Title: Double Heat
Author: Lynn Kelling
Publisher: Fantastic Fiction Publishing
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Page Count: Unknown
Reviewed by: Jewel
Heat Level: 5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
When Evan and Brennan moved in with their boyfriends, Alek and Luka, they knew things would be complicated, but as their privacy gets eroded, and people around them begin to notice the tangled nature of the four-way relationship, coping becomes a struggle. After Brennan leaves on a brief trip home, and Evan remains behind to enjoy the full attention of both Alek and Luka, the careful balance of things gets thrown off. Ex-boyfriends surface, haunting Evan and Brennan in similar ways as regret for poor choices threatens their happiness, and the sexual freedom displayed earlier in their lives draws predators willing to use violence, coercion, mind-games and force to take what they want. Though Luka and Alek struggle to protect those they love, it soon becomes clear that the dangers surrounding them will find ways to rush in, trying to take what belongs to them.
While I have enjoyed this series – I mean, it is SUPER HOT – I felt like parts of Double Heat felt too drawn out. I would also have liked to see some time pass and see Evan and Brennan mature a bit. Their constant self blame for being abused and hurt, the constant excuses as to why their abusers weren’t bad guys and their tendency to run away or change the subject became touch bit tedious. These boys need serious therapy. Both of them were sexually abused when they were 12 and 13 and that initiated self destructive behavior in both of them that they haven’t begun to deal with. And to warn you, some of those memories are played out on page, in vivid detail.
This entire book dealt with, in graphic detail, Evan’s and Brennan’s pasts and what they must do in order to move forward in their lives.
To say that Brennan and Evan have issues, would be a gross understatement. Brennan seems like the well adjusted one, and in many ways he is. However, he had to grow up way too fast and with him having to take care of his mom when she got cancer, he’s just had to deal with too much. And then there was the part of his life that no sexually active teenager wants their parents to find out about. So he didn’t always make safe or right choices. But he was a kid, you know? And he got taken advantage of more than Double Heat probably covered.
The worst was Tommy when they were both about 17 . Tommy was bad news and he was very aggressive with Brennan and I don’t think their sex life was always entirely consensual. Tommy sure knew how to manipulate Brennan to get what he wanted, and he would convince Brennan that he wanted it, too. He was creepy, for sure, and dangerous. He discovered just how dangerous when he returned to Monroe, LA to keep his promise to his mother that he would always visit her grave on her birthday. He learned a good number of things on that trip. He discovered that you can never really go home again. He no longer had anything in common with his old friends and he was in such a different place in his life. And he finally figured out that Tommy wasn’t just pathetic, he was dangerous.
While Brennan was in Louisiana, Evan had the twins to himself. He was worried to pieces that he would screw up their overall relationship. Evan has such little self worth. He really doesn’t see what Alek and Luka see in him and he thinks that Brennan is a way better person, too. But when Evan was 13, he was fed the bullshit that no one would care about him if he didn’t bend over for it. From the mouth of a predator to groom Evan to respond in a certain way. Drew is an old friend of Evan and Brennan’s dad and the person that sexually abused Evan when he was a boy.
Evan hasn’t seen Drew in a very long time, but his role in this book was very difficult for me to read. There is one chapter I skimmed entirely because I felt so ill, I couldn’t actually read it. Double twincest == hot, Sleazy pedophile surfacing to torment a previous victim is not. So very not. And it isn’t meant to be. It’s meant to illustrate why it is that Evan is so messed up, and I think it did that very well, even if it was too difficult for me. And Lynn Kelling did not glaze over it, either. So if that kind of thing is a trigger for you, be warned.
It takes these extreme events for Evan and Brennan to finally open up and talk about what had happened to them and start to heal. And Luka and Alek are there with them, every step of the way. I’m told that Lynn Kelling is working on a fourth book and I am looking forward to seeing where takes these boys. I hope it isn’t somewhere too traumatic, but then we haven’t gotten into Luka’s and Alek’s past too much yet, so maybe that’s where it will go. Wherever the journey takes them, though, I hope they come out the other side stronger for it. I’m rooting for them!