Collin Mulligan is living a lie. He's deeply in the closet and has little in his life except for his family's auto repair business. A chance encounter at a bar brings Rafael Guerrera in to Collin's world. Collin wants nothing to do with Rafael but as Rafael persists in his attempts at friendship, Collin slowly starts to open up. Unfortunately for both men the road is a long and painful journey.
I felt this was an exceptionally well told story. This is the second book in a series and we met Collin in the first book and we saw his behaviors through his brother's eyes. Collin was a deplorable character in that book. One of those you're sure you can never like. This book overlapped and we saw most of the events again but this time from Collin's perspective and it was amazing the difference it was. The author did a great job showcasing the reasons why Collin did the things he did. I especially liked the fact that there were no excuses given for Collin's behavior and really he doesn't redeem himself completely. Collin has issues and he can be a jerk. Despite that I was drawn into his story as he works through the self hate that paralyzes him. Rafael was also a well done character and his back story helps to explain his willingness to be patient and kind to Collin.
The first book in the series was this author's book debut and I really liked it. This I think though was even better and you could see her writing growth. I think she's going to end up being a favorite of mine. Despite this being the second in the series and having tie ins with book one you could read this as a standalone. There is a strong enough story here that it still works. I think for maximum emotional impact you should read book one first but you wouldn't have to. Again, I thought this was wonderful and would definitely recommend this.
The only thing in Colin Mulligan’s life that makes sense is taking cars apart and putting them back together. In the auto shop where he works with his father and brothers, he tries to get through the day without having a panic attack or flying into a rage. Drinking helps. So does running and lifting weights until he can hardly stand. But none of it can change the fact that he’s gay, a secret he has kept from everyone.
Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lie the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.