When Noah was in college, he began dating a respected man. He thought he was in love as Jacob treated him well for the first few months of their relationship. But after Noah moved in with Jacob, their relationship changed drastically and Noah became an abuse victim living under Jacob’s constant reach. It’s been ten years now since Noah has seen Jacob after Jacob tried to kill him, and while Noah’s life has most certainly improved, there is an emptiness to him. When he sees Jacob again in a bar with another man, Noah recognizes the lifeless and frightened gaze in the man at Jacob’s side.
Jesse grew up with an absent mother and an abusive, homophobic father. When his father kicked him out at the age of fifteen, he wound up being taken in by Jacob and now at the age of 24, he has endured years of emotional and psychological abuse. When Noah rescues him from Jacob, Jesse knows that Noah is the one that can keep him safe and he also knows that Noah owns his heart.
This book had not one, but two damaged men trying to break free from their abusive past and a premise like that is something I will often take a chance on. Sometimes you know within the first few pages that a book isn’t for you and yikes, this book definitely was not for me for many reasons.
The book opens with getting us briefly caught up on Noah’s previous relationship with Jacob and the abuse he suffered. He then not only meets Jesse in chapter one, but rescues him. The rescue consists of a quick conversation in a public restroom where Jesse not only agrees to go with Noah, who is a complete stranger, but he also allows Noah to complete a short, surgical-type procedure on him right there in the restroom. If this was an action movie, maybe I could have suspended my disbelief a bit more but since it wasn’t, this didn’t work for me at all.
The men then go into hiding with the help of Noah’s friends and co-workers. Noah works for some type of black ops organization that is headed by Morgan, who was instrumental in saving Noah from Jacob. We never find out exactly what this organization is or what exactly they do. We also never learn the full story of how Noah was saved by Morgan. There were a lot of secondary characters that come and go on page and I learned that the author has a previous series titled Black Ops Heroes. Blackbird Fly Home is listed as a stand alone, as well as the first in a new series, but I felt like I was missing vital information all of the way through the book regarding this organization, as well as many of the characters.
Back to Noah and Jesse. They men fall for each other instantly—like one look at each other instantly. But the voices of the characters did not appeal to me and while instalove works fine sometimes, here it was just another area to overcome. Jesse has been extremely sheltered and his voice, as well as his mannerisms, are child-like, which was off putting when he wanted to start an intimate relationship with Noah. He’s been under Jacob’s control for almost a decade and he’s been free from him for about a minute. He’s also a virgin, which is explained in context. After years of abuse, he’s not only ready to stay with Noah forever, but he’s ready for an intimate relationship with him as well. Noah tries to resist, blah blah, but not for long. This then didn’t feel like the best representation of the abuse that both men had suffered.
Noah was the main point of view character but there were instances of random head hopping for a sentence or two, as well as points of view from a few different characters. This made for an abrupt shift in the direction of the storyline when this happened and when all of a sudden we were in the middle of an intimate scene between two secondary characters who appeared later in the book, the flow was incredibly off for me. The climax was uninspiring and Jacob’s comeuppance was largely off page and lacked impact. There were several times I put the book down convinced I would be done with it, and while I did reach the end, this book is not going to be one I will recommend.