Dan Tolliver is trapped in the midst of a living nightmare. As an abusive lover tightens his hold over Dan, the wounded man retreats from the support of his friends and family. But after one too many trips to the emergency room and one too many hospitalizations, the truth finally comes out. Dan returns to the safety of his familial home to recover, only to find that fear has made him a prisoner.
Dr. Aiden Kavanagh has made the decision to comfort humanity, to travel through their dreams and offer succor where he can. But his time is running out and soon he will fade from the physical the world and away from the man destined to be his mate. While their attraction to one another is primal and destined, Aiden refuses to trap Dan in a relationship from which there is no escape. With Dan’s ex threatening those around them and Aiden’s connection to reality fading, he and Dan must decide if they can risk forever before the nightmares consume them both.
Broken Bones was an exploration of abuse with an intriguing, paranormal twist. The author does a good job of portraying Dan’s struggle to escape his dangerous ex and the pain he suffers. He is far from weak and that he continues to survive, in spite of all that he has endured, makes his character truly admirable. His fear is realistically portrayed and so too is the power it has over him. I appreciated how the author conveyed that Dan was a victim, yet he was never victimized.
Aiden is a sandman, an entity that enters, controls, and even alters the dreams of humans. He and his brethren either choose to help humanity or to prey upon them, which given the power they weld makes them rather terrifying. Aiden has chosen to walk the better path, but without Dan, he will fade from the world. Though the fated mating is a little too hackneyed to truly be considered original these days, it was handled fairly well in Broken Bones. I especially appreciated that Aiden was reluctant to even consider bonding with Dan because he didn’t want the man to regret his decision later down the road.
The language here is occasionally a bit challenging. When the characters speak, especially Aiden and those in Dan’s family, who figure prominently, the style and cadence of their speech is almost antiquated. Though at times it is stilted and slightly exaggerated, it usually works in context. But then the characters will suddenly switch to a more modern parlance and the result is rather jarring. More than once I was jerked out of the story by these rather awkward combinations. It doesn’t distract completely from the storyline, but the overall voice of Broken Bones is less than smooth. The only other issue I had with the book was the end, which felt rushed and too melodramatic. Broken Bones had serious overtones all through and most of the time they seem appropriate or at least they fit well enough to work during a given scene. But the end just seemed silly and rather than drawing me deeper into the action, it completely disengaged me. Combined with the fact that it ended so abruptly, it was rather unsatisfying.
Broken Bones is both honestly intriguing and occasionally ridiculous. Dan’s abuse and his path to recovery are wonderfully rendered. His relationship with Aiden is sweet and powerful and compelling. The prose is, at times, chaotic and the book stumbles at the finish, but if you enjoy paranormal romances, you’ll want to give Broken Bones a try.
A review copy of this book was provided by DSP Publications.