This (!) was a WONDERFUL surprise! It just shows when you adore an author venturing out to your less read genres is more than a good idea. I can't believe I read Tere's "Love, Faith and Devotion" series almost 6 years ago! It was superb! But as I'm still careful about reading Sci-Fi it took me long enough to actually grab it and start reading. While I usually find it difficult to connect with a futuristic dystopian world, Tere managed to make this cold rainy and frankly terrifying New York City too intriguing to put aside. Our two MCs couldn't be more different in the way they conduct their lives but inside they are both caring and loyal so when they realize they have something to figure out working together felt right.
Nox Boyet life consists of secrets and lies and not only because he chooses to wear black every night to protect the lives of the less fortunate citizens of New York City. There are thugs, gang member as well as drug dealers selling "Dead Bolt" the newest designer drug. That's why he stayed when he could have found a way to leave this decrepit part of the city. His other focus in life, the one that keeps him going, is his son Sam. He isn't really his son but it doesn't matter and he would rather not think about that day when so many died and he and Sam lived.
When a "model" from the Iron Butterfly Casino appears at their door offering Sam a letter concerning his "real" parents, Nox is LIVID. While he knows the truth, or enough of it, he doesn't want Sam to be a part of any of it. He would rather keep Sam in the dark about the powerful people who played a part in their need to keep quiet and away. It's better everyone thinking Nox Boyet has died that day and Sam doesn't even exist. But it seems someone found out after all.
Cade Creel has no idea what he got himself into when he takes Mr. White's letter. He enjoys the luxury life he has built as an escort for the wealthy and frankly he likes Mr. White and would rather stay on his good graces (and big tips) even if he asks Cade venture into the scarier parts of the city. His visit leaves him bruised but at least he did what he was asked. When striking Patrick Mullens appears at the casino he somehow looks familiar but he isn't sure where exactly to place him and if it's possible it's the same guy who more than manhandled him on the streets just the day before. But when he disappears after another bomb threat is issued he is left with too many questions to ignore so he goes back to confront "Patrick" (finding himself bruised some more).
The threats to Sam (and Nox's) lives are becoming too real to ignore, both the veiled and unveiled ones. He doesn't know what it means and who could be behind it but seeing HER again at the Iron Butterfly brings the past to the surface and frankly scares the life out of him. The noose around both of them is closing and Cade might try to help but it's bigger than him and his many connections.
Saying "the plot thickens" is an understatement. While Cade and Nox get closer things get more and more complicated. Both men start to care for one another but the risk to their safety and the fear of the consequences to all three of them doesn't allow any time to truly be together and enjoy each other's company without looking over their backs. On top of that, Sam need to be more independent (understandable at 17) adds to the risks especially as he knows so little about what's going on around him and Nox is never in a sharing mood. Sam was really a great kid, I think he did everything he could to be the son Nox raised him to be, but he also can't stay cooped up in their house without anyone else but his father's company...
There is much going on from start to finish with glimpses into the past - the day everything started - many things to figure out for us as well as Nox and Cade. But as this is part one of the story, while they have secured a bond between them, they still have a long way to go relationship wise and surely about who's actually behind it all. At the very end they find they have a few new allies but while Nox feels like one he can trust (Mason Todd), the other two (Rachel and Damian) are a different matter. I cannot WAIT to start reading the final part of the story!
I don't know what you feel about dystopian romance novels but I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you give this one a go (and have the second one ready!).
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