Rating: 2 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Remi Deveraux is a man easily swayed by physical pleasures, such as the delicious ass in front of him at the grocery store. It’s such a perfect ass that it leaves Remi groaning, much to the embarrassment of his partner who helpfully points out that it’s a man Remi’s making himself an ass over. Remi doesn’t mind causing a scene — his flamboyant personality is as large and colorful as his southern drawl — but he’s not going to let something so small as gender get in the way of at least meeting the man in question.
Peter isn’t oblivious to the sounds of the men behind him, but has no interest in encouraging them. He has other things to do, like shopping. And keeping an eye on Caleb, his second, his bodyguard, and his best friend as the cashier ogles the uncomfortable werewolf. Unfortunately, Remi is unwilling to let the brush off go and follows Peter to the checkout line, storming through the store to make sure he is able to stand right behind him.
When Caleb and Peter leave the store, Remi follows. He can’t help himself. Peter has a hold over him he can neither fight nor refuse, even if Caleb would rather see Remi face down in a ditch. Peter, too, feels the draw of the handsome detective. The twin spirits of the monsters inside him are curious and, for once, unified in their interest of Remi. But Peter isn’t ready, yet, to deal with the possibilities Remi poses, not when he has an art show to put together. Caleb, for his part, is just as eager to get rid of the distraction the detective poses. His prince, his best friend, and his charge is too important and too easily distracted at a time his focus must be upon the safety of his pack, the controlling of his powers, and the threat of the nelapsi coven who want nothing more than Peter’s death. But the secrecy surrounding Peter only fascinates Remi more. It’s almost as if Peter isn’t anyone at all. He has no presence on social media, no pictures, or selfies, or… anything. None of Remi’s contacts are able to give him anything more on Peter than the vaguest and most generic information.
When the murders begin — Peter’s photography teacher, his ex lover — each scene marked by ominous messages written in blood, Remi turns to one person he’s certain can speak Russian. (Well, two if you count Caleb.) As the death count rises, so does the passion between Peter and Remi. It’s a kiss, then a date, then a night of almost — but not enough — passion between them. Peter’s monsters want more than just a taste of their mate, and Peter doesn’t know how much longer he can hold off from simply claiming Remi, willing or not.
This book was a difficult one to read. Not just because of the wincing tropes, tropes both offensive and tired, but the writing. First, the book needed much better editing; it seemed as if it was mostly done by spell check. If you’re not careful, you end up with homophone issues, such as “reigns” instead of “reins,” or just odd word choices, such as having someone gain a “foot hole” instead of a “foothold,” or a character slowing their breathing “conscientiously” rather than “consciously.” My ‘favorite’ was when a murder victim was described as “decimated.” Technically those last two one could work, but… it makes me wince, regardless. Each time one of these issues popped up it jerked me out of the book, and it happened often enough. Not to mention one phrase that made me wonder about Peter’s anatomy. While getting hot and heavy with Remi, he felt his dick ‘unfurl.’ I’m imagining a wind sock. It’s not a sexy image.
Broken Pieces also contains my two most loathed tropes in romance novels: Stalking is cute! and GayFor You. Remi isn’t and hasn’t been gay — not to his knowledge — but one glimpse of Peter’s magic ass has him trailing after the man like a dog in heat, quite literally “storming through a grocery store” as he chases Peter into the parking lot. Finding out that gender isn’t as important as you thought it was is one thing. Being turned gay or straight just because the right person came along doesn’t work for me.
Remi actually uses police resources to look up Peter. He’s upset when he can’t find out more about him. When a case hints that Peter might be either a suspect or a potential victim, Remi uses it as an excuse to go flirt with Peter some more. If it weren’t for the fact that Peter doesn’t mind, this would be a red flag. Even with Peter not minding, it’s still a red flag to me.
There are some slightly positive moments in this book. The idea that a child of a werewolf and a nelapsi — an ancient and more powerful form of vampire — is an aberration in the paranormal world isn’t new, but the author approached it with the mentions of prophecy and potential. The fact that both werewolves and nelapsi have their own ways of viewing this, that neither side quite knows what to do with Peter, and the very fact of the nelapsi themselves show creativity and had the author chosen to put a little more effort into the world building (and had a good editor), I think it would have made for a better book. The dual nature of Peter’s monsters — two awarenesses inside of him each vying for control over the other — lead to bursts of temper and violence. It’s only Caleb who can still the rages, who can withstand the pain of Peter’s attacks and bring him back down. Until Peter finds his magic soul mate to help him find a balance, the rages will only get worse. The scenes where Peter is enraged, where Caleb is trying to talk him down were not badly done. The writer was able to show the emotional connection between them, a connection that didn’t show up anywhere else in the book.
The rest of Broken Pieces, however, has flaws. Remi’s blind desire to have Peter turns into a passive submission once he and Peter have had hot monster sex. It’s as if, by drinking his blood, Peter has drained out what little personality Remi had. Of course, it’s only a page or two after waking up that Remi is kidnapped by the rival nelapsi who then drinks his blood and then tortures Remi in an effort to bring Peter to her. In two paragraphs, she’s dead. In a throw away line in the epilogue, the murders are solved and closed. Also, one more spellcheck issue, and because it was part of the climax of the book I feel deserves a special mention: “a part” and “apart” do not have the same meaning. Peter was supposed to feel separate from events, as if it was an out of body experience. He wasn’t supposed to feel as if he was “a part” of everything. It took me a moment to refigure that in my head as I read and, because this is the climax of the story where we’re supposed to be the most emotionally involved, it pulled me completely out of the book. These errors make a difference. They completely rewrite a scene. Imagine if the king started raining on his kingdom rather than reigning, or reining it like a horse.
Worst of all, I didn’t care for the characters. Remi was a stalker and, had Peter actually wanted to say no, I’m not sure Remi would have listened. The first reaction Peter has to being all but catcalled in the store (Remi groaned loudly enough that his partner came over from another aisle to see what was up) is to remind himself how good he looks in his brand name clothes. When Caleb is being stalked by a woman he once slept with, Peter thinks how cute, she’s perfect for him. Even with the similar tastes in stalking, the relationship between Peter and Remi felt hollow. Being soul mates isn’t a short cut. You can’t make me believe two people are in love simply because you want them to be; you have to show me something more than an obsessive stalker and a guy not too displeased at the attention.
The plot could have worked if it hadn’t been brushed off at the end of the book and I can’t forgive the writing errors, the cartoonish reactions, the cliched “I’m so evil” villain and the writing errors. I suggest you pass on this book.