Safe Haven (Lily G’s Review)



Title: Safe Haven
Author: Caitlin Ricci
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Release Date: November 8, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 151
Reviewed by: Lily G Blunt
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.75/3 stars out of 5
Blurb:

Being alone was what Blake had always needed before his new team of bodyguards arrived. Now things might be very different.

At seven years old, Blake’s life was destroyed when he and his parents were abducted and he watched them being murdered. Now, twenty years later, he refuses to leave the house and he lives in a constant state of fear. He has a bodyguard around the clock, a housekeeper who has never seen his face and an uncle who checks on him often but isn’t all that close to him. Blake likes his isolation where only his cat really knows him.

His bodyguard of eight years is ready to retire, leaving his life in turmoil again. Blake isn’t good with people in general, and new people are the worst. But he needs someone in his house all the time to make him feel safe. His uncle hires a team of bodyguards to replace his old one—Malcolm, CJ and Rex. They come highly recommended, and they’re good at what they do.

They’re also together and it’s a relationship that Blake is instantly fascinated by. He’s never been interested in another person before, and he hasn’t had a real friend since his parents died, because he has refused to leave the house. But with the three of them trying to be there for him, he begins to want a life he has been convinced up to now would be completely impossible.

I was excited to read this polyamorous story and felt it had so much potential. Unfortunately as I read I felt let down. The writing and the plot frustrated me for much of the time. There were some aspects I liked, but was left wanting so much more than this story delivered.

As I read, I noted a long list of issues I had with the plot and characters, which I have no intention of re-hashing here. Much of them centred around implausibility, contradictions, and the repetition of thoughts and actions. The frequent mention of Blake rushing up the stairs and back to his rooms and the taking of his sedatives and their effect on him became the most tedious. Oh, and that damn cat was always in the way.

I can not work out why Blake even needed one bodyguard let alone three of them. It had been twenty years since the kidnapping incident. But apparently the uncle “was too afraid of losing me … or someone coming back to finish what the others had started.” I kept expecting there to be an exciting use of these three hunky protective guys, but no! All we get is a random burglar trying the backdoor or something.

Yes, I was sympathetic to Blake’s past when we discover what happened to him. What he went through was horrific. Even so, it’s been twenty years…

“Everything that was wrong with me was in my head..”

With all of Blake’s mental/medical issues surely his uncle would have provided a nurse to watch over him rather than three expensive bodyguards?

“We were hired to protect you from outside forces and situations…”  Unfortunately we never discover what they could possibly be, outside of Blake’s inner fears.

Why Blake didn’t have protocols in place before they were employed so he could use the kitchen, pool etc and not come into contact with anyone was beyond me. And Rex (one of the bodyguards) was very unprofessional in his dealings with Blake. No wonder the other two were annoyed with him. But apparently it helped Blake.

Anyhow, the arrival of these three very different guys, who are already in a relationship together, have a positive effect on Blake and for some reason they want to include him in their unit.  They’re happy to wait until he can cope and are prepared to move at his pace—which is as fast as a snail.

“The problem was that yes, it was hard for me to believe that one person would care about me after such a short time of knowing me, let alone three people.”

All of a sudden Blake is cooking for these three unfamiliar men and his housekeeper of fifteen years and spending time with people rather than being on his own.

It took me until about half-way through before my frustrations subsided and I began to enjoy the story. I particularly liked the gradual development of Blake’s relationship with each of the guys—the touches, the occasional kisses, the pushing of his limits, spending time together in the living room, the first time he goes outside. And I liked how each character was portrayed differently and how they helped Blake in their own way.

“I knew that Rex and Malcolm were watching us intently from across the room as I lay down and rested my head on top of CJ’s thigh. I was scared—and nervous…”

“He ran his fingers through my hair, and I closed my eyes…”

I would have enjoyed more intimacy between the guys as their relationship grew and would have prefered the story to focus on the time between the actual end of the story and the epilogue instead of the rather repetitive first half of the story.

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Safe Haven provided by Pride Publishing in exchange of an honest review.

Author

Lily G. Blunt writes contemporary gay romance. She loves to explore the relationship between two men and the intensity of their physical and emotional attraction. Angst often features in her stories as she feels this demonstrates the depth of the men’s feelings for each other. Lily is forever writing imaginary scenes and plots in her head, but only a few ever make it to the page. There never seems to be enough hours in the day despite having left the teaching profession to concentrate on her writing!

Lily discovered the wonderful world of m/m romance novels five years ago via fan fiction and went on to write stories in her spare time. With the encouragement of her friends and readers she decided to publish some of her work. Lily subsequently self-published several stories via Amazon and later published short stories with Torquere Press, Wayward Ink Publishing, and Pride Publishing.

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