LeveledSeries: Saints of Denver #0.5
by Jay Crownover
Published by HarperCollins, William Morrow on November 2nd 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Orlando Frederick knows what it is to be leveled by pain. Instead of focusing on his own, he’s made it his mission to help others: sports stars, wounded war vets, survivors of all kinds. But when Dom, a rugged, damaged, sinfully attractive cop, makes his way into Lando’s physical therapy practice, he might be the biggest challenge yet. Lando loved one stubborn man before and barely survived the fallout. He’s not sure he can do it again.
Dominic Voss is a protector. The police badge he wears is not only his job, it’s his identity, so when he’s sidelined because of an injury, the only thing he cares about is getting back on the force. He expects Lando to mend his body, he just doesn’t realize the trainer will also have him working toward a hell of a lot more. As attraction simmers and flares, Dom sees that Lando needs repair of his own...if only the man will let him close enough to mend what's broken.
I am inexperienced when it comes to reading male/male romance. My previous experiences have only been side stories in other books. So I’m a relative virgin.
Leveled, being my first story where the protagonists are gay and face a completely different set of challenges when it comes to dancing the romance tango, really opened my eyes to those differences and to the sweet similarities of a, dare I say, “traditional” romance.
Man, I will be burying myself with this review at some point today. I’ll just stick my foot in my mouth now. You’d think I never met a gay person in my life – HA! My most favorites uncles in the entire world happily married (finally – yay!) I just trip over myself with terminology. Please, no haters.
Anyways, back to my review…
Besides all the head thumping I was doing (“Well, I never thought of that!”), I kept thinking to myself that this story is the perfect story for anyone interested in being gently introduced to male / male romance. I positively adored Jay Crownover’s story of a guy trying to heal his body after a massive injury at work. Turns out the guy he goes to for help is in need of some healing of his own past hurts.
Dominic Voss is the police officer who desperately wants to get reinstated back on the force, if only his body would cooperate. His partner, Royal, has hooked him up with an appointment with one of the most sought after physical therapists in the Denver area, Orlando Frederick.
Told in dual POV, I was so entirely hooked on this story the first time these two met. I was taken in by how these two guys read each other and how it translated to the other person. Is there such a thing as a “gay-dar”? I do believe there is. And in this case, it’s called “chemistry”. Dom is immediately attracted to Orlando (aka “Lando”) but Dom can’t tell if Lando is gay or not because he’s all business at their appointment. At least that’s what Dom assumes. But it’s more than that.
If you’ve read Crownover’s Marked Men series, Lando probably sounds familiar to you. That’s because Lando is from that series and he tragically lost his first love many years ago and hasn’t quite recovered all the way. Dom’s partner, Royal, is from the Marked Men series, as well. Even though Crownover said in her author’s notes that she moved this novella up so it could be used as a way to connect the two series, I can’t imagine this story told later or NOT being the introduction to her new series, Saints of Denver.
I’ve heard some readers say that they don’t read novellas. I never understood that statement. In this case, you’ll be missing out on an extremely well written male / male romance that is, down to it’s very essence, one of the sweetest romance stories I’ve ever read.
Seriously, I said the word “Awww” with a big dopey grin on my face more often than I really should admit while reading this story. You’re a classy lady, Ms. Crownover! Bravo…