and say that while I'm pretty sure there will be at least 2 more books in this series because we've still got to get Luke and Bear's stories to discover and while I know I'm very much looking forward to them for me I think Ivo's story was it and by it I mean this was the story that I was truly waiting for...this was the one that was going to get 5 stars from me not because it was a five star read but because there were only 5 stars for me to give. I loved Gus's story and Mace's story got 5 stars from me because I loved it even more than Gus's but even if there'd been more than 5 stars that's what it would have gotten but Ivo...well I'd happily give it 5 stars and then some.
Ivo's the brother who's captured my attention and intrigued me the most from the very beginning. While his life's been easier than his brothers in some ways in other ways he's faced his own demons and still is. Ivo's spent his whole life trying to fit into boxes to make people like and accept him...to be enough but the one thing he's learned from it all is that when you try to fit into other people's boxes you end up leaving behind pieces of yourself in your efforts to conform until you feel like there's nothing left anymore. Thankfully Ivo had his brothers to show him that not only is he enough he's more...so much more than enough. He's finally at a place in his life where he's comfortable with who he is and with the fact that the only person whose approval he truly needs is his own.
Ruan Nicholls grew up in a different time and lives in a different world...he grew up in a time when admitting you were gay could garner you anything from rejection by those you love to a beating or worse and as a by the book cop his world is still fairly conservative but it's changing and Ruan knows that if he doesn't want to spend his life alone than he needs to change to but somethings are easier said than done and sometimes with the right motivation a person can find the strength to do what's needed.
Ivo and Ruan's paths have crossed before...ten years ago when Ruan was still wearing a uniform and not a detective's badge, but Ivo was too young back then and Ruan's career was just getting started and while they found each other attractive it was a case of time and circumstance not being what it needed to be.
I found it so easy to relate to Ivo's family dynamics with the over bearing, well meaning but meddlesome brothers because he's the youngest and having held that position in my own family for the past 60 years. I get it...I know what it's like to be the youngest in the family, that person who no matter how old you are, what your accomplishments are or what's happened in your life to the rest of your family you're always going to be 'the baby' of the family. it's all done out of love and good intentions but let's face it we all know what road is paved with those good intentions.
Between Ivo's brothers and Ruan's internal struggle to be the man that he wanted to be and that he knew Ivo needed him to be , I enjoyed the way Ivo and Ruan's relationship developed and that they came together first as friends and then as lovers. It wasn't that the physical attraction wasn't there but once again for them it was a case of time and circumstance but I loved that they didn't let this stop the relationship from developing on a different level first before they became lovers.
'Hellion' was for me one of those stories that just fell into place and worked even more so than 'Rebel' or 'Savior' and I really loved both of those books so who knows when we get to Luke and Bear's stories I may be changing my mind about which book is my favorite in this series but to be honest I'd be really surprised it that happened which is not to say that I'm not looking forward to the next one in this series.
An ARC of 'Hellion' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.