New Release Review: Until September by Chris Scully

Until SeptemberUntil September by Chris Scully
Genre: M/M / Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: February 8th, 2016
ARC provided by Riptide Publishing and Netgalley

Synopsis from Goodreads: As a teenager, Archie Noblesse clawed his way out of the poverty, heartache, and abuse of the reservation and left his family behind. Desperate to shake the shadow of his past, he reinvents himself as Archer Noble, an outspoken blogger and controversial author who lives only for himself. But when his beloved sister dies, Archer is saddled with guardianship of his niece and nephew.

Elementary school teacher Ryan Eriksson is devastated when his best friend Marguerite is killed, leaving her two young children orphaned. Helping Archer with his new responsibilities eases his grief, but when Archer offers him custody of the children, Ryan’s left with an impossible choice: get the family he’s always wanted, or respect Margie’s wishes and convince Archer to give parenting—and his heritage—a chance.

To buy time, Ryan promises to stay for the summer, hoping that Archer will change his mind and fall for the kids. But Archer’s reluctant, and the growing attraction between him and Ryan complicates matters. Legal decisions must be made, and soon, before Ryan returns to school. But with hearts involved, more than just the children’s future is on the line.

Angie’s Review – 5 Skulls – A+

Based on the cover of this book, I was expecting a sweet love story. While it eventually gets there, Until September wasn’t at all what I was expecting. This book was gritty and real, and I loved every second of it! But fair warning – if you’re looking for all sunshine and roses, you may want to move along; you won’t find it here.

Let’s start with our first (anti-) hero. Archer was a grade A asshole. His main goal was to get a rise of out anyone who’d keep him in the spotlight, and his life revolved round sex and where his next paycheck was coming from. It’s clear he loved his sister, but he did his best to love her from afar. It’s not until she’s gone that Archer realizes what a mistake he’s made. When custody of her children is suddenly thrust upon him, he doesn’t go soft. In fact, his first thought is how to get out of it. Archer was tortured, but instead of it consuming him, it was almost in an off-handed way, which I found incredibly interesting. He held his past against himself more than anyone ever could. His Cree heritage and the fact that his heartache started there is something Archer is unable (and unwilling) to let go.  There was a lot of emotion and brokenness underneath that steel veneer of Archer’s. Unworthiness plagued him, though I’m not sure he saw it that way at first. Ryan was his exact opposite. He was all about being gentle and considerate, and he adored the children Archer was responsible for. Ryan was just naïve enough to make him charming, and doing the thing ‘strong’ thing and being where he was clearly needed was always a tug of war going on inside of him. He had his own insecurities and emotional scars, but he didn’t let that stop him from being there even when his heart was at risk. Ryan was just an all around good guy (who happened to like lace underwear) who thrived on being needed.

As for secondary characters, Archer’s niece and nephew acted their ages, and while they were an integral part of the story, they never overwhelmed the plot. Ryan’s friend Jill was wonderful – she gave him tough love that made me mad at times, but she was on his side and only wanted what was best for him.

This was not an insta-love story. There may have been insta-lust on Ryan’s part, but it wasn’t acted on. It was a slow burn as they acclimated to their circumstances and got to know each other. There were lots of ups and downs in this story as Archer struggled to find his place, but it was such a beautiful journey. The pacing of this story was perfect. Like I mentioned, Archer and Ryan falling in love (and even in like) took some time. Ryan was busy taking care of the children and helping them deal with their loss while Archer was trying like hell to avoid things by clinging to his old playboy lifestyle. It almost felt like they fell in love when they weren’t looking. And one of my favorite parts of this story was how this came about. Ryan really was the one open to love, and because of his compassionate and patient nature, he was able to break through Archer’s walls. He simply was who he was, and it just so happened that was exactly what Archer needed. It was so beautiful to see it play out.

As you can probably tell from my review, I loved this story. If you’re looking for something with a slow build that really gives you a big payoff with its ending, Until September is right up your alley.

“I think you deserve way better than me. And someday I’ll tell you all the reasons why.”

Ryan snorted, pressed his hand to the side of Archer’s face. “And someday I’ll tell you all the reasons why you’re wrong.”

Rating: 5 Stars

Thank you to RIPTIDE PUBLISHING and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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