Favorite Quote: “I’ve got you.”
Barrett McCall’s quiet solitary life is a life saving choice. A once repetitive lifestyle almost sent him spiraling into a deep abyss with no way out. It wasn’t until a life shattering incident makes him stand up and take a good look at his life and the choices he was making, does he decide that changes are needed. He moves to Straton, Pa, starts working as a short order cook and keeps his life simple. When his apartment burns down, his boss offers him her basement apartment which puts in the sights of his boss’s nephew.
Schuyler (Sky) Rhodes is an art teacher whose traumatic past causes him to make reckless decisions. He feels guilt over the death of his cousin and it causes him to keep everyone at arms length. Meeting Barrett is an epiphany for him. Barrett’s strength and serenity soothes the storm that rages in him and a single soul shattering kiss begins to melt Sky’s barriers and a tentative friendship forms. When Sky’s past comes back to town, threatening to tear Sky apart, Sky will have to be one hundred percent honest with Barrett, even if it pushes him away for good.
Color Of Grace is the second in A.M.Arthur’s Cost Of Repairs series. Color of Grace is an emotionally heart tugging M/M romance about pain, loss, and forgiveness. Smoothly written with a viable plot and interesting sub plots that intertwine and pull together to give us a poignant realistic story. Engaging characters and descriptions expand on the original storyline to further the “small town” appeal that the series foundation is built upon.
Our protagonists, Barrett and Sky are studies in the “before and after” of tragedy and how it is dealt with. Both have suffered a devastating loss that crippled them emotionally and chained them in their pasts. Barrett suffered the loss of a good friend and almost his life to drugs then disease. He is given a second chance and chooses to use that gift to exorcise his demons and take the path to living right again. Sky is also dealing with the loss of a good friend, his cousin, and the guilt has literally crippled him emotionally. He is unable to move on from that single point. He makes bad choices which carry the potential of causing harm to himself and others.
The author does a wonderful job of introducing Barrett and Sky to each other and the readers; revealing their individual pasts slowly to coincide with events happening now. Their layers are peeled back, allowing us to understand where they came from and where they are at now. Barrett instantly feels the connection with Sky. He wants to explore their attraction and see if a relationship is possible; something he has chosen not to pursue in the past as he was not ready. As their relationship progresses, he realizes that Sky has has become very important to him but has demons that he himself has fought and unsure how to broach the subject. The relationship is developed slowly with plenty of emotional and physical tension. I enjoyed feeling the chemistry build from a slow flame to a roaring combustible fire.These two men are not easy to trust. They have both been burned in the past and they are fear the loss that sometimes occur with people you love.
Their sexual relationship is both sweet and dirty and completely emotionally satisfying. It offers even more insight into Barrett and Sky. Issues are addressed and I liked that the author chose to not only voice them, but also to resolve them in a realistic manner.
The main conflict and subsequent plot lines are used to facilitate Barrett and Sky’s relationship both physically and emotionally. Each problem they encounter mirrors a past issue that Barrett and Sky are dealing with. The solutions are used to help heal the past. Dixie, Sky’s aunt plays a solid role in here and I enjoyed getting to know her better. Past characters are re introduced into the storyline, creating a family like dynamic that integrates you deeper into this small town and it’s residents. Sam and Rey also make a few appearances and we get to see how their relationship is progressing.
The ending is the dramatic catalyst that breaks Sky and forces he and Barrett to confront their deepest fears. It is deliciously tense and leaves you watching wide eyed with shock and consternation.
I thoroughly enjoyed A.M. Arthur’s trip back to Stratton, PA and look forward to visiting again in the future.
Overall Rating: B