A story of healing and confronting demons…
Detective Aidan Calloway is rock-solid strong. He’s a man of justice—loyal to his friends, family, and job—even if it requires bending a law…or two. He shields himself behind an abrasive, fearless facade, until a phone call one night chips his armor and throws his perfectly planned, hollow life into a tailspin.
Jessie Vega is the epitome of optimism. His carefully crafted attitude of hope and positivity protects him from a past filled with too much pain. When a ghost from a dark time resurfaces and nearly breaks him, he must tap into his inner strength or risk losing everything he’s worked so hard to build.
But Jessie can’t do it alone. He must fight to break through Aidan’s ironclad defenses to reveal the heart of the man hiding beneath the tough surface and mend his damaged spirit. Only then can they truly heal and become strong enough to battle the demons that haunt them and threaten their chance to finally be together.
***This book contains scenes and subject matter some readers may find distressing. It is only intended for adult readers.***
This is a LONG book – the longest so far (I believe) in the series.
Though I think it could technically be read as a standalone, I don’t recommend it. So much is laid down in the earlier books about Jess and Aidan as well as Ty and Cole, Hunter and Cam that you’d be missing out not to know their stories first. Plus, they’re awesome, so read them if you haven’t!
In any case, Jess and Aidan have already done their “dance” of “friendship” in earlier stories, so we hit them mid-stride. They’re friends – very close friends – but nothing romantic. In fact, it’s still questionable whether or not Aidan is even gay!
When the story starts out, Jess is injured and this forces Aidan to show his hand. He cares for Jess way more than a “bud” and it’s hard for Aidan to feel this way. (Be warned, there are a lot of triggers in this book – rape, abuse, torture, but very little of it is on page.)
The vast majority of the book is Aidan slowly opening up to Jess. He’s kept himself away from anyone for years after his time in the service (for Reasons) and though he longs for what Ty and Hunter have, he somehow feels he can’t have that (also for Reasons).
Jess, on the other hand, is practically an open book. Though his story is no less harrowing than Aidan’s he tells it all right away and in that sense acts as a tremendous release valve for Aidan.
Eventually, the couple becomes a true couple and we get to see their HEA – but it’s hard won. So many hurdles to be overcome, but the results are so worth it.
I had been looking forward to this FOREVER. I’ve been a huge fan of the series since it’s beginning and in my opinion Book Three eclipsed Books One and Two but that doesn’t diminish 1 & 2, it’s just that Jaime’s writing keeps getting stronger and stronger as she publishes.
I was a bit daunted by the length of this – it told me there was going to be a lot of angst – and I was right. Boy Howdy! There’s a lot of angst in this book. Aidan is like the King of the Universe of Angst. And Jess – who was kidnapped and tortured for years, is like a ray of sunshine compared to Aidan!
Since the couple had already met and be-friended one another I was curious what the hold up was going to be – well – it’s Aidan’s fear of intimacy. That ends up being the focus for about 70% of the book.
While I absolutely loved the writing, found the slow burn and snail-like progress on the romance realistic and well done, I have to admit that I thought the book was a bit too long. (Gasp!) I know. I hate to say it. Because I truly ADORE Reese and this series – but I just wanted a bit more forward momentum – not necessarily sex – but emotional intimacy. I guess you could say we (as readers) get to feel what Jess felt – but I got bogged down in it and frustrated at times in the middle section of the book where it seemed like nothing was moving in the relationship front or the solving the crime front.
But… except for that one niggle, the rest of the book is truly glorious. The way Jess keeps at Aidan is wonderful and really shows us that you don’t have to be the Alpha to have a spine – Thank God! The slowly opening flower that is Aidan’s love is remarkable to watch and experience and really portrayed elegantly in this story. I also loved seeing all the guys again- Cole remains my absolute favorite! – and I was so pleased for Hunter and Cam!
In the end, I still loved the book and highly recommend it, but it didn’t surpass Book three as my favorite.
Of course Jaime’s cover is so gorgeous, I kept flipping back to it to study Aidan’s ink! (not his abs! Never! 😉
4.5 of 5 stars
Copy Purchased for Review
Free on Kindle Unlimited
(available only in the United States)
In honor of this book’s release I have two key chains I got from Reese Dante at last year’s GRL to give away! YAYAYAYAY!
Comment about your favorite book/character in THIS series and WHY and I’ll randomly select two winners (MUST BE IN THE CONTINENTAL United States TO WIN) a Calloway’s Key Chain! (They’re really sturdy and awesome! Thanks Reese!)