Rating: 4.25 stars
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Six years ago, Captain Ged Merrick lost the love of his life when he was stolen away and sold into slavery. Merrick has the scars and nightmares to prove it. Since then he has searched for Jessie, hoping that every ship they board to free slaves will have Jessie hidden away somewhere. When Merrick secures a new freight ship, he’s surprised to find cryo chambers earmarked to build a new colony, even more so to find out that Jessie is in one of the cryo chambers. But when Jessie comes out of the chamber angry and swinging, literally, Merrick is makes it his goal to earn Jessie’s trust and win him back no matter what.
King Jesson has always loved Merrick, but after six years of hoping Merrick would find and save him, he’s angry that Merrick seems to have moved on and forgotten about him. All the while, Jessie was sold into slavery, dancing, and prostituting himself in order to keep Raif, his young charge, safe. Angry with the past, angry at himself, and angry with Merrick, Jessie lashes out and tells Merrick that he doesn’t love him anymore. Whether he means it or not, Jessie can’t seem to see what good could come out of giving in to what Merrick wants, so he resists at every turn.
A week after Jessie is rescued, Merrick is no closer to convincing him to start over. After another angry argument and a rough bout of sex, Merrick is sure that Jessie will never forgive him. Now he has to decide if staying on the ship and seeing Jesse everyday but not being able to touch him would be better than leaving Jessie with his friends to heal since it is obvious that Merrick isn’t wanted. It’s enough for Merrick to know that Jessie is finally free and safe, even if Jessie hates him. But unfortunately for both men, danger is always lurking in the shadows.
Oh, I really like this one. Finding King is a very sweet reunion story. It’s full of damaged heroes and conflict, which is always a plus in my book. It’s a story that stirs the emotions and creates a definite connection with lovable characters.
I adore both main characters. Merrick is a genuine, good guy. Living with memories and nightmares of his love that was stolen from him, Merrick does his best to live his life, trying to keep hope alive that he will find Jessie one day. He’s hopeful, caring, and honorable. Jessie, on the other hand, has been through hell and back, always having hope that his white knight would rescue him, but it never happened. He’s jaded, traumatized, and hurt. He lashes out to hurt Merrick because what hurts him most is thinking Merrick gave up on him. And although he still loves Merrick, he’s not sure that he can see past his own pain to start over.
My only complaint with this pairing is that I would have liked to see more of them together – maybe some flashbacks, maybe some of their future, maybe a flashback of the day that Jessie was taken and the story behind Merrick’s scars – but definitely more of them together after Jessie is rescued. I would have liked to know why they loved each other so much and why it was so hard to move on. I would have liked to see them talk more, especially Merrick’s explanation of whether he had really given up his search for Jessie or not.
The plot is emotional and frustrating and eventually sweet. It’s a story of love and sacrifice. The writing is good and engaging. I enjoy the pull I had to the book while reading. It felt like a light-hearted story, although it’s not really. It’s an imaginative, fun story.
I could have used more world building. For example, Jessie was sold into slavery, but where was he? He expected Merrick to come get him, but how was Merrick supposed to find him beyond what he was already doing? From what it sounded like, Jessie may have been on another ship with a large number of people, slaves, and free people part of the time or he could have been on a planet sometimes. The world of slavery in its entirety could have been given more definition. Also, I would have liked to know more about the other races of beings. There were several things that could have been expanded upon and hopefully will be within the rest of the series. Not to say it’s not a good world, it is. It just could have used more.
In the end, the pros definitely outweighed the cons. Finding King is a very good beginning to what looks to be a good series. This is the first book I’ve read from this author but I look forward to reading more in the future. I especially cannot wait for the next in this series. Ace and Raif’s story already promises to be quite interesting. I recommend Finding King to lovers of sci-fi, long lost loves, reunion stories, angry love, make up sex and, of course, happily ever after. It’s all included in this novella.