Story Rating: 3.75 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars
Narrator: Michael Pauley
Length: 6 hours, 44 minutes
Ren Barretti is back home after being held captive for over a year. He was the only member of his Special Forces team to survive and the guilt has Ren in a state of extreme depression. He’s tormented all the time and when he thinks his brothers are in danger, he leaves once again.
Declan Hale is a police detective and his job is about the only thing he has going for him as he lives a lonely and closeted life. The older Barretti brothers became family to him when one of them married Declan’s sister. The first time Declan laid eyes on Ren, he was gone for the man, but Ren had never been interested in men before and Declan was not exactly in a position to make a move. When he sees that Ren needs help and a safe place to stay, that’s exactly what Declan intends to give him, even if it means keeping Ren’s location a secret from his brothers.
While working a long shift one night, Declan meets Jagger Varos in a professional capacity and while he wants to hate the man, the attraction sizzles at the core. When Jagger finds out that Declan is hiding Ren, the man that he helped rescue, he is torn between his loyalty to Ren and his loyalty to the Barretti men who have given him a job and a place to start over.
Declan and Jagger need to work together to save Ren from his demons and the three men may just find what they all need within each other. But all of the men have a lot to deal with and Ren’s trust issues may pull the men apart when they need each other the most.
Saving Ren follows along with the Barretti brothers and also follows the rest of the Baretti Security series and would not work well as a standalone. It especially follows the events that took place in book two, Redeeming Rafe. Ren is tormented with PTSD and can’t function well and Declan wants to protect him and give him a safe space. Jagger has been in and out of trouble and having dyslexia and being gay made him a target from which he hasn’t quite recovered.
The men are all drawn to each other. And even when Declan and Jagger want to hate each other first, the chemistry between all the men sparks brightly. Kennedy excels in writing three men together and the pull between all the men is well done and we get to know each man separately and then how they will work as a trio. This series is not as intense for me as The Protectors series and while Kennedy’s writing and characters are addictive and keep me coming back, this series doesn’t pack quite the emotional punch as some of the others.
There were a few things that got in the way of this story for me. Declan has a relationship with Zane, who has a friend Connor, who has a stalker ex. I felt like this storyline started in the middle and while Zane and Connor have the next book, I was missing how they fit in here. Also, Declan’s boss at the police station has history with Jagger and Declan seems only concerned with the treatment of Jagger and not the overall picture of what else this man is up to. And then, when Ren starts going out again in the world, it seemed nearly impossible that his well-connected brothers would not know that he was back in town. So, there were a lot of small details that kept adding up and while it was great to see all the men so happy in the epilogue, it was a large contrast to the tone of the rest of the book, as well as the series. But, the draw here would be the well written relationship and chemistry between the three men.
Michael Pauley is always a pleasure for me to listen to. However, this series so far has not wowed me like all of his other performances have. The voices here are similar and being able to determine who is speaking had more to do with the writing than the vocals. Still, his performances overall are top quality and he is still a narrator that I will specifically seek out.