Loverboy by Lauren Gilley
Series: Dartmoor #5
Also in this series: Fearless, Price of Angels, The Skeleton King
Published by Self-published on August 31, 2016
Genres: Biker / MC
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The Lean Dogs MC has long been a haven for the outlaws, the rebels, the ill-adjusted, and the outright monsters of Knoxville, Tennessee. They are a dark, dangerous brand of misfit, etched with ink, splattered with blood, and vilified by the town they call home. The only laws they follow are the ones set down in the club charter by their leather-clad forefathers.
But some outlaws have secrets they can’t even share with their club brothers. The Lean Dogs call him “Tango,” but once upon a time Kevin Estes went by “Loverboy.” It’s a past his club could never understand, one that’s going to kill him.
Loverboy is the fifth full-length installment in the Dartmoor Series and is NOT a standalone. It handles sensitive, potentially-triggering subjects, and is intended for MATURE audiences only.
Copyright © 2016 by Lauren Gilley
A difficult story, beautifully told.
There was nothing instant about this story of survival. Kev is living a good life when a harrowing attack rehashes memories from his past, turning his world upside down. His path to healing requires him to face those demons and bury them. A challenge in itself, but complicated by being a member of the Lean Dog’s MC where his demons are not in keeping with their lifestyle.
The heart-wrenching history was more complicated than it first appeared but it is presented in past and present tense allowing the story to unfold naturally. Kev’s story is linked to the parallel plot lines within the story through the personal connections shared between Kev, Whitney and Ian. All the themes have a common thread but remain unique in the circumstances of each situation.
A touch of levity wrapped in sincerity is added when Mercy, the darkest Lean Dog of all, reaches out to help Kev return to a healthy head-space. Mercy having had to battle his own demons has an empathy and understanding of what Kev aka Loverboy aka Tango is about to face. With some of the issues he has to work through being situations that can’t be told to someone outside their club, talking to another club member is the only solution Mercy can see possible. A brave man, because he is about to delve into a mess of memories and screwed up shit that really should be handled by a professional counselor at the very least! Mercy lived up to my admiration for him and then took it to a new height with his compassion and generosity. A man who lives, loves and fights with equal passion, Mercy’s willingness to step up to help Kev was as natural as could be. It was as if it was any other situation he approached, methodical and with a conviction to see it through until the end.
The reference to Loverboy evokes a level of anger and sadness that haunted me as I struggled to begin writing this review. I would have been more comfortable referring to this book as Tango rather than Loverboy, because it was the side of the man I felt most at ease reading about. A lot of the writing deflects to Tango’s past where he is known as Loverboy, and this was hard to read. It was an important aspect to the story overall, explaining why there was an undeniable force that drove the relationship between him and Ian. Slowly, their attraction to each other began to make sense while at the same time highlighting how toxic their reasons for needing each other were.
What kept me invested in reading what in essence was a dark story, was the resilience beautifully depicted from almost every angle of this story. There was a gentleness to the storytelling which was in contrast to the dark memories. Of course, there are some characters in this story where no amount of explanation would excuse or justify their actions. Love, in whatever form it took, was raw, respectful and radiated above the dark underpinning the basis of why Tango became entangled in his dark head-space. My reasons for rating this book 4 and not 5 stars are a mystery to me, I finished the book and thought wow, this was a great 4 star read. All I can think of it was the gentleness of the story that took it to 4 rather than 5. Be assured though, this is a brilliant 4 star story!
What I struggled with:
- Miss Carla, a woman who was evil personified!
- Taking out insecurity on innocence
What I loved:
- Family time, especially reconnecting
- Ava’s intuition and her thoughtful action that began Kev’s healing
- The healing aspect of art
- Dance providing an escape
- Acceptance, trust and faith the MC had for each other
- Understanding revenge’s empty promise
Rating: 4 Stars
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