Hey, remember how damaged Josiah, Mateo, and Tristan were in the first two books of this trilogy?
They’ve got nothing on Ben and Dante.
At the end of the previous book, Ben’s experience wakes some previously suppressed demons in his head, sending his mental health into a tailspin. His previous fixes (including alcohol, but mostly sex) no longer work, causing him even more distress. When he runs into Dante, who freely admits to his own demons, the two characters experience a delicious push and pull in search of both control and escape with the other.
(I should note here that unlike many romance novels, this entire book is from Ben’s perspective. It creates a one-sided view of the burgeoning relationship, but Hart is excellent at also showing us what we need from Dante even solely through Ben’s eyes.)
Which man caves first is debatable because it’s clear they both have something to offer the other. The light BDSM framework creates something of a safety net because it allows Dante to force Ben to take care of himself physically—but it also lets Dante repeat some of the mistakes from his past. When both men catch feelings for the other and Dante refuses to allow him and Ben to continue on their mutually-destructive paths, the end result is not what either man expects.
That Ben experiences post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is evident from page 1, but his recent kidnapping only exacerbates what already existed. Hart reveals information about Ben’s sister throughout the story, but the final bombshell had me recoiling from my Kindle. This will not be an easy read for some people, and I encourage heeding the warnings at the beginning of the book if necessary.
Even though Ben and Dante eventually get their happily ever after together, nothing about this book fits the traditional romantic arc framework. However, I felt strongly for both characters, even when I didn’t particularly everything about them. This is a solid conclusion to an equally difficult trilogy, and I have no regrets about reading any of it.