A savior lies in the heart of every good man, but sometimes only love can awaken the man inside the savior. The world’s had it out for San Francisco firefighter Mace Crawford from the moment he was born. Rescued from a horrific home life and dragged through an uncaring foster system, he’s dedicated his life to saving people, including the men he calls his brothers. As second-in-command of their knitted-together clan, Mace guides his younger siblings, helps out at 415 Ink, the family tattoo shop, and most of all, makes sure the brothers don’t discover his darkest secrets.
It’s a lonely life with one big problem—he’s sworn off love, and Rob Claussen, one of 415 Ink’s tattoo artists, has gotten under his skin in the worst way possible.
Mace’s world is too tight, too controlled to let Rob into his life, much less his heart, but the brash Filipino inker is there every time Mace turns around. He can’t let Rob in without shaking the foundations of the life he’s built, but when an evil from his past resurfaces, Mace is forced to choose between protecting his lies and saving the man he’s too scared to love.
Savior is the second book in Rhys Ford's 415 Ink series. This series is about 5 brothers (in the "found family" sense), all of whom are a bit broken in their own way, who finally find love and happiness. I do think you'd be ok reading this as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend book 1 - Rebel - because it was really fantastic, too!
Where Rebel was all about second chances, Savior is about healing and figuring out you're even worthy of one chance. To say that Mace's childhood was awful would be severe understatement. He was horribly abused by his father, until he was sent into the system, and while the system was undoubtedly better, Mace was pretty screwed up and foster care can be unpredictable, to say the least. But, it was there he met Bear, and Bear saw Mace's worth and became Mace's big brother.
Still, though, Mace was pretty screwed up. He used sex with strangers as comfort, not even wanting a connection. He never even thought himself capable of a relationship. Until Rob, who is off-limits because he works for 415 Ink.
Rob had it a whole lot better than Mace, when he was growing up. Like most of us, his parents just weren't that involved. Or maybe that isn't like "most", honestly I don't know, but I could certainly relate. His father did have issues, early on, with the gay, but they're more-or-less on ok footing now. Rob isn't like his straight-laced father, though. He's far more colorful, like his mom. Rob loves what he does and he's damn good at it. He never expected to be attracted to one of the owners of the shop - especially one that seems to hate the sight of him!
Mace and Rob had loads of chemistry once they got together. In fact, one of my only issues with the story is that they were barely together at all for the first third of the book. Still, I loved them together and was very happy we didn't have any manufactured melodrama and miscommunication. Instead, we got two adults who, while they might not have been terribly experienced at relationships, decided to go about it in a surprisingly mature and reasonable way. Rob wanted to talk to Mace and get to know all of him. His childhood demons - that have made their way into the present - and the man he has become.
The story's conflict came solely from Mace's father, who had been in prison for much of Mace's life. That conflict there wasn't huge, though, and it seemed to resolve itself without much fanfare. I'm torn, though, between wanting just a bit more angst and being glad that plotline didn't end in tragedy.
All in all, I'd give Savior a solid 4 stars. It's definitely a worthy addition to this series. Now we get to look forward to Ivo's story, next. He intrigues the fuck outta me, so I'm really looking forward to his story.
ARC of Savior was generously provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
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