It all started with his great-uncle’s diaries. They are what turned Jesse into a believer of something lurking out there that isn’t human and is definitely a threat to all mankind. But convincing others is proving to be a real problem. So Jesse lives his life as an FBI agent while also using an alias to keep in touch with online and underground conspiracy groups that also believe in paranormal beings. He is convinced there is something going on with the Crowley construction group. They have a track record with distorting every neighborhood they build in and the newest is the strangest by far. But Jesse can’t convince anyone that he isn’t either crazy or some sort of occult zealot—until he meets Bryce Reynolds.
Bryce works with the Department of the Weird and Occult (DWO), but Jesse can’t know that. Instead, the two men meet for a simple date. They have an instant spark and suddenly Bryce founds himself ceding all control (something he loves) to the gorgeous man he has just met. The two of them both are interested in exploring their attraction to see if it has legs, but a robbery ends up throwing Bryce and Jesse into a situation where they are at odds with each other and reveals some heavy secrets about both of them. The real question now is can Bryce keep Jesse safe long enough to figure out if they stand a chance at building something real between them.
I first want to say that I sincerely hope that J.S. Harker intends to write a sequel to this wonderful novel, Keep Me Safe. While there is no indication of such and there isn’t a real cliffhanger ending, per se, there are definitely some loose ends still to be resolved in this twisty, surprising plot. Plus, I really want Alex to have his own story—but I’ getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning.
Jesse comes from a legacy of relatives who have immersed themselves in the work of either capturing or destroying paranormal entities that endanger the earth. His great-uncle’s journals are in his possession and from them he knows there is a secret organization (DWO) that may still exist to fight such battles and he wants to be a part of it in the worst way. When he meets Bryce, Jesse has no idea that the man is actually an agent for said organization, but that quickly changes when the two realize they are working the same theft case that hides a much bigger conspiracy. Not only that, but their attraction to each other is very real and both want to explore it, but Bryce’s job and Jesse’s fervor to be a part of that world may be their undoing.
First, let me say that I loved the dynamic between these two men. Bryce giving over control to Jesse in the bedroom was every good thing about the relationship. Bryce is bound up so tight; his job demands it, as does his looking out for his surrogate little brother, Alex, who is often in danger due to his abilities and their interaction with alien forces. So Bryce ceding some of that need for order and dominance with Jesse is just a delicious side plot that makes their relationship even more alluring. Secondly, as far as secondary characters go, Harker struck gold with the creation of Alex. Snarky, gifted, and in many ways, so young, he appeals to me in ways I can’t explain except to say that I really want to know more about his past and see if he can find what he most hungers for—a loving relationship. Alex is the perfect foil to Bryce and the affection they have for each other is so genuine and yet covered up in lots of sarcastic attitude from Alex; it is just fun to watch them interact.
The story, itself, was a really solid mystery with action adventure overtones that kept me invested to the end. How all the pieces fit and who was actually involved in the conspiracy is revealed over time and that means if you like the way in which this author writes (and I do), then it’s hard to put the novel down until you can see the puzzle come together. Plus, the eerie qualities that emanate from the inanimate, yet animate, statues at the heart of this novel get really creepy so this turns out to be a paranormal story with teeth. I simply loved it.
Keep Me Safe is a stand out novel in a genre that often relies more on shifters and formulaic story lines. It demands a sequel, in my opinion, and I sincerely hope it gets one. Until then I highly recommend this story to you.