Author: Lynn Kelling
Publisher: Fantastic Fiction Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 299 Pages
At a Glance: The climax of this story is one of the best sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat scenes that I’ve read in a long while.
Reviewed By: Lynn
Blurb: When Evan and Brennan moved in with their boyfriends, Alek and Luka, they knew things would be complicated, but as their privacy gets eroded, and people around them begin to notice the tangled nature of their relationships, coping becomes a struggle. After Brennan leaves on a brief trip home, and Evan remains behind to enjoy the full attention of both Alek and Luka, the careful balance of things gets thrown off.
Ex-boyfriends surface, haunting Evan and Brennan in similar ways as regret for poor choices threatens their happiness, and the sexual freedom displayed earlier in their lives draws predators willing to use violence, coercion, mind-games and force to take what they want. Though Luka and Alek struggle to protect those they love, it soon becomes clear that the dangers surrounding them will find ways to rush in, trying to take what belongs to them.
Review: First off, this is a series that should be read in order. My Brother’s Lover and Dual Affairs are the first two books in the Twin Ties saga. Second, this books deals with some pretty heavy issues that may be triggers for some readers: rape, pedophilia and incest. Please take heed to the warnings.
Having read the first two books, I thought I knew where this story was headed. We’ve already met both sets of twins, and watched as all four men evolved into a relationship with one another. They went through some rough spots, figuring it out along the way, and by the end of the second book, Evan, Brennan, Alek, and Luka are moving in together. So, I’m thinking the third book is going to be an adjustment period, a “getting to know you better” phase. I mean, when you’re in a relationship that involves four people, there’s going to be some issues to tackle, right? Oh boy, was I wrong.
The author takes us on a journey into the past, and we see what really happened to Evan and Brennan before they knew the other existed. At certain times it’s not a pleasant read, but I felt it necessary information so readers fully understood the reasoning behind the characters’ actions and words. Also, I felt the characters needed to be true to themselves and to their lovers about their past; to relive it, understand it, deal with it, and start healing from it. The author does an amazing job here. She gives us cringe-worthy scenes, not for the shock value but for the healing value.
Evan, I loved him from the get go. Even though I thought him to be a little whiny and a bit over dramatic, there was a genuine sweetness about his character. I knew there was more to his story than what the author was giving us in the previous installments, and I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. We’re in Evan’s head for most of the story, with the beginning of his inner dialogue reading like a broken record of self-doubt. I wanted him to just shut up already, open up and talk it over with his lovers. It can’t be that bad, right? Well, when we get the full, heartbreaking, ugly truth about Evan’s past, I was beyond mortified. And, I finally got Evan. I understood him better. The part of his character that never quite felt right snapped into place. It all makes sense now.
Brennan is Evan’s twin brother. I thought him to be the stronger one. He exuded confidence and independence while all along he was hiding a secret too. Through Brennan’s POV, we see that going back to his hometown proved more difficult than expected because of his own abusive past. Returning home to his lovers, he really has no choice but to tell them everything.
While their situations were vastly different, the one thing that stood out was how each twin mistook abuse as acceptance, both brainwashed into thinking that any attention was better than no attention. One was alone, the other feared being alone. It’s no wonder their back stories had a similar theme. Finding true acceptance within their foursome caused them to finally begin unraveling the depth of mental, physical, and criminal warfare that had been waged upon them. I think the author does a great job delving into these difficult scenes. She was able to bridge the past and present seamlessly, bringing the abusers into the light so the brothers knew them for what they were. We see the real struggle Evan and Brennan went through during this process. The author never glossed over or pushed aside the problem, the characters weren’t miraculously cured by the next chapter. I appreciated that.
Now, I haven’t said much about the other set of twins, mainly because this wasn’t their story. They are both solid characters who are very dedicated to Evan and Brennan. Alek and Luka are there for support, helping as much as they can. It was really nice to see this other side of them, but I know they have their own story to tell. From what I know, Ms. Kelling is planning to explore their backstory in book four. I can’t wait.
The climax of this story is one of the best sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat scenes that I’ve read in a long while. It wasn’t resolved in a nice gift wrapped box. It was messy, violent, graphic and disturbing. I couldn’t imagine it ending any other way. Evan and Brennan’s stories weren’t pretty, so why should the resolution be?
All in all, this story stopped being about twincest, stopped being about anything taboo. It’s about the love these four men have for each other. It’s about healing and getting back that self-worth, to finally move on, to love and be loved back. It’s about never being alone. I can’t wait for the next book.
You can buy Double Heat here: