Title: Rebel (415 Ink #1)
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 29, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary / Romance
Page Count: 220 Pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
The hardest thing a rebel can do isn’t standing up for something — it’s standing up for himself.
Life takes delight in stabbing Gus Scott in the back when he least expects it. After years of running from his past, present and the dismal future every social worker predicted for him, Karma delivers the one thing Gus could never—would never—turn his back on; a son from a one-night stand he’d had after a devastating break-up three years ago.
Returning to San Francisco and to 415 Ink, his family’s tattoo shop, gave him the perfect shelter to battle his personal demons and get himself together… until the firefighter who’d broken him walked back into Gus’s life.
For Rey Montenegro, tattoo artist Gus Scott was an elusive brass ring, a glittering prize he hadn’t the strength or flexibility to hold onto. Severing his relationship with the mercurial tattoo artist hurt but Gus hadn’t wanted the kind of domestic life Rey craved, leaving Rey with an aching chasm in his soul.
When Gus’s life and world starts to unravel, Rey helps him pick up the pieces, and Gus wonders if that forever Rey wants is more than just a dream.
Get ready to have your heart broken and pieced back together.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t what you wanted me to be, but you know what? You weren’t what I needed either, even if you were all I wanted.”
Three years ago Gus was shattered after a devastating break-up with Rey. It was just one more time that he was disappointed by someone who should have been there for him. Six months ago Gus got on his bike and got out of town, but now he’s coming home after finding out he’s a father.
Rey has never been able to get Gus off his mind or out of his heart. The way they left things has been a sore point, and one Rey wants to fix.
“I was stupid, and I want to fix it… fix us. We can’t keep running away from each other, Gus, not when we keep coming right back to where we’d left off.”
There’s quite a bit of angst here. None of the characters have had an easy time of things, and Gus’s patchwork family has had their share of life kicking them in the teeth. But Gus knows what’s important here – his son, Chris. Nothing else, including Rey, gets billing over that. But Rey doesn’t want top billing, he just wants to be a part of Gus’s life. And this time he’s willing to talk and listen.
“Not talking’s what got us into trouble the first time. All cards on the table this time.”
This story focuses on Second Chances, found family, love, loss, and all the things that make us human. Told from both Gus’s and Rey’s third-person POV, there’s some romance here, and although it’s not the main focus, it does have some heart-melting moments.
Listen to me carefully. I’m not going to spend my life anyplace other than with you, and I love you. With all of my heart. All of my soul and most of my sanity… I love you.”
I like the characters here, from father/brother Bear, to always organizing everyone Mace, to stiletto wearing goes his own way Ivo, to quiet and thoughtful Luke – the brothers of this family are wonderful, and I cannot wait to get their stories.
While I loved the characters, I felt like the flow was broken up quite a few times by the action being off page and then relayed almost anecdotally afterwards, or not at all. There were a lot of scenes I wanted to be immersed in (Rey’s father and the fire, Rey’s mother, Bulcher and the Bavarians, the accident)- I wanted to see and hear what was happening, not find out about it like an afterthought later.
Overall I enjoyed the story, including the HFN ending, and the little tease we get for what’s coming. I’ll definitely be back to check out what’s next.