Levi Harris has never had a reason to stay on the straight and narrow. Nothing he does is ever good enough for his family, his teachers, his bosses, his drill instructors. He can’t do anything right, so why bother trying?
Then he gets caught breaking and entering, and now he’s bound for prison. Or is he?
Austin Caldwell isn’t thrilled about being burglarized, but when he finds himself face to face with the intruder, he sees himself in those terrified eyes. He knows more than most how much prison chews people up and spits them out. Maybe, just maybe, he can save Levi from that fate.
It starts as an arrangement for Levi to work off his debt to Austin. As trust grows between them, so does an undeniable attraction. Especially as Austin begins to see untapped desires in Levi, and he begins to unlock a whole new world of sensuality for his submissive protégé.
Levi’s in heaven. He’s finally wanted. He finally belongs. For the first time in his life, he has something to lose. All he has to do is stay out of trouble.
And hope trouble doesn’t find him.
The Right to Remain is a 150,000+ word standalone contemporary gay romance with a guaranteed happy ending.
CW: criminal activity, brief mentions of past death of a child, brief mention of past suicide, incarceration.
This story has a lot. Age gap, kink 101, the evils of HOAs (no, seriously), the immense need for prison reform and a couple of emotionally manipulative pets.
Levi and Austin are more alike than they are different despite outward appearances. Austin owns a home, has pets, a good job, but he has pretty much no family except for a daughter he gave up for adoption but he luckily has a relationship with. Levi has a family, but whatever he does isn’t good enough so he stopped trying a long time ago. He has a crappy job, a crappy car and a crappy apartment he shares with 2 other guys. So to make a little cash on the side, he breaks into houses to steal what he can carry and sell. Until he finally gets caught. By Austin. In his leather room.
Austin starts off with altruistic intentions of helping Levi stop stealing, but there is chemistry there. Levi doesn’t really know what to do with it because he hasn’t really had relationships. Austin can’t stop thinking about Levi in the leather room. A little curiosity finally gets the conversation going.
Levi has NO idea about kink really. Except that it is a thing. Austin takes the time to explain everything to him as best as he can. What I really liked about this part of the story is that it is explained so, so well without feeling like a lesson in kink. He never makes Levi, or us, feel dumb or silly. And while it is explored why Levi might have the kink he does, Austin never gives a reason for being a dominant. Which just says that some people have reasons for their kink and some don’t and both are perfectly valid.
A lot of time is spent on talking about prison reform, why recidivism happens so often, how ridiculously hard it is for people to get ahead at all when they are released, etc. It was also another lesson for Levi. Go to prison once, you will probably end up back there. And if you don’t, you will probably struggle no matter how hard you try and it will follow you forever. I wish more judgmental people would understand all of this instead of just labeling people as bad or whatever.
There are quite a few lighthearted moments as well. Austin dealing with his “Karen” of an HOA president. his dogs and cat, them just hanging out together, getting to know each other, etc.
Levi’s parents will make you want to scream. They just cannot accept anything less than the best. Because of that, Levi gave up long ago. But they still berate him every chance they get, including belittling him and accusing him of breaking into their house. I really wish he or one of his brothers finally snapped and yelled at them. Oh well, can’t have everything.
This book is LONG. There’s definitely some repetition and I didn’t really expect something to happen toward the end, but looking back on it, it really did need to happen. (Don’t you love spoiler free reviews?) Austin and Levi are great together. The love and tenderness Austin has for Levi is so sweet. Seeing Levi learn to accept that love and tenderness is swoony.
Make sure your kindle battery is charged before you jump in. You will love these guys.
4 pieces of eye candy