Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 4.5 stars
Type: Novel in Series
Provided by Publisher
Blurb: A savior lies in the heart of every good man, but sometimes only love can awaken the man inside the savior.
The world’s had it out for San Francisco firefighter Mace Crawford from the moment he was born. Rescued from a horrific home life and dragged through an uncaring foster system, he’s dedicated his life to saving people, including the men he calls his brothers. As second-in-command of their knitted-together clan, Mace guides his younger siblings, helps out at 415 Ink, the family tattoo shop, and most of all, makes sure the brothers don’t discover his darkest secrets.
It’s a lonely life with one big problem—he’s sworn off love, and Rob Claussen, one of 415 Ink’s tattoo artists, has gotten under his skin in the worst way possible.
Mace’s world is too tight, too controlled to let Rob into his life, much less his heart, but the brash Filipino inker is there every time Mace turns around. He can’t let Rob in without shaking the foundations of the life he’s built, but when an evil from his past resurfaces, Mace is forced to choose between protecting his lies and saving the man he’s too scared to love.
Review: Savior is the second book in the 415 Ink series, but can be read as a stand-alone. The series revolves around five brothers (some of the five may also be related by blood, but they are all related by heart), with each book focusing on one of the brothers. Savior is Mace’s book.
For Mason Crawford, his years in the foster system may have not been ideal, but they were roads ahead of his life beforehand, and it was where he met first Bear and then the other three who would become their younger brothers. Left at the hands of a vile person for a father by a mother who didn’t care enough about him to save Mason when she saved herself, Mace is left a with lifetime of emotional scars. As a firefighter for the San Francisco Fire Department, Mace has spent his adult life rescuing people in an effort to atone for the sins of his father.
Although he’s accepted that his brothers love him, and he loves them, he can’t quite let go of the shield he’s built around himself, even for them. As far as romantic relationships go, well, Mace doesn’t do relationships. And casual sex has done him just fine, until tattoo artist Rob Claussen came to work at the tattoo shop Mace owns with his brothers. If there’s one rule the brothers have, it’s anyone who works for them at 415 Ink is out of bounds.
Rob came to tattooing the long way around, after trying the whole responsible career choice thing and realising while studying at Berkeley that no matter how disappointed his parents might be, he had to follow his passion. So Rob jumped at the chance when a spot at 415 Ink came up. It’s his dream job and there’s nothing he’d do to jeopardise that, although Mace Crawford is a major temptation he’s finding harder and harder to resist. Luckily, the gorgeous firefighter seems to want nothing to do with him. Except nothing could be further than the truth.
It’s not until the earth shakes and Rob and Mace find themselves riding it out together, that they admit to each other what they’ve been feeling, and decide it’s worth exploring what could be.
Just when Mace is finally starting to believe he deserves so much more than he’s ever allowed himself, his past forces its way back into his life when his father is released from prison.
I absolutely adored both Mace and Rob. They fit so well into each other. There wasn’t angst, or going back and forth. Once they decided to pursue their feelings for each other, there was no doubt how solid they would be as a couple. Sure, their individual baggage didn’t magically disappear, but the story’s conflict didn’t come from Mace and Rob’s relationship. It came from the storyline with Mace’s father. Even before I had any idea of half of the evil Mace’s father had inflicted on him, I already hated him with a fiery passion.
As is usual in Rhys Ford’s books, the secondary characters are just as well developed as the main characters. They feel like people you may knows. I loved Mrs Hwang, and Marge may have only made a brief appearance as a side character, but she was awesome. I loved the brief cameos of characters from other series. They were cleverly woven in so as to just be a part of the background texture of the story if the reader hadn’t read the series they were from, but for those who have, it was a wonderful nod to other beloved characters.
Like the first book, Savior features the relationships between the five brothers as much as it does the romantic relationship. I started falling in love with all the brothers right from start with Rebel, the first book in the series. They are such important parts of each other’s lives. I can’t wait to get to know Ivo better. He’s such a complex character. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those series that there will be re-reads of, and each time there will be more to discover and more to love about them.