Tuesday, July 1, 2014

ROPED by S.J.D. Peterson

Publisher:               Dreamspinner Press          
Published:              May 11, 2014
ISBN:                     978 1 62798 920 6
Genre:                   Contemporary Romance; M/M
Book Format:          E-book
Obtained via:          Publisher
Reviewed by:          Helena Stone, helenastone63@gmail.com

Rating:                   4+    

This is the fourth title in the ‘Guards of Folsom’ series and I have to confess I didn’t read the first three books. I can’t escape the feeling I would have gotten more out of this book if I’d been familiar with the back story. Not that I didn’t enjoy this book – I did and was captivated by the story – I just think it is possible I would have enjoyed it even more if I had read ‘Pup’, ‘Tag Team’ and ‘Pony’. I guess the only way to find out for sure if that assessment is right is to read those three prequels and I hope to be able to do that in the not too distant future.

Tek Cain had my heart broken. Trained from birth to lead the motor cycle gang, Crimson Eight, he’s had to do some nasty things. Things he only managed to do by making his mind go blank, through not thinking about his actions and their consequences for others. But it hasn’t been easy and he knows sooner or later the darkness will overpower him, rob him of his humanity.

The only thing keeping Tek from turning into a monster is his life-long friend Jamie. They’ve been together from birth and Jamie is destined to be Tek’s second in command when the time comes to assume his role as leader. Jamie and Tek are more than friends and gang brothers though. Their feelings run deeper; the attraction between them is undeniable. Being part of a gang that frowns on homosexuality and would cast them out or kill them for their love should their secret ever be discovered, Jamie and Tek have to hide their feelings for each other and pretend to be what they are not.

When hiding and pretending are no longer enough to keep them safe, Jamie and Tek have to embark on a new life far away from everything they know. But while it’s possible to run from danger, leaving the past behind is far more difficult and may well turn out to be impossible.

This was a rather dark but completely captivating story. The reader is given the opportunity to really get to know Jamie and Tek through glimpses of their younger years before we get to the moment when they both become full gang members and give in to their feelings for each other.

Crimson Eight is a full blown, hard and violent gang. This book isn’t trying to romanticize gang membership. Yes, there is the unquestioned loyalty towards each other but it comes at a huge price. In order to be the man the gang expects him to be, Tek will have to sacrifice his humanity. And while being with Jamie allows Tek to keep a grasp on that humanity, the risk they take simply through giving in to their feelings for each other is huge. And Tek knows that it is only a matter of time before he performs that one act of unimaginable violence that will throw him into the darkness forever.

I loved the relationship between Jamie and Tek. Two strong and dominant men, constantly fighting for the upper hand while finding unexpected pleasure in occasionally losing that battle to the other.

Every chapter starts with an excerpt from what I suspect is Tek’s journal and they gave me a wonderful insight into what makes the man tick. Those sections were deep, at times almost philosophical and gave small but enticing hints as to what was to come next.

“Love is too small a word to define everything I feel for him, the meaning too simple. Too many intangible feelings for such a common four-letter word.”

I don’t want to say too much more about the story since it would be a shame to spoil it. I do need to add though that the book ends on the sort of cliff-hanger that makes it a foregone conclusion that I will be reading the next book as soon as it becomes available. I’ve fallen for Jamie and Tek and need to know what happens to them next; I have to make sure they will be okay.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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