Family Values (The Administration, #7.1) - Manna Francis "I just want to have somewhere to call home." -- I don't think there could have been a better ending than that. For this book at least!

Manna is perfect at choosing titles. While the main story focused on Warrick's family crisis, there was also Toreth and Warrick moving in together (and all that implied) but also a surprise inclusion of Toreth's family and another glimpse into the man's past.

I have to say I was pretty furious with Warrick in the first half of the book as he took so many unnecessary risks in trying to protect his family and do the right thing for this brother. While Toreth's wasn't 100% correct in his arguments, it had a certain logic to it, considering who they were up against. Without Stable's help (and I have my doubts whether the help was actually that - the man did kill Kate after all) Warrick and Toreth might not have gotten away with it. But every step of the investigation was thrilling to read. The fear that at any moment, things would spiral out of control and land both of them in prison kept me hooked to the story.

And then the whole fiasco of Toreth moving in with Warrick. I cringed every time anyone made the slightest, most innocent comment in reference to it, half fearing they would drive Toreth away (and for a little while, Toreth did decide to abandon the whole idea of living with Warrick). Not go away permanently, since Toreth himself has admitted he can't leave Warrick. But their staying together was something for Warrick, after all the compromises he has made in their relationship. It felt something concrete; something equal to the promise Keir had made to never leave Toreth. I breathed a sigh of relief when Toreth made the surprising request of wanting to move back with Warrick. As I mentioned before, that last parting phrase completely melted my heart.

Then there was the vague references to Toreth's past, leaving me unsure whether he had indeed killed his brother or not. There are always two sides to a story and my heart would side with Toreth but my mind is conflicted by the opposing testimonies. I can only hope more will be revealed in upcoming stories.

I'm glad to see some development and change in Toreth. Actively resisting the ingrained suspicion that Warrick would cheat on him with Carnac (Carnac, of all people!!!). Refusing to storm out of the house whenever they had an argument. Slowly accommodating to the idea of living together with Warrick. A slight decrease in the number of fucks (though that could have been a lapse from the author, not a trait of Toreth's per say). Gradually coming to terms with his feelings and the fact that others are aware of his feelings for Warrick.

It was an impressive read! It's all due to the author: not just for this latest story but for the slow build-up of the characters that made me love them despite their many flaws. I can't accept that it's over. I have to read more of them! Imagining on my own is not as fun as actually reading it! I'm not ready to let them go! I have to have more!