Title: My Dragon, My Knight
Author: John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 31st Mar, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Page Count : 200
Reviewed by: PIU
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Danny Sims is in over his head, torn between his abusive lover, Joshua, and Jay Holtsclaw, the bartender up the street, who offers Danny the one thing he never gets at home: understanding.
When Joshua threatens to get rid of Danny’s terrier, Danny knows he has to act fast. Afraid of what Joshua will do to the dog, and afraid of what Joshua will do to him if he tries to leave, Danny does the only thing he can do.
But Danny isn’t a complete fool. He has enough sense to run into the arms of the man who actually cares for him—the man he’s beginning to trust.
Just as their lives together are starting to fall into place, Danny and Jay learn how vengeful Joshua can be.
And how dangerous.
‘My Dragon, My Knight’ is a lot darker and more serious than the other romances that I have read by this author. ‘Domestic Violence’ being the main issue here, I liked the flow of the story as the victim finally rids himself from the clutches of abuse and make a life of his own.
Danny Simms is a young man who has very little he calls his own. He has been in a relationship with his abusive boyfriend, Joshua for a year. Joshua provides a roof over his head and food in exchange of a high price of being Joshua’s ‘bitch’, who he can beat on and physically abuse in the disguise of ‘Love’. As a typical victim of abuse, Danny placates his heart by telling himself that he had done something wrong everytime the abuse happens. But he is dying inside one frightened/abused day at a time.
Jay Holtsclaw is the bartender/owner of ‘The Clubhouse’, a gay bar situated very close to Joshua’s condo. The first day Danny comes to his bar, Jay notices the young man with gorgeous but painful blue eyes, sitting dejectedly in his bar nursing a drink and a painfully swollen jaw. Jay strikes a friendship with Danny which develops into more on his side as his concerns for Danny’s safety also increases drastically. Finally after a violent altercation when Danny decides to live his psycho ex behind, Jay is the one he comes to for help, which he gladly gives and more.
Their friendship has already turned to something very deep and meaningful in the days they spent together talking over a drink in the bar but they do not acknowledge each other’s feelings until later. Danny finally finds a man who really loves and treasures him completely and Jay finds a second chance in true love after a heart-breaking tragedy that has rocked his world a year ago.
But their new-founded bliss is destroyed as Danny’s crazy ex makes it his life mission to do the couple harm in every way he could. Jay and Danny have a final but dangerous roadblock on their way to their HEA and they have to stick together and fight it to protect their love and most of all ‘survive’.
The story starts with a lot of despair as Danny is shown caught in the grips of a relationship that is choking the life out of him with no way of escape. His one part of the day where he feels free and alive, is when he spends it with Jay. I liked how the author describes Danny’s inner battles as he tries to justify Joshua’s actions as well as battle with his feelings for the man who was supposed to love him. Danny is literally at Joshua’s mercy and Joshua knows it and exploits it in a horrible manner. Danny is an abuse victim who had no way to escape while also bordering on accepting his fate for the long term. His plight was real and very believable. I sympathized with his situation, cringing every time he suffered a fresh blow and praying for him to break free.
There was a profound depth to both the characters. As Danny is caged in a life he hates and fears, Jay also has a tragic past which still haunts him. I really felt his pain as he tries to move on. I loved Danny and Jay’s time together from the beginning to the end. It was slow-burn but they both knew long before they become lovers, that they love each other. Danny didn’t want to jump into a relationship just after Joshua and Jay didn’t want to be Danny’s rebound which was very understandable and relatable.
The transition from friendship with deep feelings for each other to ultimately lovers happens seamlessly in a very believable and sweet way. I loved the couple’s walks in the mountains and sharing their lives and pasts as they forge a new and lasting bond together. The steamy scenes were intense and a passionate testament to the couple’s overwhelming and wholehearted love for each other.
The climax was dramatic and a little scary but it was perfect in showing Joshua’s crazy. From the blurb I kind of guessed that something like this would happen and it does really give a chilling conclusion to the story.
This is an abuse, healing/comfort romance with very real characters with real-life problems and hurts. The writing as always is impeccable as the author captures each and every emotion be it despair/helplessness or love/hope beautifully. There is one significant secondary character here who though having very less page-time impacts greatly on the story and whom I absolutely loved. The epilogue that wraps up the story gives a very hopeful and loving picture of Danny and Jay as they start their life together anew.
The plot here is very straight forward with no twists or turns. It’s like I knew what’s going to happen and how it’s going to end which reduced my interest a little. I wanted to give this book a higher rating but I felt that the plot could have been more exciting at the second half, so I am going with a rating of 3.75 stars.
Unlike Mr. Inman’s brand of snark and sass which he pours in his stories in buckets, this book has a more serious vibe with loss, suffering and healing as the reigning issues. It was like experiencing a different aspect of the author’s brilliant storytelling which I enjoyed very much.