Dario is still trying to process the death of his partner, Jared. Each day and each step he takes further away from Jared is agony. Dario tries to keep going and the one thing that helps him is tutoring and mentoring at the youth shelter. It’s there he meets Feerz, a 14-year-old transgender teen, and Dario tries to offer support where Feerz has none. That is until Dario is sent a video of a sobbing teen being held at knife point and Dario spirals down a dark road.
Dario had a connection to Xavi years ago and he tracks him down again to help him hunt a man with only a tattoo as an identifier. Dario won’t rest, can’t rest until he feels justice is served and, while he wants vengeance and he wants to inflict pain, Dario also needs the pain. Dario is forever fighting demons from a traumatic past and he never thought Xavi would be the one to break him and then start to put him back together.
Hurt Me is the prequel to Krylov’s Dangerously Happy and Bad Things and the books are now being marketed as the Fault Line series. While the events here take place before the events of both of those books, having the background on Dario and Xavi certainly held this book together for me in ways that I am not sure would hold up if you are not familiar with the characters. The relationship between Dario and Xavi is an integral part of this series and seeing their early start can help explain a sometimes brutal relationship between the men.
Dario is trying to move forward after the unexpected death of his partner and he’s only just hanging on. His volunteer work at the youth shelter is important to him and one transgender teen with no one else to turn to starts to rely on Dario’s kindness. Dario tries to walk the line between mentor and friend and it’s in drawing those lines he will never forgive himself for a devastating outcome.
Much of this book is Dario relentlessly hunting a predator of underage teens. He has no experience in anything like this and isn’t concerned about his own safety if he can enact retribution and stop crimes from happening again. When the police were no help to him, he went rogue and he’s living off the rails terrified another teen will become a victim. It’s here that Xavi provides Dario with information and lets him out on his own a bit, but Xavi is always watching and won’t let harm come to Dario.
Xavi has his own demons he fights daily and when Dario comes to him seeking pain, the two start a relationship that Dario really never saw coming. We know from the previous books how the men felt about each other and where their relationship ultimately went, and here the earliest moments are displayed.
The catching the criminal storyline did go on a little long for me. There’s lots of monitoring Spyware and stakeouts that become an endless chase and the storyline wasn’t intriguing enough for me to carry this entire book. I also thought there would be more answers to Dario and Xavi’s relationship and, while I certainly enjoyed seeing their earliest interactions, I had more questions than answers at the end that I didn’t have before. The ending then most certainly made me want to start reading Dangerously Happy all over again.
It’s been years since Krylov has published a book and I was ecstatic to see the author return and would certainly look forward to regular releases from a talented author.