Book Reviews

The Way Things Are by A.J. Thomas

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Law Enforcement / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 14-June-2021

Book Blurb

A night of drunken confusion at nineteen resulted in Patrick Connelly fathering a child. Determined to be there for his son, Patrick walked away from a sport he loved and forever hid his sexuality. After Patrick's brutal divorce and a vicious hate crime, his son, Jay, has become obsessed with graffiti. Hoping for a fresh start, Patrick moves Jay to his childhood home in Seattle. Within two weeks, Jay is arrested again. On his way to pick Jay up, Patrick stops an assault, then finds himself in handcuffs too. Thinking things can’t get any worse, he’s confronted by the sexiest man he’s ever seen—his son’s new probation officer, Ken Atkins.

The hardest part of Ken’s job is working with difficult parents, and the undeniably handsome Patrick Connelly is going to be a difficult parent. A chance encounter and steamy hookup with Patrick leave Ken blindsided. As they work together to try to keep Jay on the right path, the passion between them proves impossible to resist. When the assault Patrick prevented comes back to haunt them and Jay gets into trouble again, Ken must convince Patrick that ensuring his son’s happiness doesn’t have to mean sacrificing his own.



First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, January 2015.


Book Review

“…I will always be your parent first, and your friend second. I will stalk you, flip out on you, lecture you, drive you insane, …and hunt you down when I have to, because I love you. …You will never find anyone else in your life who loves, prays, cares, and worries about you more than I do…”  ~ unknown

Patrick Connelly, of 'The Way Thing Are' by A.J. Thomas, is trying his best to keep his son, Jay, safe. Patrick gives up everything to get him out of a horrible situation including moving to another city to start over. Patrick works long hours in order to give his son a good life so he can't be with him all the time. Jay, on his own, falls back into his coping mechanism, spray painting buildings to deal with his trauma. The paintings are not graffiti; in fact, they are amazing. Unfortunately, it's still against the law. Jay is arrested and when Patrick goes to pick him up, he meets Ken, the parole officer assigned to his case. Although Ken and Patrick are attracted to each other, they also clash in terms of what is and what is not good for Jay. It might be difficult, but they are going to have to learn to work together for Jay's sake.

Patrick was trapped in a horrible marriage to a woman he never loved. Patrick married her because she became pregnant, determined to take care of the child on the way. When staying became impossible, he divorced his wife, but fought for custody of his son. It's a huge responsibility, especially with a child like Jay who can't stay out of trouble. Patrick has great strength of character but this trait is what draws him into some dangerous, illegal business going on around him. While trying to protect a boy in jeopardy he gets arrested, but it's quickly cleared up and he's released. Unfortunately, because of this heroic act, he makes some fierce enemies.

Because of his shaky childhood, Ken has a special affinity with the kids under his care. He understands how it feels to be frightened and in danger. Ken understands why they need a coping mechanism which is what often lands them in his office to begin with. Ken is firm with the kids, but he's also kind and nurturing. Meeting Patrick throws him for a loop. His strong attraction to the man causes Ken to warn himself of the dangers of getting involved with a parent of one of his kids. At first they clash about what Jay needs to do, which cools things off a bit, but, ultimately, the attraction can't be denied. Ken comes to see that Patrick has good instincts about Jay and an admirable attitude which Ken wishes more of his parents would adopt.

This story is well-written, with enough action to keep it interesting. The characters are intriguing and, at times, even humorous, especially Patrick's best friend Corbin. He comes across as over the top, but seems to be hiding behind all that flamboyance. Corbin loves Patrick and Jay and would do almost anything for them. I would like to have seen Corbin find someone who can see behind his mask and appreciate him for who he truly is. How about a sequel, A.J.? In addition to a great story, I also got an education about longshoremen, the criminal justice system, and a glimpse into the nasty business of human trafficking. I recommend this book to those who like intrigue, mystery, passion, forgiveness, redemption, and hope for a better future Thanks, A.J., for the exciting ride.





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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 268 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 14-October-2019
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link