As part of one of the First Families of Heaven, Henry Abrahams has it made. Since he’s the youngest child, he also has no responsibilities. He’s a playboy and he parties hard. Ian Caldwell has a hard time keeping him safe. And when Hank almost loses his life, Ian is put in charge of his personal security.
The attraction between Hank and Ian is intense, but they can’t act on it. Not only is there a conflict of interest, at least for Ian, but their desires go against the morality code of Heaven. Though Ian is doing an amazing job keeping Hank safe, he’s ordered to take some time off to keep gossip down. Ian heads Downside to fulfill some of his baser urges.
Hank can’t believe Ian left, and he goes after him. But things go awry at once. As soon as Hank sees what Ian really wants, Hank tries to leave. But he’s attacked and Ian barely finds him in time. They finally act on their desires, and Ian introduces Hank to Domination and submission, something Hank excels at.
Things go from bad to worse when they find out just what is going on in Heaven and who is behind the attacks on Hank. They make a dubious deal to get back to Heaven to try to put things right. But in the process, they might lose each other forever.
Though this is the second book in the Heaven Corps series, it actually takes place before Angel 1089. In the first book, we see Ian and Hank as a happy, established couple, and get a touch of their backstory, so we know they make it through the perils here in the end. I was really looking forward to this book, to see how they got from where they started to where they were in the first book. And Bridges does not disappoint.
The world building here is layered and fascinating, and even a little bit better explained than previously. I love the high tech that is prevalent throughout, and the way the world now relies on it to a somewhat scary degree. When one thing goes wrong, it cascades horrifically. Not only is it believable, but it lends itself well to the plot of this story. Because of the machination behind the scenes, one little thing causes a world of trouble for the MCs, and they have to make dubious deals and get creative to figure out a solution. I really enjoyed the world Bridges created, and I loved seeing it fully fleshed out.
This author excels at characterization, and Hank is a prime example. He’s a spoiled rich boy, but not in a malicious way. He doesn’t think about consequences because he’s never had to, and he is a product of his environment and upbringing. But when he’s made aware of the ramifications, he grows by leaps and bounds. He had a backbone underneath his façade, and he really learns how to use it. This also serves him well as he learns to submit to Ian. The BDSM aspect here is pretty mild, as far as things go, but it dovetails so well with the characters’ personalities that it really fits.
Ian’s determination to make something of himself is endearing. I really enjoyed his character and the way he stood up and took responsibility for everything he needed to. I loved the way he cared for Hank, the way he truly saw Hank, and the way these two guys fit together. I would have liked a little more development with their feelings, but on the whole it was well done. Their relationship moves at a good and believable pace and really enhances the story.
I was hooked on this world and the author’s writing style in the first book, and this story only reaffirmed it. A well done dystopian society, it’s a fantastic addition to the M/M romance sci fi genre and I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.