Note: This ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
“I like looking at you,” Chris said. “You’re gorgeous like this, spread out in front of me, on display and waiting for me to give you what you need.”“You think you know what that is?” Shane asked with an uncertain note to his voice.Maybe better than you do. Chris didn’t say the words. There was no need for Shane to know that he could sometimes see the lost little boy in Shane’s eyes. Right from the start Chris had suspected Shane’s sometimes brutish exterior hid an uncertain man who hadn’t yet figured out exactly what his place in the world was. He cherished the opportunity he’d apparently been given to prove to Shane that here with Chris—in this bed and in his life—was exactly where he belonged.
The Dublin Virtues series started strong with Patience, followed up with an absolute winner in Equality, and finishes with the same heart and heat I've come to expect from Helena Stone in Renewal. Stone was a complete new-to-me author earlier this year. Now, she's become a go-to author for me, having given me three worthwhile reads that touched my heart, spoke to my soul, and gave my mind something to ponder on. These three novels can be read as standalones; however, I'm highly recommending that they be read in order or, at the very least, books one and three be read consecutively because of the back story involving one of the main characters in this series finale and the main couple in the series starter. I feel like you'll better appreciate how everything comes full circle.
When Shane Boyle left Dublin, Ireland for Miami, Florida, his only focus was chasing after his lofty dreams, not caring who he hurt along the way. The twenty-seven-year-old's return to Dublin was unexpected, but with his ailing sister needing him to step in as his five-year-old nephew's guardian, Shane knew home was where he had to be. He's now responsible for someone other than himself, and the one thing he doesn't need is a distraction, even if it comes in the form of thirty-five-year-old Aussie transplant and fellow tattoo artist Chris Anderson. A connection exists between them, one that neither man is ready to openly acknowledge, especially not with Chris working for someone Shane betrayed. Will denying his feelings result in the possibility of a new beginning of more with Chris?
I had such an appreciation for the transformation that Shane goes through because I saw how he was in Patience, and can I just say that the negative feelings his name alone stirs in several people is warranted because of their personal experience with him? Shane was a right bastard back then, but the version I witnessed in Renewal was vastly different, and discovering what led to the changes in him was heartbreaking but had me hopeful that he had truly turned a new leaf. We see his evolution over the span of the three novels in the series, and that's why I'm adamant about new readers reading the books in order. He was the villain one loved to hate in the beginning but by the end of this third and final book, he had become someone that clearly deserved to be given a second chance.
Chris was an interesting character, especially since he was older than the others who were prominently featured in the series. He was bisexual, a transplant from Oz, and while his own back story had its fair share of angst, he didn't allow it to rule his life. He had a good head on his shoulders and I think it was his maturity and being centered that was exactly what Shane needed as his own life was going through changes. I liked the romance aspect of their story, but I also liked the bits that involved Shane's family. The resolution of Shane's issues with Troy Moriarty and Xander Ekman was far more believable than had the author chosen to go a different route. Renewal reiterates that, whether it be one more chance or a fresh start, we must choose to embrace it with hope. This gets five-plus stars. ♥
Read my reviews for the Dublin Virtues series:
Patience (book one) - 4.5 stars - My Review
Equality (book two) - five-plus stars - My Review
Renewal (book three) - five-plus stars - My Review (posted above)
Date Read: 23 June 2017
Learn more about Helena Stone.