Author: A.M. Arthur
Publisher: Briggs-King Books
Genre: MM Contemporary
Summary: Rey King is happily settled in the life he shares with his partner Samuel Briggs. They have a close circle of friends, established routines, and Rey is even expanding his fledging catering business by bringing on a new partner. But he’s still haunted by the heartbreaking loss of his daughter six years ago. When Faith’s grandmother unexpectedly passes away a month before Christmas, Rey is shocked by an offer he never saw coming.
Samuel Briggs knew loving Rey wouldn’t be easy—Samuel’s no walk in the park either—and for eighteen months they’ve thrived as a couple. He believes their love can overcome anything—until a new obstacle is thrust in their path in the form of a shy, seven-year-old girl. Settling Faith into their chaotic lives won’t be easy, but Samuel will do anything for Rey—even put up with Rey’s new, handsome, too-attentive business partner and the long hours they spend together.
Misunderstandings, miscommunications, and unresolved tensions lead to one escalating fight after another, straining a relationship Rey always considered unbreakable. Rey knew getting his daughter back would change their lives—but he never imagined the best Christmas gift of his life could cost him the man he loves.
NOTE: This book was previously published under the same title. Cover art has been updated, and the content has been lightly edited, but no significant changes to the story or characters have been made. The story has also not been updated to reflect its pre-Marriage Equality setting.
BONUS CONTENT: “Party Favors,” a short story currently available for free on my website, which is set during the time period between the end of this book and the beginning of book five, Foundation of Trust. The story contains alcohol, a stripper, and bedroom fun.
Review: This is probably my favorite of the series, despite the fact that I usually avoid books with kids. It’s the circumstances under which Faith reappears in Rey’s life and his history from book 1, that makes it resonate for me. Samuel’s solid, calm presence as he faces the unexpected change in their lives just makes me melt, though. If you’ve ever had stepchildren, you’ll probably recognize some of the problems that Rey and Samuel run into with each other. With Rey, it’s exacerbated by his sense of guilt for not getting custody and overprotective reactions, as an inexperienced parent.
I appreciated that Faith wasn’t written as overly precocious and AM Arthur portrayed such an accurate depiction of a child her age, with the experiences she’d had. I felt so bad for Samuel at times and wanted to shake Rey silly. Yet it was quite easy to empathize with Rey, as he started a new business, processing his new parental role and in the process, losing the balance that he and Samuel had before. I really became engaged with this phase of Samuel and Rey’s relationship. As a huge bonus, we get a sexy short story as a kind of epilogue for them. Loved it! I’d very much recommend this story, that could technically be read alone but really needs to be read after book 1, at least. The relationship that took so much effort to build by both Samuel and Rey, makes this story a much richer experience.