Leveled by Jay Crownover
“Bad stuff happens sometimes and it happens to people we care about. You can’t live life insulated because you are scared of getting too close.”
Leveled is the story of Dom and Lando. If you’ve read the Marked Men series you are familiar with these two men, Dom was Royal’s cop partner who was injured on the job, and Lando was the man dating Rule’s twin brother Remy before Remy died. Dom needs a physical therapist to get him back in shape to pass his test to go back to the force. Dom gets a recommendation on Lando from a friend, and the two have an instant connection. Lando attempts to ignore their attraction based on the fact that Dom is his client, and he works a dangerous job.
“Most things that are easy aren’t worth much. It’s the things you have to work for that matter the most.”
I really enjoyed this short story, it was nice to see two side characters from a previous series get some closure, especially Lando. What happened to Remy was tragic and he never really seemed to get over it. Dom I liked the most as a main character, he followed his attraction to Lando but also stayed true to who he was. Being a cop was a huge part of who he was, and he wasn’t going to give that up. I can understand Lando’s struggle with Dom’s career to an extent, but after a while I thought he was being a dick about it (luckily he saw that too and cleaned up his act).
This was a great start to a new series, combining past characters and creating something new, providing closure while beginning something fresh. I am really excited for the rest of the Saints of Denver series and this was a great way to kick off the series.
Giant high five to Jay Crownover on her first M/M romance, I think she did a fantastic job. The steam factor wasn’t as high as I would like, but in terms of building a relationship between the two it was entirely believable. My one teeny tiny criticism would be that all of the character often seemed to say exactly the right thing to each other, to a point of being almost cliche with every sentence, but it didn’t happen too often. Oh, and the use of the word turgid. Twice. No me gusta.
“I can’t live my life waiting for it not to hurt before I start existing again.”