Reviewed by JustJen
Title: The Way Things Are
Author: A.J. Thomas
Heroes: Patrick Connelly/Ken Atkins
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 266 Pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 30, 2015
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: A night of drunken confusion at nineteen resulted in Patrick Connelly fathering a child. Determined to be there for his son, Patrick walked away from a sport he loved and forever hid his sexuality. After Patrick’s brutal divorce and a vicious hate crime, his son, Jay, has become obsessed with graffiti. Hoping for a fresh start, Patrick moves Jay to his childhood home in Seattle. Within two weeks, Jay is arrested again. On his way to pick Jay up, Patrick stops an assault, then finds himself in handcuffs too. Thinking things can’t get any worse, he’s confronted by the sexiest man he’s ever seen—his son’s new probation officer, Ken Atkins.
The hardest part of Ken’s job is working with difficult parents, and the undeniably handsome Patrick Connelly is going to be a difficult parent. A chance encounter and steamy hookup with Patrick leave Ken blindsided. As they work together to try to keep Jay on the right path, the passion between them proves impossible to resist. When the assault Patrick prevented comes back to haunt them and Jay gets into trouble again, Ken must convince Patrick that ensuring his son’s happiness doesn’t have to mean sacrificing his own.
Review: There are a few things that are unique about this story, which I really enjoyed. One thing is Patrick is a longshoreman, which is the guy up in the big crane who loads the containers on the cargo ships. I always find it interesting to see new things in books, so I enjoyed reading the details about this one.
The other is that Jay is a messed up kid who continually gets in trouble. It’s his outlet that I found interesting. He is a graffiti addict. He paints his “art” on buildings usually to cover up gang tags and other less desirable graffiti. Graffiti is still graffiti though, so he has quite a lengthy juvenile record.
Ken is the guy assigned to be Jay’s “probation officer,” though they don’t call it that. After realizing his immediate attraction to Patrick was going to be a problem, he tried to get reassigned. Circumstances prevented that from happening, so they tried to keep things professional until Ken’s time was up.
There is mystery involving some things that go down on Patrick’s job that get in the way of things, but generally, this was about Ken and Patrick trying to keep Jay from reoffending. It seemed there was more they could have done here and there, even though they tried to get him refocused on other things. I was hoping they’d find another place for him to safely do his graffiti art. Corbin’s father and owner of the gym mentioned having walls that were in need of something. Seemed like a lost opportunity to me, and there didn’t seem to be any closure where this was concerned.
I also wish we had seen a bit more of Patrick and Jay’s relationship. Jay is a teen at this point, so it may be that was why I had trouble feeling their connection/bond. They had quite a history though, with Jay’s mother and Patrick’s ex, but it took a while to get the details, which I found a little frustrating.
All in all, I did enjoy this quite a bit. It read very smoothly, had hot sexy moments, a good bit of action and suspense, and it kept my interest through to the end. I’d really like to see a follow up to this, maybe with Corbin finding the right guy. He’s quite a unique character, and it will take someone pretty special to be able to catch him.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*