Max is no saint and he’ll be the first one to confess that, but the feelings that Sparkles (aka Lane) stirs up in the bartender is something no one has ever managed before. Max is ready to turn in his horn-dog card for just one chance with the pink-haired beauty, if only Lane will ever give him the opportunity. But Lane is no fool and this isn’t his first rodeo. His past has taught him to be more than wary of men, even ones who seem to be kind—especially those. So while Max might be nice eye candy, he will never be more than that. Then some strangers roll into town and the landlord who holds the lease to Lane’s dance studio and apartment announces it is being sold. When Lane discovers just who is buying them, the fear that once drove his life returns. The past that has haunted Lane is back in the flesh and wants revenge and Lane is not sure if running away again will solve the problem. Can he trust Max to help him, or is the life Lane has slowly rebuilt for himself about to crumble?
Davidson King’s follow up to My Whole World has released and To Die For is even better than its predecessor. Setting up once more in the town of Haven Hart at the local bar, Joker’s Sin, the story moves from the owner, Atlas, to his head mixologist/bartender, Max. Max loves his job. He enjoys coming up with new cocktails and meeting all the people who come into the bar and hooking up with some of those customers is icing on the cake. But the one guy who eludes him and seems immune to his charms is Sparkles, one of the patrons who often dances on the main stage. The guy is gorgeous, but has a pretty low opinion of Max if his sarcastic comments are anything to go by.
Still, Max can’t help but offer a ride home to the man late one night when he’s left stranded waiting for a friend to pick him up and after that, Max is determined to introduce Lane to the real Max—the gentleman who is loyal, kind, and trustworthy. Breaking through the guy’s shell is pretty tough, however, and it’s not until Max is privy to Lane’s visit from the new landlord that he realizes he may be in real trouble. Despite Lane’s reluctance to accept his help, Max steps up and the two of them try to figure out just how to save Lane from returning to a life that nearly killed him.
The chemistry between Lane and Max is not immediate, but more of a slow burn as the two get to know one another and Lane learns to trust that Max is not the shallow love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of guy he always thought him to be. I love the fact that the author allows these two characters to basically court one another, giving time for both the relationship to develop and the bad guy to slowly reveal just how far he will go to have Lane back in his grip. The love that builds between Lane and Max is realistic and hard fought, for Lane takes his time in revealing just how damaging his past is and how shamed he is to have allowed it to happen.
This is a novel about the strength of family, of trust, and of allowing those who love you to help you when you need it most. Lane makes the transition from always keeping one eye on the past to having both feet planted firmly in the future and all its many possibilities. Max is Lane’s happy ever after and the strength he needs to stand up to the horrific treatment he once endured in order to survive. To Die For is a story of hope and redemption and I highly recommend it to you.