The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one minute to the next. – Mignon McLaughlin
I don’t know the first thing about knitting other than I’m a fan of my sweaters. I don’t know the first thing about writing other than I’m a fan of my books. What I do know is that knitting and writing seem to have a lot in common, because if an author doesn’t have the finesse and the patience and the dexterity to unravel a skein of words and stitch them together into something that doesn’t make your brain itchy, then that story is about as useful as a sweater with three arms and no neck hole.
Amy Lane knows how to knit like nobody’s business, darn it. She doesn’t make my brain itchy. She makes my heart twitchy and I looooove this series like a bunny loves to fu… loves carrots. I was going to say something naughty there, but I decided to keep this a family friendly review. Or not, because next comes more sex.
So what do you do with a guy who has settled for Mr. Whatever his entire life? How do you reform a guy who thinks special sex is the kind of quicky he had with Craw in the bathroom of the store he works in because it’s cleaner than the one-offs he had with strangers in private rooms at night clubs. Here’s what you do: you have a delivery guy walk into that store and you make that guy prove that he’s no Mr. Whatever. That guy proves he’s Mr. Everything, and you have Stanley Shulze wag his fluffy little tail, and you have Johnny Russo grab that fluffy little tail and love it till neither man can see straight. Then, if you’re Amy Lane, you throw in an ass-load of trouble called the mob—yeah, that mob!—just to keep things interesting and to keep you on that invisible thin line between “Awwww” and “God, I may vomit from the anxiety”. Dontcha just love it?! I do.
Then what do you throw in? Stanley’s people. Not his family, his flock, the people he loves and, lo and behold, who love him in return. And what do you do with them if you’re Amy Lane? You make them freaking awesome people you wish were your own family because they’re accepting and loving and they don’t throw you away just because your new boyfriend may or may not have an Etch-a-Sketchy past he’s trying to shake even though someone keeps turning those knobs and has drawn a dangerous line straight to him.
Then what? Well, then Jeremy, that sweet, gentle Jeremy, who is a bunny with the heart of a lion…well, he thinks he has a debt to pay to the cosmic deities; you know, the ones that keep the checks and balances in the ledger of guilty conscience and personal accountability, the ones that keep you from going spiritually bankrupt. Yeah, them. Jeremy feels he owes them a sacrifice for what Johnny did for him years before, so the least he can do to pay off that debt is to keep Stanley safe for Johnny, even if it means gutting Aiden in the process and forcing Aiden to go all whoop-ass in a totally righteous way. And lo, it was good.
But here’s the thing, and I love this quote because it fits:
It is not possible to make a guilty man innocent by suffering in his place. – Carl Lofmark
No, it’s not, so Stanley did what he had to do, and Jeremy did what he had to do, and now Johnny has to go and do the right thing, to reset the checks and balances in his own moral ledger so he can be the man Stanley needs him to be—the man who’s there and who loves him and who has taught him the difference between making love and having sex.
And then what? Well, if you’re Amy Lane, you get on with the business of putting those final few stitches into the word weft, tie it up and pronounce it happiness. And then we get to stand back and look at what she has made, with a critical eye, and see the hue and the shade, the strength and the fiber and the precision with which she has laid every stitch.
And if you’re me, you curl up in it and wrap it around you and call it good.