Title: Say It Right
Series/Universe: All Saints #2
Author: A.M. Arthur
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: September 12th 2016
Page Count: 352 pages
Age Rating: Adult (language, explicit sexual scenes, drug addiction themes, mentions of past assault)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received an ARC to review
Publisher’s page: Say It Right
After his parents kicked him out for being gay, Marc Villegas lived on the streets before getting a second chance. Now he’s giving back by working at a shelter for LGBT teenagers—because helping fight their demons keeps his own at bay. Including his infatuation with the former best friend he’s sure is straight.
Anthony Romano hasn’t seen Marc since Marc left home eight years ago. In his confidant’s absence, Anthony turned to heroin. Now at rock bottom, he has an offer from Marc to help him get clean. Detox is hard and ugly, but not as hard as admitting the truth: he’s in love with Marc. Always has been.
Marc swore he’d never date an addict, but he never dreamed the one in question would be the man he’s always wanted to be with. As the two explore their feelings for each other, Marc faces a difficult choice. Say yes, and it could cost him his sobriety; say no, and it could cost him his heart.
Book two of the All Saints series
Marc and Anthony were the best of best friends growing up. They were absolutely inseparable until sixteen-year-old Marc was thrown out by his father for being gay and the two boys lost touch. Eight years later, Marc is pretty damned surprised when Anthony’s little sister shows up on his doorstep out of nowhere and asks for his help to save her drug addict brother.
A.M. Arthur writes beautiful, angsty love stories that always tear me apart emotionally, and in Say It Right Marc and Anthony are so very broken, both having lived on the streets and having struggled with hardcore drug addiction and other terrible things that I don’t even want to mention (slight spoiler: there’s at least one scene were a past assault is described and. It. Is. Heartbreaking.). Marc’s been clean for almost five years and now co-runs an LGBT shelter for homeless teens, while Anthony is just coming down from his last high and has a long way to go towards recovery. Marc knows that he’s risking his sobriety by taking in his old friend, but how can he not? He loved him eight years ago and he still loves him now and it turns out Anthony has loved him back all along – oh my gosh, my heart ached for these two!
Say It Right is the second book in the All Saint series and can be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend reading Come What May, the previous book in the series, to get a fuller picture and get to know some of the background characters. In fact, if you’ve read Arthur’s other books set in the same universe you’ll recognize quite a few characters – Ezra (Maybe This Time) and Alessandro (No Such Thing) play big rolls in this book (and their partners to lesser extents), plus Romy (Stand By You) and Riley and Boxer (Finding Their Way) also make an appearance. If you have no idea who any of these people are, no worries, you won’t miss out and they’re all briefly introduced on a need to know basis so you’ll be fine.
I loved Say It Right, from angsty beginning to HEA, and I can’t wait for the next book in the All Saints series, As I Am, which comes out February 13th and looks to be even more of an emotional ride.
In Say It Right, Anthony can’t really have coffee during the early days of getting clean, so when Marc takes him to Half-Dozen for the first time, Anthony orders lemongrass tea, mostly because it’s the “least offensive choice”. After repeat visits to the coffee shop, Anthony comes to find comfort in the familiar lemon aroma and decides it’s becoming one of his new favorite things. As a fan of lemongrass tea myself, and a big fan of lemongrass in particular and just lemon in general, I’m recommending Marley Coffee Get Up, Stand Up – a lovely light roast coffee with a smooth, soft floral taste and just the right touch of comforting lemongrass flavor.