Ava March, Carina Press

Rogues (Brook Street #3) by Ava March

“The difference between friendship and love is how much you can hurt each other.” – Ashleigh Brilliant

Linus Radcliffe and Robert Anderson have been friends for eighteen years, have even, on occasion, been friends with benefits in spite of the fact that Rob is an aggressively straight man, as committed to finding his next widow or unhappily married woman to bed as Linus is devoted to homing in on the next willing man he can use to slake his lust.

Robert was Linus’ first—his first man, his first kiss, the first to touch Linus’ in all his most intimate places, but over the course of their friendship, Linus has willed himself to let go of any hope he’d once held that he and Robert would ever be anything more than just friends. Linus hasn’t given up on having Rob in his life but has come to accept that, in spite of the pain of surrendering a dream, there are simply some things that are not meant to be, and a future as Rob’s lover and partner is one of those things.

It seems, however, that regardless of Linus’ hard fought intentions to keep the status quo of their relationship intact, Robert has inexplicably become determined to redefine the parameters of whatever it is that’s been going on between the two of them over the course of nearly two decades. Robert’s serial philandering suddenly isn’t so appealing to him anymore, and being forced to watch Linus make his way through the men of the ton hurts in more ways than Robert can express verbally, so there’s little left for him to do but to let his actions speak for him, determining that it’s time to go on the offensive and storm the walls Linus has built to define their friendship and to protect his heart. Robert launches a full-frontal assault in declaring himself and his wants. What he doesn’t expect, however, is for Linus to go on the defensive and thwart the attack so effectively.

Linus understands that Robert tends to want what he can’t have, which makes Robert’s pushing of the boundaries that’ve been safe and comfortable, if not altogether pleasant, all the more painful, for Linus feels he has no choice but to repel his friend’s advances. The harder Robert pushes, the further Linus retreats with the fear that even the slightest change in the circumstances between them will cause an outcome that Linus absolutely could not bear. Not having a forever with Robert is difficult enough. Not having an anything with Robert is intolerable.

So, when there’s nothing left to do but to do something that feels a lot like surrender, it’s Robert who concedes. For Robert, the only course of action is his own inaction. In order to keep Linus in his life, in whatever capacity Linus is capable giving, Robert must let go and send up a silent prayer that whatever lies within Linus’ heart and whatever will come of it, that he, Robert, is worthy and will be enough.

It’s truly something when you can say a book isn’t your favorite in a series, yet are still able to say that you loved it, all the same. Brook Street: Rogues is that book for me. While there weren’t the challenges of the social inequities of Lord Benjamin and Cavin’s relationship, the sexuality conflicts of Sasha and Thomas’, or the betrayal of Oscar by Julian that delayed their happiness, there was a definite poignancy in this friends-to-lovers story: the fears of destroying a trusted bond, the acceptance that friendship is enough, and the sure knowledge that discretion is a fair price to pay for a forever love.

Buy Brook Street: Rogues HERE.


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