Author ~ T.A. Webb
Publisher ~ A Bear on Books
Published ~ 12th October 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
The funny thing about circles is that, to draw one, the curve must go down before it can go up again.
Robbie Jennings knows all about ups and downs. Used and abused as a teen by those he should have been able to trust, he almost gave up on life. Then someone stepped in to offer him a second chance. Robbie took the lifeline and ended up with a new family who wanted him…and a boyfriend who loved him.
Nevertheless, Robbie knows the downs can make a man crash. Faced with the perfect storm of woe—a painful voice from the past, a loved one’s grave illness, and a heartrending betrayal—Robbie’s not sure he can close the circle one more time.
His new family must join forces to show him that, together, they can always come Full Circle.
If you haven’t read Second Chances, stop what you’re doing and go read it right now. Seriously. I’ll be here…
While this technically could be read as a standalone story, it would work much better if it’s read after Second Chances as the whole cast is back and because Second Chances is just so good. Full Circle takes place during the approximately year-long gap between the last chapter and Epilogue of Second Chances and is Robbie’s story. If you don’t remember, Robbie is the teen that was fostered and subsequently adopted by Mark’s father. While the focus is on Robbie’s story the entire boisterous Jennings clan is back as are Antonio and his son Jason.
Second Chances is a favorite of mine. I’ve re-read it and it never fails to bring me to tears. Full Circle has more of a New Adult feel to it as Robbie and Jason are the main couple. It’s a bit darker as the majority of the story is told from Robbie’s POV. Robbie’s life before Hope House and meeting Mark was truly horrible and the details of that past are presented here for the first time when Robbie receives a letter from his father. Robbie is struggling with revealing that part of his life and his father’s current demands to his family, fearing that doing so will make them see him in a different, lesser light. He is also settling into his relationship with Jason and fears what his past would do to any possible future for them as a couple. When things go from bad to worse Robbie also has to deal with the aftermath of his present day impulsive decisions and the new scars they leave.
I knew from the first book that Robbie’s life was traumatic, but the true horror of what he went through is brought front and center here. Just when everything seemed to be going good with him and Jason and with life in general, his past comes back in the form of contact from his imprisoned father and his decision to visit the man. Robbie has his ups and downs after that, trying to remember that the family he has now will help him if he is honest with them and that Jason loves him. When he is finally honest with his family, they rally and things seem to be handled until one more day of even more bad news. Three strikes on one day break the fragile balance and make it impossible for him to cope and Robbie succumbs to old behaviors throwing the Jennings and Roberto clans into turmoil.
Robbie’s relationship with Jason is another cause of stress. Robbie has loved Jason since they met. Their relationship has evolved as they’ve grown and while Robbie knows he is gay and is in love with Jason, it’s not as cut and dried for Jason. Jason isn’t gay and has had an on and off relationship with Amy for years. While he is honest with Robbie that he has feelings towards both of them, he isn’t willing to commit to either of them until he is certain of his feelings. This is a source of stress for Robbie even after it seems Jason has come to a decision and chosen him. Jason is young, in his first year of college, and doesn’t always make good decisions. When that happens Robbie’s first instinct is that Jason is rejecting him and he tends to act first and ask questions later. There is always love there, but just like any other young couple, these two have to learn how to communicate.
The story isn’t all dark. How could it be with the foul mouthed, wise cracking, sex obsessed Jennings family playing a huge part in it. The story is broken into two parts and in between there is an “Interlude” where we get into the minds of not only Mark, but some of his siblings and his father. I loved the way Tom Webb used this part of the story to shed some new light on the least likable Jennings siblings. Knowing that Mark, Antonio, Jason, Patty and Dad always will be there is one thing, but Robbie finds an unexpected ally in the family who is a catalyst in Robbie learning to love himself and truly start healing from all the abuse that was inflicted upon him. There is also the growth of the relationship between Robbie and Jason from friends, to friends with a little more, to lovers who were meant to be.
Tom Webb’s stories always bring out strong emotions and mange to jerk the tears and this is another one where you’ll really feel right there in the midst of it all with the characters. Whether it’s Robbie and Jason’s coming of age tale, Antonio and Mark’s continued devotion to each other or the overall love of this great big family, you will relate to something in this story. There is plenty of angst and drama, but there is also so much unconditional love and acceptance and a feeling of family that shines the strongest in those quiet moments between Robbie and Dad or in the back and forth snarking and loving bickering between Robbie, Mark and Patty. This was a follow-up that was definitely worth the wait.
Mark Jennings is at a crossroads. His finance job in the Atlanta nonprofit scene stresses him out, his mother is dying, and his relationship with Brian Jacobs has crashed and burned. He needs a distraction, some way to relax, and a massage seems like just the thing. He never expected his massage therapist, Antonio Roberto, to become his best friend.
Despite their differences—Antonio is a divorced single father—the two men forge a firm friendship that weathers Mark’s reconciliation with Brian and Antonio’s questionable taste in women. Over the years, Antonio remains constant in his support, though others in Mark’s life come and go through a revolving door.
When a young boy runs away from the group home where he works, Mark finds another door opening. Through it all he holds on to the things his loved ones taught him—about family, about friends and lovers, about life and death. Most importantly, he realizes that sometimes the greatest gift of all is a second chance.