Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Two years after a fight with his former lover, Tom Delany returns to Lincoln Beach on the heels of the news that his abusive, formerly politically powerful father has died in prison. When he gets into town, Tom is more or less greeted by Eddie and taken home to Gloria. But something’s different.
The town where Tom grew up, especially the downtown part of town he loves, is run down and struggling. The only thing still standing in good grace is Bannon’s Gym and Gloria’s sick but refuses to tell her son. After Tom learns that his trust fund has run out, he looks for a job and finds one teaching a kid’s class for Danny Bannon. And then he runs into Travis, his ex.
Travis has his own problems. His sister and nephew live with her controlling, deadbeat husband. And his ex-roommate and sometimes lover is back on drugs and bringing trouble to Travis’ door. Literally. And if that’s not enough Tom is back and still angry about Travis beating him two years ago.
Tempers fly high when Tom and Travis are near one another. It’s either fight or fuck, and for the most part they choose the former. Until they find a common goal to work toward: protecting Travis’ sister and nephew. But Tom isn’t sure he wants to say in Lincoln Beach and the longer he stays he’s not sure he wants to leave Travis. But he’ll have to convince Travis to leave the home he knows and loves to follow him to destinations unknown.
Oh. I like this book. It’s a slow burn, frustratingly slow at times, but oh-so good. Takedown is Tom’s story. We meet Tom in Black Dog, the first book in the Bannon’s Gym series. Tom is a pretty big part of the first book so it’s pretty important that you read these books in order so as not to miss the important parts of Tom’s life. But make no mistake, book one is not Tom’s story; it’s Danny and Eddie’s, but Tom does play a large role there. I loved Tom when I first read him in Black Dog. He’s one of my favorite parts of the first book so I was ecstatic to read this one. Tom’s a pretty big hot head, which is how he found his way in the gym in the first place. He’s also a spur-of-the-moment kind of guy. And this story is not his healing, per se. There’s no huge enlightenment at the end of his story. Yes, he finds himself and maybe learns what family really is, but in the end he’s basically the same person he was in the beginning. It’s nice because all in all, Tom is a pretty great kid who’s been dealt a crappy hand in life and only wants to find the place he belongs. Which he does.
Now Travis he’s a bird of a different feather. Very trusting, patient, and forgiving—Travis has been hurt because of his perceived kindness more than once in his life and the hits pretty much keep on coming. That just doesn’t make him naïve. It makes him big hearted and hopeful. But so many hits at once can make him jaded, and without Tom there to push him, he’d probably be so. I love them together. Once they move past their anger and aggression, they temper one another.
This story is sweet in a rough and tumble way. I love the hardness of this story. Both characters are broken in different ways. And no, don’t expect them to heal one another. Their hurts are too deep to be healed by other people. Their issue are more of self-forgiveness and self-acceptance.
The pacing of this book is pretty slow, especially in the beginning. There’s a lot of story here, but the biggest parts are Tom’s and Travis’ separate stories. The story is good even though the slow pacing and lack of intertwining stories in the beginning is frustrating. Somewhere in the middle of the story the romance flickers on and the sub-plots formed at the start of the story start to weave and the action really starts. For the most part this book is sadly poignant. It’s not dark exactly, but it’s certainly not hearts and rainbows. But the ending for these guys, so stressful and heart wrenching, is perfect.
Overall, I really liked this story and am pretty addicted to the series. I am very pleased with Tom’s story and love his counterpart. I think what I liked most is that Tom and Travis are not perfect when the story begins and they certainly are not perfect by the end. I can’t wait to see where Grant goes with this series next—Aaron perhaps? If you’ve not started this series yet, I definitely recommend it. If you’ve read Black Dog and love Eddie and Danny as much as I do, then I recommend you read Takedown.