The hardest thing a rebel can do isn’t standing up for something – it’s standing up for himself.
Life takes delight in stabbing Gus Scott in the back when he least expects it. After Gus spends years running from his past, present, and the dismal future every social worker predicted for him, karma delivers the one thing Gus could never – would never – turn his back on: a son from a one-night stand he’d had after a devastating breakup a few years ago.
Returning to San Francisco and to 415 Ink, his family’s tattoo shop, gave him the perfect shelter to battle his personal demons and get himself together…until the firefighter who’d broken him walked back into Gus’s life.
For Rey Montenegro, tattoo artist Gus Scott was an elusive brass ring, a glittering prize he hadn’t the strength or flexibility to hold on to. Severing his relationship with the mercurial tattoo artist hurt, but Gus hadn’t wanted the kind of domestic life Rey craved, leaving Rey with an aching chasm in his soul.
When Gus’s life and world starts to unravel, Rey helps him pick up the pieces, and Gus wonders if that forever Rey wants is more than just a dream.
Review by Dee
(Book reviewed here previously by Dee)
I am a big Rhys Ford fan; she has a way with words and she can make a murder scene seem like a work of art. However, I initially struggled with this book because it started off somewhat dark. As the brothers are introduced in the story, one gets a sense of the horrible childhood they all suffered through. This is a story about forging a brotherhood, giving/taking second chances and making a family, no matter how one is (or not) related.
After 3 years, Gus has returned to his brothers, after finding out that he is the father of a 3 year old boy. There are flashbacks to events happened to Gus as a child, while with his mum and in foster care; not for the faint of heart. The horrid childhood Gus suffered through is partly the reason that he couldn’t commit to his then boyfriend, Rey. As Gus and Rey dance around their strained relationship, (realising they never stopped loving each other), they have to navigate past histories, custody hearings for the child, a vengeful child protective service officer and family, to get their HEA.
I thoroughly enjoyed their journey.
It took me 2 tries to read this. I had been expecting something along the lines of the Dirty series – tongue-in-cheek humour, a bit of drama, some hurt/comfort. Instead, I got a story that took me apart emotionally, but put me back together in a cocoon of family, warmth and love. As an added bonus, there are little gems in the form of references to characters from other books, (hers and others).
Now to patiently wait for the next brother’s story.
4.5 stars out of 5
Review by Morgan
On the one hand I absolutely agree with Dee. Rhys is so gifted at description and bringing emotion to her words – in my mind she paints a story for us more than almost anyone else I read on a regular basis. The downside of that is the rhythm of the story is sometimes bogged down by these luscious descriptions. Since she likes to write action/crime/mysteries the pacing is an important piece and I think it suffers sometimes for that.
That being said, she’s also so talented at giving us intriguing and big hearted characters that some of the above can certainly be forgiven.
I agree with Dee that I was expecting more of Cole’s humor or Damie’s irreverence and we don’t really get that here. Honestly, I missed the release from tension that the humor offered.
As is the case with many great authors, though I try not to, I do compare one piece to their other works, and this isn’t my favorite by the author. It’s amazing on it’s own, but I’ve enjoyed others by her better.
With that said, if an emotional journey is what you’re looking for this is the story for you!
4 of 5 stars
Tristan James and Rhys Ford are a terrific match. Tristan knows just how to stretch out the drama and it really matches Rhys’ tone to perfection. His voice is like candy to me and I’d pretty much listen to anything he narrates – so I’m a bit biased 🙂
5 of 5 stars
Overall 4.5 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review