Author: Tere Michaels
Narrator: Ron Herczig
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 6 hours and 35 minutes
At a Glance: Still one of my favorite characters (Matt Haight) and series, but I was a little thrown by the new narrator.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: Newly promoted police captain Evan Cerelli takes command of his own precinct as Matt Haight’s security business begins to expand at a rapid rate. Both of their careers require more and more of their time—away from home and each other. When his most famous clients, Daisy and Bennett Ames, suffer a traumatic breakup, Matt is drawn into a dangerous and dramatic situation. With attentions diverted, Evan and Matt’s tight-knit home life begins to unravel.
As Griffin Drake’s movie nears final edit, his thoughts turn toward building a home with his new fiancé, Jim Shea—and maybe even starting a family. Before he can think of a new family, Jim is caught up in his past. The possibility of putting Tripp Ingersoll in jail once and for all beckons, and Jim wants the closure that has long eluded him. As a new lead spurs him on, Jim begins to lose sight of the future by chasing an old ghost.
Both couples struggle to remember that “happily ever after” requires hard work, trust, and tender, open hearts.
Review: Well, one thing is certain, Matt Haight continues to be one of my favorite characters in all the m/m world. Matt and Evan are a great couple, even when events are conspiring to throw a monkey wrench into their lives. This is still a favorite series and couple, but I gotta tell ya, I was thrown when the narrator changed in this, the fourth installment of the audio series. I really enjoyed J.P Handler’s narrations of the previous volumes, so a new voice didn’t really make me too happy. Ron Herczig does an okay job, but I miss Handler’s characterizations, particularly with Evan and Matt.
In this continuation of their story, the kids are getting older and into more activities, Matt is getting busier at his consulting company with Jim, and Evan is trying to be the picture perfect gay captain of the NYPD. Needless to say, this is a lot for anybody to have on their plate, and no exception for Matt and Evan. There is a lot of pressure on Evan and, unfortunately, as is his pattern, he has a tendency to take for granted those around him. Matt’s been giving and giving and giving, and he loves the kids and takes his family responsibility seriously, but at some point, Evan steps over the line. Matt needs to step away, and he does.
In the meantime, Jim continues to obsess about the Tripp Ingersoll case and the one that got away. Even though he’s promised Griffin and everyone else that he’s let it go, he hasn’t and he can’t—despite the potential disastrous consequences. He keeps his investigating pretty much on the DL, but you just know something is going to break, and not in a good way.
Add to this Bennet and Daisy’s breakup and the additional stress, and Griffin and an unforeseen impact to Matt and Jim’s business, and there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to deal with everything that’s coming at them. There is also the little matter of Evan’s PR guy, who is just coming off of a breakup and seems to be buzzing a little too closely around Evan for Matt’s liking.
One of the best things about this series is the way that daily life stress is portrayed as affecting the entire family, and the way each character responds. It’s not always right—certainly not the first time—and the same is true in these books. There is a realistic quality to the actions/reactions of this family and friends that isn’t always present in fiction, and certainly not in romantic fiction. I love that about all of these guys: Evan, Matt, Jim, Griffin, the Cerelli kids, Daisy, etc. Definitely one of the highlights for me in this series—life in all its messy, beautiful madness.
The good news is that after a lot of trauma and drama and mea culpas, life does settle down a bit for a fantastic ending to this book. I loved the ending, and I really hope that Tere Michaels writes more about these characters. I foresee a long and happy, although bumpy and exciting, ride for Matt and Evan.
You can buy Truth & Tenderness here: