Poe has never been accepted by his family for being gay and he left home as soon as he was able. The only family who truly cared for Poe was his uncle and his partner, and they helped make Poe’s life a little easier as he was starting off on his own. Now, Poe’s uncle has died and left him his failing bar. Poe knows he should probably cash out and sell the bar, particularly as he will need a lot of money to get it back up and and running. But Poe isn’t quite ready to let go of that last piece of his uncle, the place he has so many happy memories, and so he decides to try and make a go of it.
Things start off poorly when Poe is attacked in the alley behind the bar and he is beaten badly. Fortunately, he is rescued by a gorgeous silver fox who manages to get Poe to safety. Poe figures that is the last he will see of the man, but Alonso turns up in his life again. Poe finds himself incredibly drawn to Alonso and, to his shock, Alonso seems equally attracted to him. No one has ever wanted Poe like this, or ever made him feel this special. But Alonso is a mystery and, as they spend more time together, he seems to have even more secrets.
When Poe is attacked again and it is clear Alonso knows more than he is letting on, Poe is determined to get answers. It is soon clear that Alonso has a complicated past, but the men have fallen hard for each other and Poe is beginning to imagine a future where they could be together. But someone out there still wants something from Poe, and it is going to take all of Alonso’s connections to make him safe and for them to have a chance at something lasting together.
Rapture is a story of two men who fall hard and fast. It is almost a fairy tale of a book, where the down-on-his-luck young man is rescued (quite literally) by the handsome, wealthy, and mysterious stranger. Poe has had a hard time of it and, other than his best friend, Nic, he really has no one. His uncles were the only two family members who cared for him and now they are gone and he is struggling to keep their memory alive through the bar. He is just hitting rock bottom — broke, exhausted, and beaten — when Alonso sweeps in and takes care of him. And Poe just blossoms under that care, having someone dote on him and shower him with love and affection. There is just this sweeping, romantic tone to the story that I think is really going to appeal to a lot of readers. I enjoyed the fantasy of it all, particularly as Alonso seems to almost magically resolve all of Poe’s problems, while at the same time cherishing him. That said, this is a major insta-love story and the guys are madly in love almost immediately. Alonso is ready to lay down his life for Poe after barely knowing him and is committed to him for life incredibly fast. So again, this one definitely edges toward a fantasy element here, but it worked for me, as I just got swept away in the drama.
As the story progresses, we learn more about Alonso, as well as who is after Poe and why. The two things are intertwined, so I don’t want to go into too much detail here. Alonso keeps a lot from Poe early on from a desire to protect him; I think there are definitely times speaking up and explaining at least a little would actually have kept Poe safer. But again, the protection is in keeping with the tone of the story and the sense of caretaking between Alonso and Poe.
Rapture is listed as a standalone in the blurb, and you can absolutely read this one on its own. But there are some significant connections to Lindsey’s Madly Ever After series and the story is set in that same world. We get references to Kane and his lovers, to the war with the Romanos, and to some of the side characters from that story (at least one of whom appears here). We learn here about Alonso’s connection to the events of that series, and while he is never mentioned by name in those books, his ex-lover plays a significant side role. So if you have read that other series, I think you will enjoy seeing the connections here, and some of the details may be richer. But again, I think you can start with this book with no problem. I’ll also note that while this book does deal with the world of organized crime and there is definitely violence, it is nowhere near as dark and graphic as the Madly Ever After books. But the other series is labeled as a “dark modern fairytale” and I think Rapture has a lot of that vibe as well. It also looks like Lindsey is setting up some potential stories for some of the side characters here, and I’d really be eager to continue on in this world. I particularly enjoyed Poe’s relationship with his best friend, Nic, and would love to see more of Nic’s story.
Overall, I think if you are willing to go into this and just enjoy the drama and the sweeping romance of it all, this one is going to be a hit. I really liked Poe and Alonso together and, despite the story sometimes dipping a little too hard into the fantasy, I found it really enjoyable. I think this one will appeal to fans of mafia stories, age gap, and a knight in shining armor who sweeps in to save the day.