Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
After the death of his hoarder mother, Cole Alston has returned to his childhood home in order to clean it up. But that’s easier said than done. Cole hasn’t visited the house he grew up in for the past two years, after the death of his father and the epic argument between him and his mother about her obsessive hoarding that followed. He hadn’t realized how bad it had truly gotten until he showed up to start clearing the property – the clutter, the rot, the junk.
Just as he began the process of cleaning up the mess an antiques dealer showed up at the house. Jeremy Collins owns an antique shop in the small town of Franklin and has been trying for a while to get a look at what Cole’s parents have stored on the property. When Jeremy proposes a plan to help sell some of his father’s junk, Cole jumps on the opportunity to grab some cheap labor and more money than he expected for the sales. But the more time Cole spends with Jeremy, the more he wants to trust him, and trust is a hard thing for Cole to give away blindly.
Cole has been running from his abusive, obsessive ex for two years. He suffers bouts of PTSD on a daily basis. He hopes to clear out his mother’s house and sell it quickly so that he can use that money to start over somewhere Martin can’t find him. But meeting Jeremy seems to have put a wrench in his plans. The antique shop owner is kind and caring without reason. A quick friends-with-benefits relationship begins between Cole and Jeremy, and as their time draws to an end, Cole must decide if running from his painful past is worth walking away from the only good thing, the only good person he’s known for years. And if he stays will his past catch up with him?
A.M. Arthur is a new author to me this year and quickly becoming a must read. Unearthing Cole is the third book of hers I’ve read since January and I can honestly say that Arthur is one of my new favorites. Unearthing Cole is the story of a man who is buried under his past with no idea how to dig his way out. His healing comes in the form of a kind antique store owner, if only Cole can get over himself enough to ask for the help, or at least to open up. This story is Cole’s journey – one of fear and running, but also one of trust and healing.
Cole is a deeply broken and tortured character. He’s been physically and mentally abused for so long that he doesn’t even know himself anymore. When he looks in the mirror, he sees who his abusive ex trained him to be, not who he is. This story is his chance to find himself, get to know himself again. He’s a victim with a victim’s mentality – blaming himself for what he’s allowed to happen to him. He’s slowly, slowly getting better, but it’s not until he meets and gets to know Jeremy that his healing process really begins.
Jeremy is an amazingly beautiful character. He’s patient and caring. He’s tenderhearted and confident. He’s kind and strong. He’s led a hard life, one that has caused him a lot of loss and pain, but he’s overcome it and grown from it. He’s a rock for Cole. He pushes Cole to open up without being too forceful or pushing Cole away. His loving heart is what makes him one of my very favorite characters.
This story is one of healing and self-forgiveness. It’s a beautifully written and engaging story. I could hardly put the book down once I picked it up, not that I wanted to. As I look back on the story, I see the cleaning up of his mother’s hoard mirrors Cole’s healing. The cleaner the property became, the more open Cole became, the better he felt. It’s not an easy process either way. It is scary and intimidating for Cole, yet beautiful and liberating. I think it’s what I loved most about this story. And the romance side of the tale is both sweet and sexy. I love that this book is basically Cole and Jeremy getting to know one another, no promises of forever. This is the beginning of their relationship that I can only hope we will see more of in the future.
My only real quibble is with the ending. Don’t get me wrong, it ended well, just quickly. I felt the ending was a little rushed and would have liked more interaction between Cole and Jeremy in the end. And for all of the Cole/Martin build up, I really would have liked a stronger confrontation. Overall, it ended really well, but I would have liked more.
This is yet another book by A.M. Arthur that I’m head over heels for. It’s sweet and sexy and real. It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. This author takes real life, brings difficult issues into the light, and creates a beautiful, heartfelt, believable story from those situations. I absolutely adore this book and can only hope for more to come in the future…maybe a certain ex’s story, hmm? I highly recommend Unearthing Cole by A.M. Arthur and can’t wait to see what she has coming out next.
Cover: Just a beautiful, beautiful, lovely cover from L.C. Chase. The characters, the emotion, as well as the basic aspects of this story combined were combined to create this lovely masterpiece. I love it.