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.
I wanted to love this book. And there were parts that I did, but….
As an avid m/m reader this was actually the first Rhys Ford book I’ve read. I liked the blurb, second chance love, set in one of my favorite cities, so I jumped in. But I was a bit disappointed.
Gus is part of a rag tag family of brothers. Some related by blood, others by circumstance. After running away to try and find himself after a bad break up, he returns to San Francisco and the brothers he left behind. And the man who broke his heart.
Being that this is the first of a series there is a lot of getting to know all of the various characters. Sadly, I didn’t feel like any one character was really fleshed out. Even Gus and Rey, the main characters of this book felt incomplete. And while Rey was the more likeable guy, Gus was broken and didn’t seem to want to put the pieces back together.
As for the group of guys, his one “brother” Mason seems to really be a bit of a jerk when it comes to Gus. They treated each other horribly- and not in the brotherly way, in my opinion. There were parts of the book where I was just shocked that two guys who considered themselves brothers, lived together for years, but treated each other with such animosity. The oldest “brother” Bear is the typical curmudgeon with a soft side, Ivo- Gus’ half brother- was my favorite of the bunch and I actually look forward to his book. Luke rounds out the five and he intrigued me as well. He went down a different path than the other four but still is one of them.
To complicate Gus and Rey finding love again is the love child that Gus didn’t know he had. And while I understand that he had a crappy childhood and wanted to do better for his son, he is very repetitious with “I can’t think about me, only my son”. A man needs to have a life.
But like I said, there were parts that I did like. I am all for a good angsty book. I love families that are made and not born. And the story arc was decent, but it was just overdone. Too much descriptors in different parts, relationships that didn’t seem genuine and circumstances that seemed a bit over the top.
I am going to take it all with a grain of salt that this was the first in the series and there are a lot of characters to get to know and a world to build. I will definitely read the next (especially if it is about Ivo), and hope for the best.
3 pieces of eye candy
Second chance romance, tattoo artists, and a group of (mostly) non-blood-brothers that have formed their own family? Gimme.
Rey and Gus were crazy about each other but broke up 3 years ago. Gus didn’t seem to want to settle down, and Rey didn’t tell him that that’s what he wanted. Gus skipped town right after, but now he’s back and ready to get serious about his life. Rey wants a second chance, but Gus has a new set of baggage with him: he just learned that his post-breakup one-night stand produced a son.
Gus has had a tough life and I totally feel for him. He had a horrible family trauma as a child, lived through the foster care system and now has a small band of brothers who are also foster care survivors. I love people forging their own family, made of members who’ve chosen each other. Rey had a more stable childhood and he’s now a firefighter. He has seen the happy family and wants that for himself, but Gus is wary of that life.
I have to say it took me a little bit to get into this book. Sometimes the writing sort of confused me and it took me a while to understand who all the “brothers” were and how they met. But eventually I did get into this and liked it. Gus’ past trauma just hurts my heart. Rey has had a more stable upbringing and I want him to be just what Gus needs in his life. Gus wants to be the dad he didn’t have to his own son, and seeing him try is very sweet. These two are clearly still in love with each other, I hate seeing them apart!
Gus’ brothers are all pretty different and I expect there will be further books for each of them. This is the first book I’ve read by Rhys Ford, and while the writing sort of weirded me out initially, I will definitely read more from her.
3 pieces of eye candy