Title: Keeping Promise Rock
Series: Promises, Book 1
Author: Amy Lane
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy from publisher
Published: January 2010 by Dreamspinner Press
Carrick Francis has spent most of his life jumping into trouble with both feet. The only thing saving him from prison or worse is his absolute devotion to Deacon Winters. Deacon was Crick's sanity and salvation during a miserable, abusive childhood, and Crick would do anything to stay with him forever. So when Deacon's father dies, Crick puts his college plans on hold to help Deacon as Deacon has helped him.
Deacon's greatest wish is to see Crick escape his memories and the town they grew up in so Crick can enjoy a shining future. But after two years of growing feelings and temptation, the painfully shy Deacon finally succumbs to Crick's determined advances and admits he sees himself as part of Crick's life.
It nearly destroys Deacon when he discovers Crick has been waiting for him to push him away, just like Crick's family did in the past. When Crick's knack for volatile decisions lands him far away from home, Deacon is left, shell-shocked and alone, struggling to reforge his heart in a world where love with Crick is a promise, but by no means a certainty.
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Nearly didn’t finish this book but pushed through a major irritation and ended up liking the cast of characters more than the romance.
The Set Up: Crick has been in love with Deacon since he was nine years old. The older Deacon and his father rescued Crick from his neglectful mother and abusive step-father. Over the years Crick’s love for Deacon alters from hero worship to sexual love but when Deacon is finally willing to admit Crick is old enough to love, Crick runs away and joins the army. Now Crick and Deacon have two years apart before they can begin their life together.
Why I Read this Book: This is another book that is on lots of Goodreads MM best of lists.
What I Liked: This is an expansive book. It starts when Crick is nine and covers his and Deacon’s intertwined lives. This made me feel like I really knew Crick, Deacon, and all their friends. I love this cast of characters: Deacon’s high-school girlfriend who marries Deacon’s best friend, Deacon’s wonderful father, Crick’s precocious sister and army friends. This book develops all these characters and their relationships with each other almost more than the romance. I grew to feel like I was a part of this makeshift family and think other readers will similarly connect with this cast of characters.
What I Also Liked: There is realism to Crick and Deacon’s separation. The relationship has one sexual encounter and then Crick joins the army so most of the book when the men are adults they’re separated. How the men feel and their actions rings true to me. They communicate via Twitter and these exchanges are simultaneously funny and sad and perfectly capture current communication within relationships. The awkwardness of Crick and Deacon’s reunion is realistic and doesn’t get fixed with a magic wand and I really like all this attention to realistic detail. Their romance is sexually and emotionally intimate but their relationship is only one of the satisfying relationships in this book.
What I Didn’t Like: I had real problems with Crick joining the army. I almost stopped reading when that happened. It felt contrived and forced to add tension. I wish the author had done this at a different time in the book and it would have made more sense and seemed less contrived. Yes, I know I’m being vague about the time but I don’t want to spoil the story. I actually think the half of the book after Crick joins the army is the most compelling storytelling of the novel so I’m glad I stuck with it.
IMO: This is a good romance but a much better ensemble cast with charming friends who nearly steal the book.