Broken

Jessica Freely
Broken
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Publisher
Loose Id
Release Date
September 2011
ISBN
9781611185546
Genre
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ, Multi-cultural/Multi-racial Romance

SUMMARY
Eben does what his brother, mob boss Nicky Flannery, tells him, even when he's not so sure it's right. Letting Nicky do his thinking for him is a lifelong habit. So is hiding the fact that he's gay. Then Nicky buys a Hong Kong rent-boy to expand the mob's escort business and Eben's life gets a lot more complicated.

Forced into prostitution, Song Xiu is an unsentimental survivor. He takes his pleasures where he can and leaves his clients weak in the knees. Xiu knows he's hot for Eben's powerful body, but it's more than that. Eben's kind face and gentle touch give Xiu a strange feeling that no amount of sex or drugs can banish. Is this what people call love?

Eben is instantly attracted to Xiu's erotic beauty, but it's the sweet young man beneath the glossy surface that he falls for. When he learns Xiu's story, he begins to wonder if Nicky is really the hero he grew up worshipping, or something else entirely.

An unguarded moment leads to a passionate encounter that rips away all of Xiu and Eben's illusions. Suddenly the answers to their questions become alarmingly clear. They have one last chance to rescue each other from their broken lives, but only if they can survive Nicky's retribution.

Book Review by Valentina Heart (author,reviewer)
Nov 14, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
78 people found the following review helpful
Ever read a book that screamed amazing, but you just didn't feel it? Wonderful characters, great plot line, sweet, adorable and even stupidly brave, but still, something just wasn't clicking. Well, it happened to me here, and I can't stop flipping the rating in my head.

Eben is the muscle for his brother Nicky, the mob boss. He does as he is told without questions, all the while hiding behind his false stupidity so that he doesn't have to think too hard about his actions. He holds onto the promise he made to his mother before she died – he would do anything to protect Nicky and listen to what he was told.

Things are working out on the surface. Ebon goes through life with amazing naivety, taking the verbal abuse from his brother and doing everything he can to make his conscience shut up and to hide the fact he's gay. But then in comes Xiu or Shoe, as Eben calls him, his brother's new rent-boy, and suddenly questions just won't stop and secrets keep wiggling their way out.

I thought the romance was very believable, the slow growth from liking someone to right out loving him. The small gestures and honest words made it work even in the trap of a life both Xiu and Eben had. The bad guys didn't hold their punches and although this wasn't really a story with detailed descriptions of all criminal activity, it was a story with just enough information to keep the reader intrigued.

The final resolution, or should I say the final road to happiness was written nicely, without loose ends and unbelievable scenarios. I was actually wondering how the author would do it and wasn't disappointed.

Still, throughout the story, something was missing. Eben's slowness or rather his naïve outlook into the world didn't sit well with me. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, which it never did. Everyone who's ever read my reviews knows I like sex in books, and don't mind a lot of it. In this one, although hot, it kept popping up in awful moments. Don't get me wrong, there wasn't a lot of sex, at all, but if felt more like it was placed there just to make things explicit when in all truth wasn't even necessary. Can't believe I'm going to say this, but it would have completely worked without the sex between the two main characters. They were sweet enough, even damaged enough that the story could have easily stood on simple affection. Oh, and I should mention that the first sex scene in the book is a ménage not including both characters.

I didn't catch any big flaws nor do I have an explanation why this book didn't click for me. I guess sometimes it just happens, and a wonderful book doesn't light a flame it should have. Nonetheless, this is a popular subject and a nicely written book that shouldn't be missed. I'm sure it will find its place on many shelves and become a favorite pastime for Yaoi fans. So I'm going with four stars, but I'm thinking three.

Disclaimer: The reviewer is also a published author with Loose Id.
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