Ever since he was run off the road by homophobic bikers and lost his hearing in the accident, Rune Tooby has been adrift. He lost his job, is having trouble relating to his friends, and all he can think about is revenge on those who attacked him. With no place else to go, Rune turns to the Manse, a BDSM club where he trained as a submissive. There they introduce Rune to Dom Oliver Hughes, who is willing to take Rune on as a sub and help him move forward.
Oliver has a close relationship with his current submissive, Jackson Whitney. But Jackson is a busy cardiologist with a wife and kids, and as close as the men are and as much as they love one another, Jackson’s primary focus will always be on his family. Oliver wants to really be needed and helping Rune is able to give him a sense of purpose. Rune is wild and strong and full of intensity, and even a bit of defiance. But he also needs what Oliver offers him, and Oliver’s sincere attempts to care for Rune, including learning sign language, help the two to begin to build a real relationship.
Things are going well between Rune and Oliver, and they have fallen for one another. Along with Jackson, their relationship is strong and caring. But Rune can’t let go of his anger for what happened to him, especially as he learns exactly who was behind the attack and the fact that they are still out hurting others. He is willing to risk whatever it takes to bring them to justice, even at the expense of his own safety, and even his life. Now that Oliver has found Rune, he can’t bear to lose him, and he worries about the risks Rune is taking in the name of revenge. Now Rune must decide if he wants the life he has built with Oliver and Jackson, or if he is willing to risk losing it all to get revenge against his attackers.
Ok, so when I read Lynn Kelling’s fabulous Bare, I immediately emailed her as soon as I was done asking for a story for Rune, Jackson, and Oliver. Although the book focused on Oliver’s best friend Adam’s story, these three men made such a huge impact on me as side characters that I was dying to know more about them. And so I was thrilled to find out that Kelling had taken my question as inspiration and decided to write their story as a prequel to Bare (in fact, I got a little shout out in the Author’s Note). While these books connect in the sense that these three men appear in Bare and Adam appears here, you can read them as standalones (but both stories are excellent and I highly recommend both in either order). This also loosely connects to Kelling’s Manse series, but again it is not necessary to have read that to enjoy these books.
So obviously I have been highly anticipating this one and I am happy to say I absolutely loved it. What drew me to these men from the start is their connection and the way they interact with one another and Kelling really highlights that here. Although there is a strong plot involving Rune’s attack and his need for revenge, the characters are really the stars of the show and Kelling does a wonderful job developing these men. We can see how this nontraditional relationship works and how much these three care for each other. The story explores each of these men so nicely and shows why they need one another and what they each bring to the relationship. There are so many interesting dynamics going on here, from Jackson’s love for both Oliver and his wife, to Oliver’s connection to his friend Adam, to the way Rune and Jackson work together. But the largest focus here is the connection between Oliver and Rune and the way that each are so strongly in need of something that other can provide. Oliver struggles with his need for control and Rune often chafes under Oliver’s rules, but the reality is that these men need each other and are such a good fit. I just loved the dynamics here among all three men, as well as the way this connection expands to both Adam and Jackson’s wife.
Kelling also does a great job carrying over this relationship dynamic to the conflict these guys face. I could totally understand where both Oliver and Rune are coming from, and why they are both struggling. Their actions feel very true to the personalities, and they both have to learn to give a little and trust a little in order to move forward. It is also very rewarding, particularly in Rune’s case, to see them find their love and happiness and a real connection.
It should be pretty clear here, but just in case, this is a pretty nontraditional relationship between the three men. Oliver and Jackson clearly love one another, but Jackson is in an open relationship and Oliver is not his primary partner. Rune and Jackson are building a loving, caring connection throughout the book, and I would consider this a menage in the sense that they have a three-way, long-term relationship, but Oliver and Rune feel like primary partners with one another. Also, Adam is sexually involved with these guys at times as well. I think Kelling does a fabulous job here really exploring all of these dynamics and connections. This is also a super hot, BDSM story. Seriously, these guys are really intense and steamy together and I loved seeing them connect in different ways. Some of the kink scenes are intense and I think Kelling really shows how these men thrive off of this type of relationship and how well it fits their needs.
Overall, I have to say Hush just made me really happy. It was exactly the story I could have wanted for these guys. I loved the way Kelling explored and really developed these characters and their relationship. And the conflict really highlights these men and shows their connection and the growth between them. So I totally loved Hush and highly recommend both it and Bare to you all.