Learning Curve (Life Lessons, #4)

Learning Curve (Life Lessons, #4) - Kaje Harper Tony and Mac, Mac and Tony, what are we going to do with you? Or rather, what are we going to do without you?? These two men, the life they share with each other, their two children, friends, family and co-workers, is so full and fully realized. Full of celebration, fears, little worries, big grins, difficult decisions, easy paths when the light is so clear, hesitations and willful demands for love and lust so rightfully won through battles waged, big and small, inside kitchens, classrooms, squad rooms and hearts. Whew! Exactly!! In this latest installment regarding all as I’ve described above (and so much more), Tony and Mac are dealing with many things, some remnants of the near past, some from the not so near and some new challenges thrown into their already very busy and complicated lives. Just like all of us, sometimes they are successful in their initial attempts at making the right decision, saying the right thing, and sometimes not. Either way, they somehow - ok, not really somehow, they work on everything – find themselves and their ways back to each other. Their humor, their particular ways of interacting and reacting, their very unique voices are very strong in this story. Along with that, they still continue to discover new things about each other, have trepidations about being vulnerable, worry about how one will feel about the other’s words or behavior. In simple words: they are two very real and fully realized characters, two men, working their way through this very difficult, joyous, frightening and scrumptious world. Together. A slight spoiler, a moment of levity (even humor) during a very intense situation, which Tony recites Shakespeare, causing everyone to look at him, causes Mac to laugh and actually kiss Tony in front of the very family Mac has despised and maintained zero contact with leads to a very Mac and Tony way of dealing with it all. I actually made that note on my Kindle. These two are definitely still very hot for each other, sex sometimes manifesting in ways that range from the very sweet and gentle and all the way to the rough and grumble. Demanding. Wanting. Needing. Every time is so very them and it all works. Every part of this story works: the adoption, Mac’s family and all of the turmoil there, Tony’s connection to some of those involved in the case that gets Mac closer to returning to the force, Mac’s continuing recovery ,including both of them growing as people, together, in this relationship of theirs. I love the way these two communicate. I love the way these two are with their two kids. I love the way they have doubts and worries, and how they deal with them. All of this praise is not because things are perfect and they deal with it all perfectly, instead it’s because they are not perfect. Love and life and kids and fear and shame and growth are all hard work and far from perfect, and all of this makes Mac and Tony so very relatable and completely interesting. Kaje knows how to write people, of all kinds, all ages, from Grandparents to little kids and everyone in between. Each person is given a voice and is allowed to speak fully with it. There’s a scene when Anna is recounting something that happened at school, another student saying something not so nice, and just as she finishes that bit, she goes right to talking about a field trip coming up and can she go. I remember laughing out loud at that and could hear it so clearly. The same can be said for so many other moments in this book. I won’t say how this novel ends but it’s not usually something I respond to very strongly. However, in this case, I LOVED it. Simply loved it. This is probably one of the best books I have read all year long. Ms Harper, you freaking rock my world with your words. :) As an aside, the partnership between Mac and Oliver is just fantastic and figures into the ending somewhat. Will we get more of Oliver’s story? Even as a short? I feel some ripeness there ;) And a most important PS: a big thank you to Bev, Tina, Debra and everyone else who made one of my first two buddy reads simply fantastic. :D