Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: 
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Length: Novel

Soren Green and Kane Winters have both had difficult pasts and are trying to move forward. Soren grew up with an alcoholic father and made his living as an MMA fighter until a spinal cord injury sidelined him. Soren has limited mobility, and some days are better than others. He knows he is living on borrowed time until he will need another surgery, but things with his ex-husband are tense right now. Tim is playing custody games with their young son and Soren is determined to figure out what Tim is up to and stop him before he deals with surgery and recovery. Soren also works as a lawyer and spends a lot of time helping teens at an LGBTQ shelter with their cases. So he knows he doesn’t have time to deal with taking care of his back, but his body may not leave him with much choice.

Kane Winters used to be a successful chef, but his life fell apart after his abusive boyfriend died and Kane ended up in jail for getting involved in a fight when his emotions were high. Now, Kane is out of prison, but getting hired as a felon isn’t easy. Kane is living in a crappy apartment with dicey heat during the frigid winter, struggling to find a job. When Soren offers Kane a ride to help him out of the cold, Kane doesn’t want his pity. But it is cold outside and Soren seems like a decent guy, and so Kane takes a chance.

The two men slowly begin to get to know one another, particularly when Kane takes on some community service work at the shelter where Soren also helps out. As their friendship grows, so does their attraction, but both men want to take things slowly. Neither Soren nor Kane ever thought they would find love or happiness together, and neither feels they are in a place to really start a relationship. But that doesn’t stop the feelings that are growing between them. Now, Soren and Kane need to figure out if the chance at a life together, one filled with unexpected happiness, is worth taking the leap.

Renegades is the first book in E.M. Lindsey’s new Breaking the Rules series. It is a spin off of the author’s Irons and Works series and set in the same world with a lot of crossover of background characters. I have only read To Touch the Light, a standalone in the series, but I had no trouble following along here. Kane and Soren’s story very much stands alone in terms of plot and I could follow their journey with no trouble. However, the guys from Irons and Works definitely play a role here as part of the found family Soren and Kane are soon adopted into. So familiarity with those characters would likely add something here, but it isn’t necessary to enjoy this book.

This story is a slow burn, hurt/comfort type journey for Kane and Soren. Both have difficult pasts that have left their scars, and both men aren’t optimistic for their futures. Neither man is ready to jump into anything serious, and both question whether they are ready for a relationship. But the connection between them is so strong, neither can ignore it either. Lindsey does just a great job with this slow burn. We can see these guys slowly unfurl from the tight hold they have on themselves. The friendship grows so beautifully into more and I couldn’t help but root for them with every baby step they take toward happiness. I love the open, honest way the men talk to one another, how they share their feelings and support one another. The story may move slowly into a relationship, but it is super romantic at the same time.

One thing I particularly enjoy about these two series is the found family aspect to them. The books are filled with a group of men who may look rough, but who are tender and caring and supportive of one another. I loved seeing how they all have each other’s backs, and how they welcome Kane into their group. Lindsey also writes characters with great diversity, especially regarding physical abilities, something that is not always common in romance. I appreciated how we see that while Soren’s spiral cord injury is something that adds pain and complication to his life, he is also living and thriving; his injury is a part of him, but not who he is.

So I really loved this story and am really excited for this spin off series. I continue to really enjoy Lindsey’s writing and am interested to go back and check out the original series, as I am really intrigued about the characters we meet here. These books are really intriguing and I can’t wait for more.

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