Rating: 5 stars
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Jasper “Ace” Atchison meets Sonny Daye while serving in Afghanistan. As Sonny’s superior officer, it is clear to Ace that Sonny has lied to get into the Army and there is far more to his background than he lets on. But Ace feels an instant connection and takes Sonny under his wing, looking out for him while they serve together. And Ace knows that when they both get out of the service, Sonny is still going to need looking after. Something in him is damaged and scared and he desperately needs to belong to someone, and that person is Ace. Sonny’s dream is to own a garage and to race cars, and Ace is determined to give that to him.
Ace does everything he can to carve out a little space in the world for him and Sonny. He buys an old garage with a tiny house next door. He gets an old car that will be perfect for Sonny to fix up for their drag races. And he makes a home for Sonny to come to when he gets out of the service, even though Ace isn’t sure if Sonny wants him as a friend or something more. But soon it is clear that Sonny shares Ace’s feelings. He not only cares for Ace romantically, he needs him, needs to belong to him. And Ace and Sonny promise each other forever, that they will always belong to one another no matter what. Ace can tell that Sonny has survived something awful, something he still can’t bring himself to talk about. And Ace is determined to protect him, no matter what the cost. But when Sonny’s past comes back to haunt him, Ace must risk everything to care for the man he loves.
Ok, you guys know Amy Lane is brilliant, right? No one really needs me to tell them that, do you? So yes, this one is just fabulous. I fell in love with Ace and Sonny immediately and they never let go their hold on my heart. Lane does such an amazing job creating these rich characters, with so much depth and emotion you can’t help but be drawn to them. These are not wealthy, highly educated, or sophisticated. They are real people figuring out a way to make it together, each putting each other’s needs first and only.
Ace really fascinated me, as he almost seems wise beyond his years. Though only older than Sonny by a little, he knows exactly what Sonny needs and how to take care of him. There is a sense of practicality to Ace, a feeling that he will get the job done and deal with things until they are in order. From the way he sets up their new life when waiting for Sonny to get discharged, to how he methodically deals with the crisis at the end of the book, Ace is just a guy you want in your corner. At the same time he is tough and strong, he is also so caring. He takes Sonny into his heart and would die for him. And not just Sonny. Ace is a big softie, bringing in strays and taking care of these people, always the protector. I just loved him.
And poor Sonny, he is so damaged and fragile and needs Ace from the beginning. But he is also fierce, and in some ways almost feral. Sonny’s past is horrible, and each piece we get paints an even clearer picture. His surprise that Ace had family meals growing up. His delight at buying someone a present for the first time. The thrill of eating ice cream in the evening. With each page we slowly come to understand that his life has been nothing but a struggle. And at the same time, it is far worse than we could have ever imagined. But Sonny has simple needs. He wants his garage, he wants to work on cars, and most of all, he wants Ace. Truly to be happy in the world, what Sonny needs most of all is to belong to Ace, heart and soul. And that is just what happens.
One of the things I most loved about this story is the voice. As I said, these are relatively simple men with basic needs. So many stories deal with almost unrealistically polished men with wealth and sophistication, and these guys just feel so real. The way they talk and interact, the way they live their lives, and Ace’s narration. I just felt so absorbed into their lives and immersed into the story by they way Lane writes these characters.
So I just loved this one. It is so beautifully written and it will draw Ace and Sonny right into your hearts. You can’t help but root for these guys that are so determined to take care of one another. They both have troubling pasts, they are both struggling to figure their lives out. But overriding everything is their fierce need and love for one another. Beautiful story and highly recommended.