Officer Noel Carlson isn’t out to anyone in small-town Stratton, Pennsylvania, only to distant friends and family, so a relationship is out of the question. That doesn’t stop him from wanting one, though.
When a night-shift call brings him face to thonged butt with a hired stripper whose girl-party gig went terribly wrong, Noel takes pity on the guy and lets him go. But he can’t get the encounter out of his mind.
Shane has big-time debts to repay, especially to the brother who sacrificed nearly everything for him. His two jobs, in a deli and as a stripper, leave him no time for a social life. But a non-date of hot sex and takeout food with Noel? He can squeeze that in.
The bond they form is stronger than either expected or wanted. Especially since the step Shane’s about to take to put his brother—and his soul—back in the black isn’t quite legal. And he never calculated just how much his determination to make things right will cost him in the end.
Warning: Following on from the Cost of Repairs series, this book contains a closeted cop who’s looking for love, an indebted stripper who doesn’t believe he’s worthy, and a tasteful abundance of dirty guy sex. Also contains references to past physical abuse some readers may find disturbing.
Okay… so… yeah… I was urged to read this book by Christi Snow at Smitten with Reading. At the same time I was warned by her to make sure I had plenty of tissues. I should have taken that warning a little more seriously. 😦
As you read The Truth as He Knows It, you are given little hints along the way of secrets both Shane and Noel keep close. They aren’t just little secrets. They are secrets that pretty much define who they are. They also played a huge part in the decisions that they made in the past and how they deal with things in the present.
The secrets aren’t the only thing against them. Their backgrounds are totally different. Noel comes from a big family, but they aren’t really close. Shane only has his brother and they are as close as two siblings can get. Noel is a policeman and Shane skirts around the law. No one in the small town they live in knows Noel is gay and Shane hides the fact that he’s gay from no one. Noel is a protector and Shane is tired of being protected. Regardless, these two are good for each other. There’s instant attraction between the two, but it grows into so much more, despite their differences.
As to be expected, there are more than a few bumps along the way to a HEA between Noel and Shane. Right and wrong is pretty much black and white for Noel. Shane’s perspective is a little skewed. He sees things differently. I can’t say that I agree with every decision that Shane made, but he did what he thought he had to do. His main objective was to take pressure off his brother because of mistakes that Shane made in the past. This guy pretty much broke my heart. I wanted to protect him as much as Noel did by the end of the book. Yeah, most of that tissue use was caused by Shane.
I can’t finish this review without mentioning the supporting characters. Noel’s college friend Tristan, the crew at the diner and a few others added a lot to the story, but Shane’s big brother Jason was one of my favorites. I loved his protective streak, his sense of responsibility and his willingness to put himself before his brother. He didn’t approve of all Shane’s decisions either, but he understood him. One of my favorite scenes in The Truth as He Knows It was between Noel and Jason and it pretty much defines the title. I’d love to share it, but it gives too much away… *sigh* You’ll know it when you read it.
Even though this book was a tough one to read at times, I’m so glad I took Christi’s advice and picked it up. I’m also really glad that I took her advice on the tissues, so I’m passing that along as well. It’s the tough ones that make you sit up and take notice. They make you think and they make you feel. I’ve only read one other book by A.M. Arthur, but quite a few of her books just got moved up a notch on my TBR list. 😉