Title: Choosing Happy (More Than Friends #3)
Author Name: Aria Grace
Publication Date & Length: March 15, 2014 – 224 pgs
Book 3 of the More Than Friends Series. Can be read in sequence or as a standalone. (Book #1 is free)
Steve is living in Portland with many regrets. He has alienated the people he cares most about by making bad choices that continue to haunt him. When he meets a kid that’s in a bad relationship and needs some help, Steve reluctantly offers it, knowing it’s his chance to redeem himself. What he doesn’t expect is to find happiness. It’s there, all he has to do it choose to accept it.
For mature readers.
Steve and “Little Duck” Joey – so sweet. I love their characters. Steve has this overprotective streak in him that I simply have to admire. Despite not knowing Joey at all, Steve takes up for him – the attraction for Steve is there and he pines away. When it becomes too much, he tries to strike up a conversation, not knowing the consequences that Joey will face.
Joey is such an endearing character. Despite his innocence, I liked him right away. He was trying to find a way out for himself and got caught up with someone who was less than honest. Joey’s character is so sweet to Steve, but you see hints of his old, more confident self – before Topher. I liked seeing both sides of Joey and I LOVED his nick name of little duck.
I liked that the story had a lot of mystery. You were not given a lot of information about Topher, but from the impressions that Steve give, Topher is not a decent person. Grace does a good job of portraying the true hatred that Steve feels towards Topher. I could feel Joey’s fear, Steve’s hatred and Topher’s arrogance.
I also enjoyed the slight hint towards Steve’s past. Having not read the previous stories, these hints helped me put more context to why Steve was the way he was towards Joey and towards his friends.
This was a cute story of finding out what unconditional love is really about. I would for sure read from this author again.
Does he seriously have sympathy for me? That’s a new low, even for me. “Yeah.” I carefully reach out to take his hand. “And I promise not to bite.”
Moving slowly, he scoots out and walks behind me to the front door. Just like the little duck he was trained to be.
I open the door and sweep my arm in for Joey to look around. “There’s a guest room down here with a private bath.” I start walking but he doesn’t follow. When I reach the door to the bedroom that hasn’t been used since Zach’s last visit, I clear my throat, getting Joey’s attention. “In here, little duck. You can clean up and I’ll find some clothes for you while we wash yours.”
Nothing I own will fit his slender form but I’ve got a handful of clothes that guys have left here over the years that I keep in case they ever come back. Fortunately or unfortunately, they rarely return after I’ve driven them away.
Joey reluctantly walks to me and peeks in the room. “You really don’t mind?”
I shake my head, my eyes locked on his profile as he decides whether he can trust me or not. To my surprise, he steps in and sits on the edge of the bed.
I grab a few towels from the hall closet and walk into the bathroom. “You need to soak those gashes to make sure they don’t get infected. Want me to run a bath for you?”
His terrified eyes bug open and I know he thinks I’m trying to take advantage of him.
“Look, kid.” I pull out the desk chair and roll it so I’m sitting in front of him with about a foot between our knees. “I know you’re scared and you should be. You shouldn’t just trust a stranger off the street.”
Okay, this isn’t exactly making his breathing even out or his color improve. He looks like he’s about to burst into tears or jump through the window…or both.
I take a deep breath and start over. “My name is Steve Montgomery. You already know that I own The Waffle Haus. Rachel knows you’re with me and she’d kick my ass if I harmed one hair on your head so you can relax. I promise I won’t hurt you.”
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Aria enjoys the year round sunshine and laid back environment of the west coast. She lives with her husband and two children on a quiet hill that gives her lots of time to read and write. Her first series was a semi-traditional look at sexy gigs found online. She has now ventured into the exciting M/M world of gay erotica.