As a teenager, rancher Keegan MacLamore was not very well liked in the small town of Thayne. He was a motorcycle-riding, longhaired rebel. At eighteen years old, he was sentenced to thirty years to life for a murder he didn’t commit. Twenty-five years later, he’s released on parole and all he wants is to be left alone. He wants to crawl into a hole and stay there. He goes home to Rattlesnake Ranch instead.
Jaxon Lesley had no family growing up but as soon as he could he left Thayne and was quickly picked up for pro baseball. For the last five years, he’s been fulfilling a promise to a dying old man — take care of the Rattlesnake Ranch on the off-season until Keegan MacLamore was released from prison and could take over.
The moment Jaxon gets to the Rattlesnake and sees the half-naked, baseball bat wielding, tattooed hottie with the sad, broken eyes, Jaxon knows he’s in trouble. He’s got secrets, secrets that affect Keegan, but he wants him and wants to make him whole again. But if Jaxon’s to redeem Keegan, however, their hearts will have to survive the secrets he has no choice but to reveal.
In 1985 Keegan was sentenced to 30 years to life for the murder of another teenager simply because the community was looking for a way to get rid of him since he threatened their perceptions of male sexuality. Keegan was a rebel and he had had sex with a number of other boys whose parents hated him, and they blamed him for corrupting their sons. Pinning a murder on Keegan seemed to them to be his just deserts. It didn’t matter that he was innocent and had not been given a fair trial, the end result was what was important to them. 25 years later Keegan was released on parole and came home to Thayne, Alberta to lick his wounds, think about his lost teenage years and the waste of his adult life. Only three people believed in him – his grandfather who was now dead, his best friend Colter Madison, now a lawyer who had been working for years to try and re-open his case, and his ex lover Jaxon who had risen from a poor orphan to become a Major League Baseball player.
Jaxon Lesley’s season had just ended, and as he had done for the past 5 years, he headed home to Thayne to look after Keegan’s property to fulfil his promise to his deceased grandfather. Jaxon had grown up in an orphanage when he had been left on the steps at age 5 and the only ‘family’ he knew were the other kids in the Brotherhood with whom he hung around. At the time of the murder he was aware that Keegan was innocent but he didn’t want to betray his so-called ‘family’ since they were all he had, so he didn’t come forward. Because of his displaced sense of loyalty, 25 years of an innocent man’s life had been taken away from him. Since Keegan’s incarceration Jaxon had lived with the guilt but had done nothing to help him except look after the ranch after his grandfather’s death. When Jaxon showed up at Rattlesnake Ranch that off-season Keegan was already in residence and it wasn’t long before their former attraction as teenagers burst into flames, but there were many issues that had to be resolved between them.
The possibility of clearing Keegan’s name which seemed imminent with new evidence that emerged meant that Keegan would be a free man. But when Keegan found out that Jaxon knew of his innocence all along this had the predictable result, and it seemed that our lovers were doomed to be apart, but of course this is a romance therefore a way had to be found to bring them together again.
I really liked this story and the characters and I thought that Colter proved himself to be a true friend to Keegan by never giving up the fight to clear his name. Keegan’s and Jaxon’s feelings for each other seemed to see saw but their sexual relationship was on fire. I thought that the writing in parts of the book was a bit uneven and choppy, but Keegan’s flashbacks to the crime, his nightmares, the scars on his body which weren’t explained but I assumed were as a result of beatings, and his enjoyment of simple pleasures like having a private shower as oppposed to communal showers in prison, were well done. However I felt that no sex in 25 years while Keegan was in prison didn’t make sense because I had always assumed it was a rite of passage that all the newbies had to submit and have sex with the bullies in prison. Notwithstanding this, both characters were well drawn especially Keegan who showed a lot of concern about the effect on Jaxon’s career if anyone found out that he was living with a convicted murderer. The sex between the protagonists was very hot especially with a bid of mild BDSM thrown in and they mostly made love rather than just have sex.
Despite a few editorial errors I thought the book was well written and the author, Remmy Duchene, did a credible job. However one element of the story wasn’t wrapped up and that was the unanswered question about the case regarding what happened to the crooked Judge who tried the murder case originally. Also, I did not understand the importance of all of the financial information about Keegan’s wealth that came out at the end or maybe it was just to show that now that he was wealthy he could rub the faces of the townspeople in it. Last, Colter was a wonderful character and it’s too bad he was straight since I would have looked forward to his story.
I think you will like Redemption and I definitely recommend it.