Leopold Van Eschen is on the run. He wasn’t expecting to run and his expensive loafers are certainly not the most sturdy. Also, the blood on his hands and his clothes has Leo in a panic. Leo has led a privileged, but controlled, life and he knows money can’t save him from what he’s done. He has some money in his pocket, but he can’t use it for any means of public transportation and, with no other choice, Leo knows the freight train is his only option. Leo has no idea what he is doing when he tries to hop onto a moving train, and he is saved from certain death by a group of travelers in the rail yard. More specifically, he is saved by Killian and both of their lives are about to change.
Killian left home at 16. He came out to his parents and thought he wasn’t welcome anymore and he ran instead of seeing if there was something to figure out. He hasn’t stopped running. He has a group of friends that are now his family and while living on the fly can be difficult, he enjoys the freedom. Killian knows Leo had all the advantages in life, it’s obvious from everything about him, but he sees that Leo needs help and the group takes Leo in. Killian and Leo start falling for each other from the start, and when Leo’s face is shown all over TV, Killian says he doesn’t care what Leo has done. The group needs to keep moving and keep Leo hidden, but Killian thinks it’s just a matter of time before Leo tires of life on the road with a man that has nothing to offer him. The men want to stay together, but powerful secrets can’t stay hidden forever.
This book is intense from the start and continues all the way through and author Nicky James creates something special in the story of Leo and Killian. The book opens in the middle of the action as Leo is running and hiding and desperately trying to clean the blood from his hands. There is an immediate sense that Leo is not a bad guy, but in an impossible situation, and it’s also not difficult to be able to piece an idea of happened to him from the start.
Leo has lived a wealthy and privileged life and he is unprepared in every single way to be in the situation in which he finds himself. There is a physical component, as he is visibly injured, and a psychological component of having been traumatized. It takes only a moment for Killian to jump into action to save Leo and then continue to help him.
The entire book the group is on the road or on the run. There is a great sense of the life of a rail rider and it made for interesting reading learning about the group and how they move through the world. Killian and Leo gravitate to each other naturally and their attraction and exploration of each other is both sweet and sensual, even while on the move. Killian’s group of friends have become his family and are all interesting characters and their presence was a good addition to the story. Killian has his own story that comes through the pages and while he wants Leo for all time, he doesn’t feel worthy of him. Leo’s story does get much more page time and, at the end, I did want a little more exploration to Killian’s issues. Also, there were a few logistical questions I had with the amount of time the group spent on the trains and there was no mention of taking care of natural bodily functions and the cell phones they were always on never did seem to need to be charged. I do understand it’s fiction, but these things did stick out.
Leo and Killian could have a lot more story and since this is the first book in the Rail Riders series, I do look forward to seeing them again, as well as seeing others in the group take the lead as they all seem to have intriguing stories waiting to be told. End of the Line offers a dual first-person, intense, action-filled story, with found family, a load of hurt/comfort, and two men finding their perfect match.