Rating: 5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Ezra Kelly is not looking for commitment, an easy hook up will do. But one encounter changes that in a way Ezra never expected. When Ezra runs into Donner, literally, and offers to take him home that night, both men aren’t quite certain that will happen. Ezra has noticed the bartender before, but the encounter in the bathroom of Pot O Gold is the first they’ve ever spoken outside of drink orders.
After dancing with another guy, Ezra decides to take him up on his offer in the bathroom, but when the guy gets his signals crossed and thinks Ezra is up for bottoming, Ezra panics. Then he hugs the nearest commode. That’s how Donner finds Ezra, with his pants around his knees, and when Ezra tells him that it was only because he had too much to drink, Donner doesn’t buy it, but he lets it go. Donner’s protective instincts won’t let him send Ezra on his way, so he makes sure Ezra gets home safely by walking him there himself. And the next day, on his way to a friend’s house to prepare for Street Feed (a not quite legal feeding of the homeless by means of turning edible dumpster food into healthy meals), Donner stops by to make sure Ezra is okay.
When Ezra shows up at the Pot O Gold with his friends and invites Donner home with him, neither man expects their attraction to go beyond that night. After all, Ezra has control issues that stem from childhood and Donner is still getting over the murder of his former partner, but the connection between Donner and Ezra only gets stronger after their first night. As they spend more time together, issues begin to rise between them that would have them running at a different time in their lives, but maybe this time it’s worth the pain.
Maybe This Time is the second book in A.M. Arthur’s The Belonging series.
It’s no secret that I am absolutely, completely, head-over-heels in love with A.M. Arthur’s books. I mark their release dates on my calendar and count the days until their mine. It’s that serious. So this book, which the author has nicknamed the Big Book ‘O Angst, was high on my list of priorities, and it didn’t disappoint. Maybe This Time is a book about new beginnings and trying new things. It’s about these two characters who discover things about themselves that they didn’t know they wanted or needed. It’s a story not of starting over, but beginning again from where we are. It’s absolutely precious.
I love these guys. Ezra was introduced in No Such Thing and quickly became a staple in Jamie and Alessandro’s lives in that book. Naturally, his larger-than-life presence and huge heart needed a story. When we meet Ezra in this book, he’s suffering the wounds from his past as well as dealing with a strained family relationship. After the boyfriend that he followed across the country abandoned him two years ago, Ezra swore off relationships. The events of his past make it difficult for him to bottom, so rather than explain those issues, he opts for one night stands, mostly relegated to bathrooms. But, guys, Ezra is more than his problems and his perceived downfalls. He’s this great character with a willingness to do any and everything for the people he cares about. The love and kindness in his heart, though guarded, is boundless. His past and his hurt make him a greater character, much stronger than he sees.
And then there’s Donner. Donner has issues of his own. To begin with, he was abused by his father and stepbrother as a child, but luckily his stepsister got him out of that situation. Then he found the love of his life only to watch as one of the people Jacob (Donner’s partner) worked so hard to help, killed him. Donner never thought he’d want another relationship, not until Ezra. And now Street Feed, Jacob’s baby, has started up again, and Donner lives with the fear of what happened to Jacob every time they set up to feed. Donner, although pained from the events of what has happened to him, is the stronger between him and Ezra. He’s more levelheaded. He knows what he wants and once he stops standing in his own way, he goes for it. But he won’t be used and he refuses to have a one-sided relationship, and he says as much to Ezra. Donner is the rock in their relationship. But most of all, they balance each other out. They heal one another.
This author did a great job of keeping my attention. This story is full of ups and downs and twists and turns, yet I never once found myself confused or lost. I walked the journeys right alongside both characters—their highs and lows—feeling what they felt, experiencing what they experienced the entire time. When Arthur called this book the Big Book ‘O Angst, she wasn’t kidding. But the way she guides these characters through their journeys of facing and dealing with their pasts, that’s what makes her a master of her craft.
As you can see, I loved this book. Absolutely loved every single thing about it. In fact, I wanted more—not because it ended wrong (because the end was perfect) but because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Ezra and Donner. I was completely and totally captivated by this story from beginning to end and cannot wait to see what is next for this series. I highly, highly recommend Maybe this Time by A.M. Arthur.
Note: Although Ezra was introduced in the first book in this series, No Such Thing, this book can be read as a standalone. But I recommend you read both books, as they are both fabulous.
Thanks for the fabulous review, Crissy! 🙂