Rating: 3.75 stars
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Length: Novel


Theodore Lyons can’t wait for his senior year of high school to end. He will be able to get away from town and away from his father and go to college on the other side of the country. His father, a judge, is known by everyone and Theo has nothing good to say about the man. Theo has to defend himself daily from students whose family members his father sentenced to jail and no one wants revenge more than Salvadore Zinnetti.

Salvadore Zinnetti’s name speaks for itself. The Zinnettis are well known as the local crime family, but now that Sal’s father is dead, Sal is the outcast in the family and he has to constantly watch his back. Sal wants revenge and vengeance for his father and he’s going to take that out on Theo. Sal notices things about Theo that Theo would rather no one knew and Sal isn’t going to let anyone else mess with Theo because Theo is his.

The men have a volatile relationship while in high school and the chemistry between them is explosive. There’s no future for them for a long list of reasons, but when Theo decides he’s rather stay in town to be with Sal, that decision only lasts for a moment before the men are separated. Years later, Theo and Sal will see each other again for the first time on opposite sides of the law. But that chemistry is still there and Sal still knows that Theo is his.

This is my first book by C. Lymari and I liked the edge of darkness and the all-consuming relationship Sal and Theo find themselves in. Theo is the son of a judge and the family name means everything to his father. But Theo knows his father is involved in unsavory acts and wants to be out from under his control and see his father pay for his own crimes. Theo’s mother left the family years ago and Theo never had closure on that either. His best friend stands in as his girlfriend, as Theo can never tell his father that he is gay, and he has unwanted attention from one of his teachers. Every day seems to be another minefield to try and navigate through, and now Theo has the attention of Salvadore Zinnetti.

There’s a lot that both men have to deal with at a young age. Sal’s life is volatile and he has to constantly watch his back and his front at home and nowhere is truly safe for him. He starts out wanting to use Theo to help get the information that he needs, but Theo becomes more than Sal ever expected.

The book alternates POVs as well as timelines, as we see the guys in high school and then in their early 20s. Sometimes the time changes didn’t flow as well with the use of italics, and at times I had to reorient myself for both POV and timeline. Neither Theo’s nor Sal’s family were well developed for me and the adults in their lives became underdeveloped caricatures.

The time jump also didn’t fill in enough of the story, as when the book opens, Theo is a cop and that never really fit who he was to me and I wasn’t sold on his skills for that career choice. The men also get ridiculously careless at a time when they know they must take extra precautions. The ending also changes tone from the rest of the book and some storylines never wrapped up or wrapped up in large brushstrokes and then I was looking for more to the story.

While some of the structure of the story didn’t all track for me, the men certainly have to work for their HEA and there is never a doubt these two are end game for each other. If there was more written for these men or this world, I would certainly check that out.