Ollie Jerrick has been living a fairytale since he was rescued at six years old. It hasn’t always been easy, but he’s surrounded by love and happiness. And he’s on a personal mission to make sure that everyone in his life feels the same, including the reclusive tiger shifter, Bayu, who patrols the Smith compound without ever really being part of the pack. Ollie has spent two years talking to Bayu, even if Bayu barely talks back, and he’s ready to step up his game.
Bayu is a loner, as are all tiger shifters. But grief drove him to Nick Smith in the hopes of getting answers. It’s two years on, and Bayu has to accept the worst has happened. Ollie has always been a ray of sunshine, annoying as that can be, but Bayu has also always felt very protective of the young wolf shifter. Bayu is at a point in his life where he can finally open up, and Ollie is thrilled he’s finally getting to know Bayu, even if the man’s past is sad.
The attraction has always been there, and it only grows the more time they spend together. With the help of Ollie’s grandpa, they realize they are mates and begin to build a life together. But when tragedy strikes, Bayu needs to step up and be the hero Ollie has always been. Fate may have put them together, but their love is what’s going to see them through.
With Kid Gloves is the fourth and, for now, final book in the Magical Mates series, a spin-off of Blake’s expansive and intricate Chosen One Universe. Chronologically, Ollie kicks the whole thing off when he shows up as a scared and rain-soaked six-year old at Sam’s door. He sets everything in motion and series readers have watched him grow up and mature on the sidelines. His story has been long-awaited and it didn’t disappoint. This book is best read in order with the rest of the series, as well as at least the prequel of the Chosen One series, Sweet Nothings. To be fair, it has the most context when reading most, if not, all the books in the universe, but that’s not strictly necessary.
This book has an overarching theme of grief, but there’s a whole lot of love to balance it out. Many readers will want tissues for this book, as it deals with some hard realities and death. But woven throughout is Ollie’s trademark sunshiny attitude, a bit of his shenanigans, and his unrelenting optimism. Yes, there are hard moments in this story, but fortunately the worst moments come when Ollie and Bayu have found a good place with each other and are able to support each other. Their love grows organically as they spend time together, and they are in a place where they can first acknowledge the attraction and then act on it. On the romance side of things, the progression is satisfying.
In a departure from most of the books in this universe, the “big bad” isn’t some monster trying to destroy or gain power or cause havoc. Instead, the antagonist is something intangible that comes for everyone eventually and touches every life. In the interest of avoiding spoilers, I won’t go into further detail, except to say that for me, it was jarring and the following scenes were emotional. One part in particular wasn’t what I wanted to see, but I felt Blake handled it well. But please check the post tags if you have particular triggers.
All I can really say is be prepared for humor and love, and a whole lot of grief, but this book hit all the right notes for the series. Seeing Ollie finally getting his HEA was lovely, and Bayu’s healing was a nice journey. If you’re invested in this world, then you definitely need to pick this one up.