Slick’s Review – Uniquely Us (Us #3) by A.M. Arthur

I always appreciate the depth in Ms. Arthur’s characters and Uniquely Us is a prime example of her attention to detail and her ability to craft an intriguing romance for two extraordinary individuals. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures

Taro Ichikawa needs his weekly routines. Working from home as a programmer allows him to work around his constant struggle with anxiety and OCD—everything from exact meal times to his weekly dinner dates with his best friend Cris Sable. Openly demisexual, he’s comfortable knowing he’s different from most, and he’s content being single—until he breaks routine to attend Cris’s birthday party and makes an unexpected new friend.

Dell Greenwood moved in with his uncle eighteen months ago to turn his life around, and after a serious setback last fall, he’s finally healthy and heading in the right direction. His full-time job as a porn videographer keeps him busy, so he doesn’t have to think about the fact that while he seriously dated one man last year, he’s not attracted to…well, anyone. It’s easy to assume that his traumatic past is to blame for his lack of interest in dating, but when he meets and gets to know Taro Ichikawa, Dell wonders if there’s a different reason.

Befriending someone mired in strict routines isn’t easy, but Dell is stubborn when he wants something, and being patient with Taro is easy. From emails to tentative lunch dates, what begins as a simple friendship slowly deepens into something much stronger—and completely unexpected. But Dell knows that for him to be all-in with Taro, he not only needs to come to terms with his sexuality, but he also has to be honest with himself and his family about the absolute worst moment of his life.

Uniquely Us runs somewhat simultaneously with the first two books in A.M. Arthur’s Us series and I’ll admit I was intrigued by the pairing in this book. Two men with more baggage than anyone should even have at their young ages, explore a friendship that turns into more in this emotionally charged and hopeful romance.

Less than two years ago Dell Greenwood’s life was saved after he contacted his Uncle Charles for help following a severe beating at the hands of his father and another uncle and being kicked out of his home. Charles gave him a home, a job, and unconditional support, but Dell’s demons took over and a sexual encounter made him question his life even more and led to an overdose, kidney failure, and an eventual kidney transplant from an anonymous donor. Watching his Uncle find love with not just one, but two men and the models he works for pairing off, Dell wonders every day why he is unable to make connections like everyone else when at his Uncle’s party for his friend Cris Sable, he meets Cris’ best friend Taro Ichikawa who he finds easy to talk to and intriguing beyond anything he’s imagined, but Taro is not without his own problems and triggers making their friendship a delicate balancing act.

I enjoyed the way Dell and Taro built a friendship through their emails and allowed Taro to get comfortable and learn more about Dell and allowed Dell time to trust that Taro wasn’t going to push him for more than he was ready for. This relationship progressed slowly which was exactly what both these men needed and I felt they challenged each other to move beyond their comfort zones but did so in a respectful manner and one that allowed the other to know they could back out at anytime if they were uncomfortable. I won’t lie, both these men had some big time baggage in their lives and at times I wasn’t sure they could get past it all to move past the fragile friendship they shared. I respect the fact that Ms. Arthur didn’t try to speed it up or tie it all up in a nice, neat little bow for the sake of making this an easy romance; she showed that patience and trust is key especially when dealing with skittish individuals.

I always appreciate the depth in Ms. Arthur’s characters and Uniquely Us is a prime example of her attention to detail and her ability to craft an intriguing romance for two extraordinary individuals.

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