Danny is a young man trapped in terrible circumstances. He’s a student, but he hates his major, and his boyfriend Joshua abuses him (and hates his dog). The abuse is escalating, but Danny can’t seem to leave. Several afternoons a week, Danny goes to a gay bar to have a beer and clear his head. It’s there he meets Jay, the bar’s owner.
Jay notices Danny’s bruises and feels instantly protective. Sure, he finds the younger man cute, but he’s nervous about the age difference…and Danny’s mental and emotional state. At first, Jay is willing to be an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on, but his feelings continue to grow stronger.
One night, the straw that broke the camel’s back occurs when Joshua becomes completely out of control, beating Danny mercilessly and kicking Danny’s beloved Jingles the terrier. Danny leaves Joshua, and after wandering San Diego’s Balboa Park, he calls the only person he knows who could possibly help him…Jay.
Jay is thrilled to know Danny has left Joshua, and he’s eager to help. He brings Danny to his home and gets him settled in. The two men begin a tentative friendship that eventually leads to more, and things are finally good in Danny’s life…until Joshua returns to take his revenge.
Every now and then, a book comes along that has everything I love. Since it’s not an every day thing, I get so excited when I not only get to read it, but when I get to tell other people about how great it was. Such is the case with My Dragon, My Knight.
John Inman is an auto buy for me. He always gives me the perfect amount of romance, sex, action, and humor. In this book, he delivers in spades. Danny is such a sad young man, and my heart went out to him. He’s feeling trapped by Joshua and doesn’t exactly know how to escape. It’s a familiar sentiment. Danny feels obligated to stay, like he owes Joshua something because he’s given him so much (money, a place to live, stability). Of course, all Joshua’s really given him is fear and bruises.
Jay is such an honorable man. He lost his long-time lover to an aneurism and still mourns. He’s torn between grief and feeling more than friendship for Danny, but he’s willing to stay in the background, supporting him, giving him advice, and when he’s needed the most, open his home to the sweet young man and his dog.
Aside from loving Danny and Jay, I liked the hurt/comfort and the slow burn of their love story. It would have been easy to gloss over the damage Joshua had inflicted on Danny and just have Danny and Jay jump into bed. The author takes the high road, though, and makes them take their time. Jay doesn’t want Danny to think he only wants to use him for sex, or that he wants him to sleep with him in exchange for a place to stay. The tenderness between the two of them is breathtaking, and I would have been happy if there had been 1,000 pages of build up because it was perfection.
There are only two major (human) background characters in My Dragon, My Knight. Joshua the abusive bastard, and Ernie the huge but adorable bouncer/doorman at Jay’s bar. Both were well written and filled their roles exactly as they should. Josh was easy to hate, and you just knew it would get worse before it got better. Ernie was awesome, and his love for Jay (and therefore Danny) was the perfect example of friendship. As I said, those are the human background characters. John Inman always makes wonderful use of animals and the city of San Diego in his novels. Jingles, Carly, two cats, and some chickens make up the menagerie here, and they’re charming as can be. And San Diego? Inman describes the locations perfectly. Here in My Dragon, My Knight, his portrayals of Balboa Park and the area around and outside the San Miguel Mountains are spot on. The city lives and breathes. It’s alive. If you’ve never been there, by the time you finish this book (or his others), you’ll have a perfect idea of what everything looks like down to the last detail.
I mentioned John Inman’s use of humor. It’s definitely present in this book. What I thought was interesting was the use of it during the most intense part of the story. I don’t want to give anything away, but I’ll tell you this. There is an extended, action-packed scene that would put terror into the heart of anyone, but Danny and Jay are able to…I don’t want to say make light of the situation, but they did have an interesting way of dealing with the horror.
I want to give brief mention of the sex in My Dragon, My Knight. Danny and Jay are smoking hot together. Their scenes are delightful, and I loved every one of them. That being said, I want to say there is a bit of what I would consider dubious consent in a few scenes between Danny and Joshua. It made me a bit uncomfortable as I read, but I was able to take it as what it was…an example of Joshua’s complete dominance of Danny, and the evil man he is. It also serves to show exactly how good and kind Jay is.
My only knock here, and it’s so small it wasn’t even enough for me to shave off a quarter of a quarter of a star. Once that big action scene was over, the ending seemed to just…happen. It felt sudden, and I wanted more, but I wasn’t disappointed in the least with the book. I loved it. I’ll read it again. I’ll recommend it to anyone who asks…and even people who don’t ask. Definitely pick this one up.
PS…When you get to read why the book is titled the way it is, you’ll swoon and turn into jello. SO romantic!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.