Title: Scars and Secrets (Loose Ends #1)
Author: Avril Ashton
Release Date: April 29th 2016
Page Count: 218
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 4.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
After an undercover assignment that changed his life forever, FBI agent Donovan Cintron is barely hanging on to sanity. His new mission is to forget, by any means necessary, so he tries his hardest. Pills. Booze. The warm bodies that never quite measure up to what he’d had. What he’d lost. It’s almost a relief when he learns his identity might be compromised—except he’s not the only one exposed. So is the husband he hasn’t stopped needing all these years later. He’d been aching to die, but for Levi Nieto, Donovan will live. To protect. To regret. To remember.
The realization that everything he loved was a farce sent Levi Nieto spinning out of control, and running away from the memories. Now Donovan is back in his life, still fully entrenched in darkness. Their physical connection is one thing, but the truth of who they are to each other remains trapped among the anger, violence and lies suffocating them. Fixing what’s broken will take more than each man exposing his scars. Secrets—and blood—must be spilled.
Note: This book is supposed to be a standalone, but I strongly recommend against skipping its prequel, All These Hidden Scars. And, although I love the world Avril Ashton has created, I have to say that it can be overwhelming for a reader that hasn’t read her previous work, considering that there are so many characters from Sinners and Run this town series that make an appearance and have a key role to the story.
That said, I really enjoyed Donovan and Levi’s story, and up until 75% it was a solid 4 star read for me.
Long story short (since it’s impossible to rehash without giving away the plot), Don meets Levi, his husband, after seven years of being apart. What happened all these years back, left deep scars in both men’s hearts, and now it seems impossible to make things work again.
What I enjoyed the most, was the back and forth, the push and pull between them. It was exhausting but so real; both men still loved each other but were still hung up on past mistakes.
Tons of feels here! There was so much passion and emotion in the dialogue and their interactions, which didn’t surprise me. There is always fire between Avril Ashton’s characters.
As for the sex…well, I can safely say that the sex scenes were among the filthiest I have ever read, and the dirty talk made me feel…dirty. In a good way. I think? I’m not sure yet.
“I want you on my face.” Those eyes burned Levi. “I want your ass smothering me as I eat it. Come the fuck here.”
“He smiled then let loose, spitting inside Van’s mouth. Nothing else, but just that had Van’s dick erupting.”
“I don’t even care. I just want to come inside that hot ass and watch it drip, drip, drip…”
By the way, that last scene happens in an elevator. While somebody is watching.
But no matter how much I liked the majority of the book, the resolution happened too fast for me. I felt like Levi and Van worked out their issues too abruptly. And then all hell broke loose, which left me a little bit confused.
Also, I have to mention that there are a lot of editing issues in this one.
Overall, this is a classic Avril Ashton book. Although not my favorite by the author, I still enjoyed it a lot. Extra points for the brief cameo appearance of Syren Rua, one of my favorite characters. He makes every scene that he takes part in, shine.
The excerpts in the end of the book made me all giddy. I’m looking forward to the next stories.