on the fixer house he purchased. As the new beat cop, Samuel makes his way around town casually getting to know the local business owners, employees, and patrons on his regular third-shift. At his first trip into Dixie’s Cup, Samuel immediately notices Rey, the short order cook. Something about Rey draws Samuel in, but he’s not sure if he’s ready to get to know anyone yet. He’s sure he’s not ready to let anyone get to know him. But something about Rey makes a part of Samuel want to open up to another person.
Reign “Rey” King is quite possibly the hardest worker in town. Working as a short order cook, a salesman at the local hardware store, and an all-around handyman keeps him pretty busy, usually too busy for a personal life. But when Sam walks into his life, the sexy patrolman is hard to ignore. Rey’s life is complicated and most people can’t handle it. His past haunts his every waking moment and the hurt never goes away. But something about Samuel gives him hope.
A chance run-in in the grocery store turns into an awkward lunch invitation that leads to a round of no-strings sex. A tentative friends-with-benefits relationship is born, but stands on rocky ground. The more time they spend together, the more difficult it is to not ask the personal questions that both know neither is willing to share.
When Rey ends up in the hospital after rescuing a co-worker from an attack, a head injury makes him unable to use his left hand. With his livelihood in jeopardy, Rey accepts an arrangement with Sam to help him renovate his house. But the already shaky friendship now faces fear, doubt, and guilt as their friends-with-benefits routine grows more permanent and deeper feelings threaten to expose both of their painful pasts.
A.M. Arthur is a new author to me and I’m so happy to have happened upon Cost of Repairs. It’s a story brought to life by two men with their own separate baggage who can’t seem to find happiness on their own and are afraid to find happiness with each other.
I adore the two main characters. They are beautifully written and captivating and heart breaking. Sam and Rey are so highly imperfect that they are perfect. They are both severely broken in such different ways, but what strengths they each have help the other begin healing in ways they never thought possible. Sam is so positive amazingly patient, almost saint-like. Rey is grounded and such a hard worker. Sam is stuck in a healing stage, whereas Rey hasn’t had the opportunity to even begin to heal. Sam and Rey are amazing characters individually, but together they are unbelievably beautiful and too hot for words. They are both so different, yet matched so perfectly.
Arthur not only creates wonderfully layered characters, but the way she characterizes doubt and guilt made me feel like they were corporeal beings actually talking to Rey. It’s such magnificent writing. The entire book is so very well done.
This story has so many layers – Sam starting over, his past, Rey’s past, life after Rey’s accident, their tentative relationship, and unexpected villain. It’s a painful story, a story of healing, a story of self-forgiveness, a story of unexpected love. What I love about this book is that there are no magical answers. Both Rey and Sam have had especially hard lives, but there is not fix-it-all. They work hard together to overcome. They fight. The have make up sex. They have uncomfortable moments. But nobody walks in and says, “Here’s the solution to all of your problems. Have a happy life.” Okay, there is one magical moment, but it’s not a fix-it-all, more of a relief, and not at all unbelievable.
I should warn you. You will laugh. You will cry. Your heart will break more than once. But in the end, it’s all worth it. The beauty of this story is in the broken heroes and the healing that they create for each other. It’s a story I plan on reading again. I highly, highly recommend Cost of Repairs by A.M. Arthur.
Cover: I love this cover by Lyn Taylor. The angsty emotion shown from Sam and Rey’s almost embrace, the beautiful setting, even the paint smear behind the title – it’s all very enticing and makes for such a lovely cover.