Rating: 4.75 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Miki St. John survived an awful childhood of abuse in the foster system to make it big with his band, Sinner’s Gin. But when tragedy strikes, all Miki wants to do is hide away from the world, living on ramen noodles and hanging out alone with only the dog who has adopted him for company. But Miki can’t hide away forever, and when the dead body of his former abuser is found hacked up in Miki’s garage, he gets pulled into the investigation.
Detective Kane Morgan first meets Miki when his dog steals some wood from Kane’s studio space across the street from Miki’s home. Though at first he thinks Miki is involved in the murder, Kane soon realizes that Miki is being drawn into the mess by the real killer. The more Kane investigates, the more he learns about Miki’s troubled past and how emotionally damaged the young man still is. But he is so drawn to Miki, both an intense attraction and a need to care for him. And Miki finds himself comforted by Kane in a way he hasn’t felt with anyone else in a long time. A relationship begins to grow between them, even as things escalate with the murders. Soon more violence occurs and eventually it becomes clear that the killer has set his sights on Miki himself. Just as the two are really forming a relationship, Kane must work to catch the killer before Miki becomes the next victim.
Oh, you guys this was so good! I’ll admit I was a bit wary. I like Ford’s Cole McGinnis series so much I wasn’t sure anything would compare, but I will say I think I loved this one even more! This book had me totally captivated in the combination of a great mystery with a lovely and sexy romance.
I have a bit of soft spot for a broken hero and poor Miki definitely fits this description. Found abandoned on the streets as a toddler, he got tossed around the foster system, ultimately ending up with a sexual predator who abused him. Miki found his way out of the darkness when he met his friend Damien, with whom he started his band, Sinner’s Gin. His bandmates, along with his manager Edie, became the family he never had. And when that was all taken from him, Miki just retreated into himself, unable to face the world again. I loved how Kane’s strength and love helps bring Miki back into life again. For some reason, Miki trusts him right away and grows to depend on Kane. And Kane is so loving and protective, devoting himself completely to Miki. At the same time, Miki is no pushover. Despite his issues, he is sassy and stubborn and challenges Kane, and when it comes right down to it, is able to protect and defend himself when needed. I loved that inner strength and how it keeps a bit of a power balance rather than just Kane as the caretaker.
I really liked the Morgan clan, a group of big, boisterous alphas who love each other fiercely. They basically adopt Miki, and though he is totally overwhelmed by them, they accept him into their family, helping to fill the void left in his heart. Mrs. Morgan is a force of nature. A bit too overwhelming, to be honest, but like a protective mother hen. But I loved Mr. Morgan even more. His quiet strength and the way he reaches out to Miki and provides that solid comfort that Miki really needs amidst the chaos make a big impact.
Kane’s friends and family worry about him getting involved with someone as emotionally broken as Miki. And he truly is broken, something both he and Kane realize. But I loved this passage where Kane explains to his partner why Miki is so good for him:
“People like my mom and Miki are like kites. They need the sky. They need the wind. Me and my dad? We’re the people holding the string. We’re their anchors to the earth. Miki and I can feel each other through the connection.”
“Huh, how does that work out? You’re… wait, you’re not the string. You’re holding the string.”
“Yeah, dude. I’m holding the string.” Kane laughed at Kel’s confused look. “I can feel the power of the wind catching Miki, lifting him up and dropping him down. He can feel the world beneath me, and he knows… he trusts me not to let go… not to let him drift off into the sky. And when he gets too tired of flying, he knows that I’ll reel him in and take care of him. Just like my dad does with my mom.”
“And what do you get out of that? Huh?” Kel asked pointedly. “What the fuck happens to you when he flies off?”
“I have to trust him not to.”
“Sounds like you’re getting the raw end of the deal there, man,” Kel sighed, picking at his fries with a fork.
“Not if you never thought you could fly,” Kane murmured. “With Miki, I can feel the wind. He lets me have a taste of the sky every time I kiss him. That’s not something I even thought of before, and now I can’t imagine my life without it.”
Sigh. So sweet.
The mystery component of the story is also done so well here. We know early on that the killings are somehow connected to Miki’s past. Ford does a great job allowing things to slowly unfold, keeping us guessing and building the tension. But the mystery element really serves to help illuminate Miki and his past and for us to learn more about him and what has shaped his life. It is all integrated so nicely together, keeping the mystery and romance intertwined.
So I really loved this one and can’t wait to read more. Ford gives us some nice surprises and sets us up well for the next book in the series. This story can stand alone just fine, but trust me, you will want to read on when you get to the end. So great story, great mystery, definitely highly recommended.
P.S. This story definitely delves into the abuse Miki suffers, and while not much detail is provided on page, some parts may be graphic enough to bother readers for whom this is a trigger.