Title: Face Value (Sanctuary #3)
Author: R.J. Scott
Publisher: Love Lane Books
Cover Art: Reese Dante
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: Action/Adventure, contemporary gay romance
Length: 177 pdf pages, 36 k words
Rating: 4 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Feliz
Summary Review: Heavy on the mystery and flavored with a spicy romance, this novella was a worthy continuation to an intriguing series.
The Blurb: Beckett Jamieson is temporarily blinded by his uncle’s and father’s harsh beating. Rushed to safety by a secretive organization, the one person he trusted leaves him in care of Kayden Summers. Can he trust the doctor to keep him safe?
Beckett Jamieson discovers he’s adopted when a lawyer hands him a letter from his mother on his twenty-first birthday. His real name is Robert Bullen, but the Bullen family is involved in criminal activity of the worst kind. He decides to bring them down but ends up badly beaten and temporarily blinded. A Sanctuary agent takes him to a safe house to heal.
Doctor Kayden Summers, Sanctuary operative, isn’t happy about being stuck in the middle of nowhere with an unconscious man. When Beckett wakes, the situation goes from bad to worse. Beckett doesn’t trust him, is as determined as ever to find the evidence his mother hid, and on top of all that, Kayden finds himself attracted to the determined young man.
Can they overcome their issues and eliminate the threat from the Bullen brothers?
This book starts right where the previous one, The Only Easy Day (reviewed here), ended; in fact the first scene here is a retelling of the previous book’s last scene from a different, Beckett’s, point of view.
Beckett Jamieson’s live has recently been turned upside down. At twenty-one, he not only finds out that he was adopted and that his real name is Robert Bullen, he also learns that his father and uncle are criminals of the Mafia variety, and that his mother was apparently killed and protected him by secreting him away. Trying to get closer to the truth, Beckett gets caught by his father and uncle who then attempt to beat him to death.
Luckily, Sanctuary, in the person of Dale McIntyre and Joseph Kinnon, step in just in time to save Beckett’s life. But the Bullen brothers did quite a number on him by then, and now it’s up to Dr. Kayden Summers to care for badly beaten and temporarily blinded Beckett and to nurse him back to health in one of Sanctuary’s remote safe houses.
Kayden Summers had a very unusual childhood, to say the last, and his colorful background finds his expression in Kayden’s unusual mix of occupation as Sanctuary’s doctor and firearms specialist as well as fight instructor. At first, when he finds himself stuck with Beckett, Kayden tries to pass the unconscious man’s care to someone else, but to no avail. Things don’t look much rosier once Beckett wakes, as the young man turns out to be temperamental, wary of the strange man he deems much too young to be a doctor, and stubbornly determined to solve the mystery around his mother’s death no matter the cost.
Pretty soon, though, both men discover that the other’s company isn’t that bad at all. As the attraction between them grows, so does their mutual trust. And after a while Kayden experiences something he’s never felt before: the need to keep Beckett close and safe and all for himself, and the determination to protect Beckett against any threats, including Beckett’s own overeagerness.
In this book, the romance, especially the sex, takes a back seat to the mystery. Robert/ Beckett’s contribution to the background of the case brings it a big step closer to solution, enabling Sanctuary to put their hands on some rather damning evidence against the Bullens, and there are some pretty good action series including a surprise plot twist which I half expected yet still enjoyed a lot when it actually happened.
The relationship between Kayden and Beckett was secondary, but no less intense for that. Even though the physical action limited itself to a number of kisses and some making-out, the erotic tension between them sizzled with sparks once they realized the mutual attraction. Both characters were well-drawn and likable, Beckett forward, honest and brave to the point of daredevilry, Kayden cunning, skilled and capable despite his relative youth. He was also the one who remained a little more mysterious; although he reveals much of his background to Beckett, there’s still a lot more to him than meets the eye. In the end, their relationship had just about started, but I still had a feeling that Kayden and Beckett were well on their way to build a solid foundation for a lifetime together.
With regard to the mystery, this book was my favorite in the series so far, as Beckett’s finds mark a turning point in the case, and the entire Bullen business finally starts to make sense with Elizabeth’s (from the first book) death. This is the third installment in R. J. Scott’s Sanctuary series, and in my opinion, this book wouldn’t work as a standalone, too complex are the threads and layers to the overall mystery already, and the romance in and of itself isn’t strong enough here to carry the book on its own. But I can only warmly recommend this book as part of an increasingly enticing series.