cutter's mission coverRating: 3.5 stars
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Length: Novel

Abbott McClain is fleeing from an abusive boyfriend when his car breaks down in Texas. Abbott was hoping to make it his grandparents’ cabin across the country and now he is stuck with no car, a dead phone, and little money. The only place he can find to ask for help is a noisy biker bar. Abbott is nervous about going inside, but is relieved to immediately get an offer of help from one of the men.

James Alan Cutter died during the Vietnam War, only to be brought back to life by Odin and become an immortal in the Valhalla’s Warriors motorcycle club. Cutter is immediately intrigued by the adorable man who comes into the bar and all his protective instincts come to the forefront. He can’t help but want to take care of Abbott and, to Cutter’s delight, Abbot is equally interested in being the boy to Cutter’s Daddy. Even after learning the truth about Cutter’s background and immortality, Abbott wants them to be together. After giving Abbott a chance to rest and recover from his ordeal, Cutter escorts him across the country to his grandparents’ cabin.

The road trip is a great way for the men to spend more time together and cement their bond. But Abbott is still keeping some secrets about his past and when they arrive in Oregon, the truth will need to come out. But even worse, Abbott’s abusive ex isn’t so willing to let him go, and even as Abbott is finding happiness with Cutter, Lyle is looking to take his revenge on Abbott for leaving.

Cutter’s Mission starts off the Valhalla Warriors series and appears to be author Rosie Jarvis’ debut book. The story started off really interesting with the prologue set during the Vietnam War. We see Cutter (then going by Alan) as a medic in the war who sacrifices his life to save another soldier. He is then chosen by Odin to be part of his immortal warriors for his valiant sacrifice. So it was an interesting set up to the story and got me intrigued, but there was a lot here that didn’t fully come together for me.

I did like Abbott and Cutter together and they have a sweet Daddy/boy relationship with a light element of age play. The two are tender and loving together and both were likable characters. Things move super fast for them though. They meet and Cutter almost immediately decides he is going to take care of Abbott, bringing him home and declaring he will take him to Oregon. Cutter is pretty heavy handed making decisions for Abbott before they even have any kind of established relationship. Within that same night they meet, they also commit to being Daddy/boy. It all happens at lightening speed and way too fast for me.

I also struggled with Abbott’s immediate trust and acceptance of Cutter, which didn’t really fit within the narrative we are given for his character. Abbott was kicked out of his home by his parents for being gay, rejected by those who should care about him. He also just got out of a relationship with Lyle, a man who appeared nice at first and as if he wanted to take care of Abbott. Then he slowly started demanding Abbott pay him back for those expenses and, when Abbott couldn’t afford it, Lyle forced him into illegal activities and made him have sex with Lyle’s friends and clients. Abbott just barely escaped from Lyle and notes how Lyle seemed so nice at first, only to turn on him. Then, the first person Abbott meets while on the run ALSO says he wants to take care of him, brings him into his home, etc. Yet somehow, Abbott has no questions, no wariness, just immediately turns his life over to Cutter. It just didn’t make a lot of sense given what we know about Abbott and his past. Also, the day they meet (or the morning after?), Cutter points himself out in an old war picture, telling Abbott he is in his 70s. When Abbott asks about it, Cutter says he can’t tell him (until he checks with Odin), and Abbott just accepts that and moves on. No questions at all, no concern that the man who looks 35 is telling him he is in his 70s, just notes that he trusts Cutter so presumably it’s all fine. Once Cutter tells Abbott his history as one of the Valhalla Warriors, including that he is immortal, Abbott accepts it all with barely a blink. This complete and total trust of a stranger just made no sense to me, particularly given Abbott’s past.

The story sets up some interesting elements with the motorcycle club and the immortal warriors angle, but I feel like it is never developed or adds much to the storyline. The fact that Cutter is in an MC is fairly meaningless to the plot, other than that we see the guys in his MC help him take care of Abbott. But this isn’t a “motorcycle club romance” in any real sense, and it feels like mostly a surface level element. The real disappointment for me related to the men being these warriors for Odin. They are brought back to life “to become Einherjar, a Worthy Solider, in his Army” and “assist Odin in defeating evil.” Yet, prior to Abbott showing up, they don’t seem to actually be doing any of that. We get no sense of them as this is a group of warriors who are going off and fighting bad guys under Odin’s leadership. They seem to just be regular folks hanging out at their club, albeit immortal ones. Yes, they do help Abbott, but it comes across as much more a “help protect my boyfriend” than “fighting evil on behalf of a god.” Cutter, who was a medic in the Army, is now a mechanic. He notes how mechanics help people, which yes, as do lots of people in service jobs. And it is a worthy profession, but it just doesn’t really fit into the whole immortal warriors called to fight evil premise.

There felt like so much potential here, but the glimpses of world building or interesting ideas never really get developed or we have to put the pieces together ourselves. For example, when Cutter is in the war, he is unable to save a young soldier who is tended to by his best friend. When we next see Cutter, he is at the club with the soldier, who has now become immortal and a club member as well, along with the soldier’s best friend, who is now an old man. It was such a cool idea, but the fact that these guys are both there is never even addressed. I would have loved to hear how they all reconnected, how they are working together, some sort of acknowledgement, but it is basically ignored. We also learn that there is a rival MC, the Hell Hounds, and somehow Lyle is working with them. But they just appear out of nowhere in the story with no explanation of who they are, what they are doing, what they have been fighting with the Valhalla Warriors about, etc. There are so many instances like this where things just are kept so much at the surface with no development that could have really made the story shine. I kept having questions as things arose that never seemed addressed.

My last note is the Lyle ends up feeling pretty cartoonishly evil. His deeds are horrible, truly, and get worse the more we learn. But his character seems so mustache twirling villain to the point where I felt it diminishes his impact. He all but cackles as he recites all the evil things he is going to do, and it just took away the sense of him being an actual adversary. Oh, and then at the end there is a coincidence so outrageous it felt absurd.

This was a story that I really wanted to love as the start was so engaging and the set up was so interesting. And I did find Abbott and Cutter to be sweet, likable guys and I enjoyed them and their relationship. The story had some interesting elements and I liked the parts where we see Cutter and his friends working together to take down the bad guys. There is some good closure for Abbott with some of his family, as well as some nice consequences for those that did him wrong. So the story has some entertaining elements, but there were too many holes for me and too much not fully developed for this one to fully come together for me.

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