This one was definitely buddy read material...

Scars and Ruin (Loose Ends Book 2) - Avril Ashton

...so, lucky me I had my girls, Jewel and Ele to rely on. You ladies are awesome. Thanks for taking this crazy adventure with me.

 

First I'm just going to reiterate what both Jewel & Ele have said in their review 'this book does not read well as a standalone'. I highly recommend reading both 'The Brooklyn Sinners' series and 'Run This Town' as well as the first two stories for this one. I know it sounds like a big commitment but honestly if you really want to take this trip and not feel like you made a left turn when you should have gone right, it'll be worth it.

 

I've been looking forward to this one because it's Hunter/Dane/Dutch/Savage/? damned if I know this guy's got more monikers than Imelda Marcos has shoes and while there was a reason for it. I can't like it was a bit of an irritant for me. So for now let's just call him Dutch and be done with it.

 

So this is the story where we find out the history between Dutch and Varun Patel and I've been curious about this one for a while. You see for me, Dutch is a bit of a quandary because mostly I've just wanted him to go up in flames but every once in a while I like him and I've wanted to know more to see him get a bit of happiness. Dutch's happiness is wrapped up in one person and one person only...you guessed it...Varun Patel.

 

These two men have danced around each other for years and now we get to find out what happens when the music stops. Their's was not a simple relationship and as intense as everything was outside of the bedroom, it was even more so when the clothes finally came off. 

 

I really enjoy the dynamics between these men. I liked that Dutch was the badass, alpha who scared the hell out of everyone and always seemed to be two steps ahead of it all, I like that Patel was his weakness and he'd do anything to protect him even walk away from him. 

 

While I was happy to finally get Dutch and Patel's story. I have to admit there were times when certain aspects felt like they were maybe getting over done and I would have enjoyed it if things had been tightened up a bit more.

 

Sadly I have to admit that the ending for this one still isn't sitting well with me. Things that we had been led to believe were so complex and un-doable suddenly happened with ease in the blink of an eye and that took away a big chunk of the stories overall credibility for me especially in regards to Dutch's character as this big badassed dude that I couldn't decide if I loved to hate him or hated to love him. I liked the larger than life persona that I'd given him and right now it's feeling a little fuzzy around the edges and not so much bigger than life...I'd like the old Dutch back...please?

 

One of the things that I really, really enjoy about not just this Avril Ashton series but the previous one's that I've read as well is that things like who are the good guys and who are the bad guys aren't always black and white. There's a lot of grey in here. Sometimes it's not a matter of good guys and bad guys but good guys doing bad things and bad guys doing good things and the reasons why.

 

I think Syren Rua said it best when he told Patel...

“I told you that the actions by men like Dutch and me, that’s how we get judged.” Something flashed in Syren’s eyes. Could have been regret. “Not our intent. Never our intent.”

At the end of it all maybe this one wasn't quite what I had hoped for but I'm still all in on this series, there's Renzo and Low, their stories next and it's looking promising and there's still Kyo and Priest...sweetbabyjebus!!! I want their story. Not to mention somewhere in there we have 'Call the Coroner'...Ele, please tell me you're with me on this one...please?