REVIEWED by Donna and Jen B.
TITLE: Breaking Free
SERIES: The Den Boys #3
AUTHOR: A.T. Brennan
PUBLISHER: A.T. Brennan
LENGTH: 275 Pages
RELEASE DATE: November 14, 2017
BLURB: “I would never forgive myself if something happened to another man I cared about because I’d been careless and given in to temptation.” ~ Zander
The last thing I was looking for was a relationship, then I laid eyes on a dancer at a nightclub and my entire world was flipped upside down. Kai is everything I’ve ever wanted, but shouldn’t have. I’m haunted by a past I can’t seem to break free from, and I’m not sure I can be the man Kai deserves. He makes me want to try, but I worry that I’m broken beyond repair.
“There was already a big enough stigma attached to being a go-go dancer, but add being a webcam model to the mix and people tended to assume things about me.” ~ Kai
School, dance, cam, repeat. My life was on a constant loop as I struggled to keep my head above water. After seeing Zander in the crowd while I was dancing, I knew I had to meet the handsome stranger who took my breath away. I don’t know if I’m the right man to help set him free from his pain, but I’m going to do everything I can to try and help him see that the past doesn’t have to define his future.
*This is Book 3 of The Den Boys series, but can be read as a standalone. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and trigger warnings are listed in the book before the table of contents.
I should probably begin by letting other readers know that although Breaking Free is number three in the Den Boys series, it can be read as a standalone. The Den is a pub that functions as almost a rescue center for damaged LGBT folk. Each book in the series tells the story of one of the men employed by the pub, so while there is plenty of character cross over, not knowing the stories of the previous MCs didn’t take away from this book at all. Having said that, I have previously read book number one, and I do think that Breaking Free is even better.
I like the way this author doesn’t pull any punches with her characters. Zander talks frankly about how he became so depressed he shoved a gun in his mouth and prepared to kill himself. And Kai is a GoGo dancer who also does cam shows – meaning he masturbates live on camera while people pay money to watch. Honestly, I expected his profession to cause problems between Kai and Zander. Most books I’ve read that feature a character who makes his living selling sex, treat the profession like it’s something to be ashamed of. And Kai does worry about Zander’s reaction given the way that people have reacted in the past. But while Kai’s only doing these jobs for the decent pay, he isn’t ashamed. He enjoys it, actually. And I appreciated the way the author chose to write Zander’s reaction to the discovery of what it is Kai does for a living.
I remember the first book of this series being heavy on the sex, but while this book was also laden with sexy times, it definitely wasn’t too much. And I think a lot of that has to do with this author’s skill in writing a scorching sex scene. The sex is also used to further the “healing” of both characters. Kai, who is so open about sex, surprisingly has some issues relating to how men have treated him in the past. Zander, who reacted to grief with random hookups, is also cleverly shown to be working past his grief by the way the sex with Kai changes throughout the story.
I think what I really like about this series is the way the characters actually talk to each other. While I know that storyline can sometimes work, I think that for the most part readers are over the big-misunderstanding-fueled-breakup schtick.
Recommended for readers who like some steamy hurt comfort with a notable age gap thrown in for good measure.