It struck me as being on the darker side. Growing up as the heir to the Valentino family a powerful family in the Italian Mafia/Mob/Mafioso doesn’t exactly leave a man living in a gay friendly environment, much less allow for being in a relationship with a strong D/s influence. But for Nicolai and Gabriel this is the world they have always lived in.
Raised in the same house as Nicolai after the death of his family Gabriel and Nicolai grew up as friends and over the years their friendship became more and now Gabriel is Nicolai’s right-hand man during the day and his partner and lover at night when they are behind closed doors.
Nicolai and Gabriel are doing a fairly, good balancing act when it comes to their lives or they were until someone comes along who has an agenda that doesn’t include a happily ever after for these two men.
So yes, if you’re going to read this one you need to be prepared for the ending…it’s going to leave you peeking over the edge of a rather high cliff which I have no problem with, I’ve read more than a couple of series have had me sitting at the cliff’s edge between books and if I’m enjoying the story I’ll sit at the edge of that cliff and wait…not a problem.
There’s a lot going on here and I’m good with that I like a story that’s got things happening and we’ve got a romance with a touch of kink, we’ve got men who live life on the wrong side of the law and the beginnings of a mystery so on the plus side there’s no time for boredom to set in. For the most part we get to see things from Gabriel’s perspective and in the case of this story I think that’s probably a good thing because jumping back and forth between character perspectives can get confusing if it’s not well done so I’m good with having the chance to get a solid feel for the character of Gabriel and hopefully we’ll get the same chance to see things from Nicolai’s perspective in a future book. I have to admit my feelings about Gabriel went back and forth…at times I liked him and at other times I just wasn’t quite sure so for me when it comes to Gabriel I have to say ‘the jury’s still out’ and as for Nicolai at this point I can’t say that I like him but I’m also not writing him off yet either. So, if the jury’s out for Gabriel when it comes to Nicolai, I’m still working on jury selection but who knows that could change it’s happened before with other characters…so, never say never.
Overall I was definitely ok with the author’s writing style and found it fairly easy to settle in to the story making for an essentially pleasant reading experience…however, I did have one niggle and it was a bit of a biggie for me and probably the biggest contributor to why this was only a 3 star read for me. I knew this one ended with a cliff-hanger and as I said earlier it’s not really an issue if I’m enjoying the story no what bothered me and kept me from really getting involved in the story was the fact that this is a story with an established couple and while we did get enough information to give us a general idea of how these two men came to be involved with each other it was meted out in bits and pieces throughout the story leaving me feeling like I got dropped into the middle of a conversation and spent most of the rest of my time playing catch up when a bit of a prologue could have given me enough detail to draw me into the story and give me a bit of a connection to Nicolai and Gabriel as a couple so that when I encountered that first scene early on in the story between them that was not only intense but very intimate I would have been more solidly drawn into the story.
I’ve pondered this one for a few days and I think in fairness to the story, new to me author, Sai Fox and myself, I’m going to stick with the series for at least one or two more books. I’ve been left with a few questions that I’d really like the answers too and this wouldn’t be the first series that while I wasn’t 100% sure of at the start by the end, I was 100% hooked so for me opportunity’s still knocking and I’m willing to answer the door.
An ARC of ‘On Hand and Knees’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.