Every Saturday night, Toby goes to Joker’s Sin to relax and forget the lousy job he does the other six days of the week. It doesn’t hurt that the man who owns the place, Atlas Durand, also has the leading role in every one of Toby’s fantasies. Like the bar, the man is a class act and often does special things to liven up his place, drawing patrons and fans alike. This Saturday night it’s a dance contest and Toby is shocked when he hears his name requested as one to come to the stage. Toby doesn’t dance—at least not in the usual way– but watching his parents sashay around the kitchen taught him a few moves and luckily another guy on the stage is a willing partner. Their flair and timing catch Atlas’ eye and wins Toby the prize that night—a private dinner of his choice with the man himself. Now all Toby has to do is suffer through a week of hell at Vick’s place, another seedier bar in town, until he can have his dream date with Atlas.
Atlas is a one-night-stand kind of guy, ever since the love of his life died and left him with both a broken heart and a huge amount of guilt. He’s fine with his no relationship policy—until he catches sight of Toby. The man feels so right in his arms and the dinner they are going to have could be the start of something more than just a one-off. But Atlas is filled with regret about his former lover and finding the ability to trust another man in his life and heart is not going to be easy. When Toby arrives sporting a nasty bruise on his cheek, Atlas is alarmed. But Toby lies, blaming it on an accident. Toby is a secretive sort and, despite Atlas being all kinds of attracted to the guy, he is wary of just what Toby is keeping from him. Little does Atlas know that Toby keeping secrets to save his sister and his own life.
Davidson King is beginning the new Joker’s Sin series with the release of My Whole World. Set in the town of Haven’s Hart, the crime-ridden setting for King’s successful Haven Hart series, this novel is a standalone and doesn’t hinge on the other novels set in this same locale. Once again, we are plunged into the corrupt goings on in Haven Hart, this time in the night life scene where two bars are going head to head to be top dog.
While Atlas feels no pressure about the rival bar, the same can’t be said for the owner, Vick. He wants Atlas and his bar gone, the sooner the better, and he’s not above any means at his disposal to get what he wants. Using poor Toby by threatening to harm his sister and physically abusing Toby seems to be Vick’s ticket to success. But Toby likes Atlas and, despite the threat to his own well being, Toby gives minimal information to Vick, causing his thugs to beat on him and threats to be leveled. When things come to a head, Toby is forced to tell Atlas what he is up to and possibly destroy the tenuous relationship they are building together. From this point on, the story speeds up, leading to a climax that is nail-bitingly good and worth every moment.
The best part of this story is the way in which Toby and Atlas come to trust each other and leave behind some baggage that has plagued both of them. For Toby, it surrounds his sister’s accident that has left her in a wheelchair and, as she begins to spend more time with one of the men sent to safeguard her and her brother, Toby is relieved to see her happy. Poor Atlas has a backstory that I can’t go into for fear of spoiling the novel for new readers, but suffice it to say, his is a tragic past and moving beyond it takes every ounce of courage and trust he can muster. Toby is just the right man to help Atlas do just that.
The criminal element (Vick and others) is done really well. This author knows how to spin a solid action adventure story, complete with realistic bad guys who are threatening, larger than life, and truly evil. Every time Toby went in to “talk” with Vick, my heart was in my throat fearing what would happen next to our poor hero. With the threat of what Vick might do to poor Toby and his sister ever present, the novel plays out like a suspenseful thrill ride full of deadly possibilities.
I am hooked. I can’t wait for the next book to drop in this new series. Davidson King has certainly cemented her place in the m/m world with one satisfying crime novel after another and My Whole World foreshadows another successful series to come from this marvelous author.