snakebites coverRating: 4 stars
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Length: Novella


Ryder grew up in foster care, but found his home as a teen at Ted House. For the first time, he had a safe space and people who actually cared about him. They even supported Ryder so that he could go to on to college and study to be an art therapist. Now, seven years later, Ryder has graduated and returned home to Colorado, looking for a job at Ted House.

Ryder quickly meets Linc, a piercer at Irons and Works. The two hit it off right away and an attraction flares. There is not just a physical connection between them, but a shared understanding of the world. Ryder has psychosis with accompanying hallucinations and, while they are much more under control than when he was a child, it is still a struggle. Linc has a dactyly condition where he has only a finger and thumb on each hand. While that hasn’t stopped him from being a drummer in a punk band, nor working as a piercer, he still faces lots of unwanted looks and judgement. Neither man expected to find love so easily, but it turns out that Ryder and Linc are a perfect fit.

Snakebites is the ninth and final book for sale in E.M. Lindsey’s excellent Irons and Works series. It wraps things up for the gang in Colorado and servers as a bridge to the spin-off series set in Florida, Ink and Iron. (That said, Lindsey has indicated there will be a side story or two set in this world coming as giveaways.) This book features various characters from Irons and Works, as well as the other spin-off series, Breaking the Rules, so this is really going to be ideal for those familiar with at least some of the books in this world to get the most out of it. But the romance does stand alone if you want to jump in here.

This story is a novella, so things are somewhat accelerated here and, for Ryder and Linc, it’s pretty much love at first sight. They connect at first meeting and it doesn’t take long before they are pretty much all in. I think it works given the shorter book, but definitely this one doesn’t have the same relationship or character development you will find in some of Lindsey’s longer works. Still, Lindsey is always so good at character building and we do get a nice sense of the men, their backgrounds, and the connection they find with one another. There is a sweet sense of two people finding someone who truly accepts them and the men are really nice together.

As I said, this is a bridge to the new series, so we do see Linc’s best friend, Zeke, who is opening up the new shop in Florida. I am not quite sure if Linc and Ryder will appear there as well, but it does seem like they will connect in some way to that series. I have really loved this larger world and I am excited to see how Lindsey’s builds this spin-off and expands things even further.

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