Title: Blue Steel Chain
Author: Alex Beecroft
Series: Trowchester Blues #3
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Published: 27th July 2015
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
At sixteen, Aidan Swift was swept off his feet by a rich older man who promised to take care of him for the rest of his life. But eight years later, his sugar daddy has turned from a prince into a beast. Trapped and terrified, Aidan snatches an hour’s respite at the Trowchester Museum.
Local archaeologist James Huntley is in a failing long distance relationship with a rock star, and Aidan—nervous, bruised, and clearly in need of a champion—brings out all his white knight tendencies. When everything falls apart for Aidan, James saves him from certain death . . . and discovers a skeleton of another boy who wasn’t so lucky.
As Aidan recovers, James falls desperately in love. But though Aidan acts like an adoring boyfriend, he doesn’t seem to feel any sexual attraction at all. Meanwhile there are two angry exes on the horizon, one coming after them with the press and the other with a butcher’s knife. To be together, Aidan and James must conquer death, sex, and everyone’s preconceptions about the right way to love—even their own.
Oh my, this book packs a punch! It had me wanting to look away at times, but just couldn’t. It had me wincing, then sighing relief, then anxiety, then anger, then despair, a book that really took me out of my comfort zone.
Aidan is a houseboy to Piers. He is never let out the house unless he gets inot trouble. Piers is a dominant, rich arrogant asshole, who abuses the power he has over Aidan. Poor Aidan, poor dear Aidan. My heart went out to him immediately. the relationship they have is not healthy and Aidan suffers immensely from having no self-confidence or feeling of worth due to the way he is treated by Piers. Piers is an evil ,malevolent man with deep rooted and disturbing issues. At first I thought the had a sub - dom relationship going on with Piers being Aidan’s keeper so to speak. Piers picked Aidan up off the street, took him in, gave him everything materialistically and expects subservience in return. Well, as things develop you start to realise that the relationship Piers has with Aidan starts to go far beyond what is healthy for normal and there is something very nefarious in the way that Aidan is treated by Piers. Piers has a dark secret that eventually comes to light but not until Aidan is almost near death on several occasions and battered to a pulp.
Aidan has to wear a steel chain around his neck with a padlock to show that he belongs to Piers. However, he meets James, a curator for the Trowchester museum and then he starts to realise there is a life beyond the limits of his life with Piers. But this is a dangerous thing as being found out will always have repercussions for Aidan with Piers. James is attracted to Aidan and the chemistry is there. A kind of intense love and affection from afar but never getting to the physical. It is sweet, loving and tender. Something very different to his life with Piers.
James however is also in a relationship crisis. His boyfriend is now a famous rock musician and while on tour is always high on drugs, conceited and lands up in bed with the band’s groupies every night. James can no longer put up with this situation and confronts him on tour by turning up to one of his concerts unexpectedly. I felt for James, it’s a hard thing to dump a long standing relationship, especially when you have seen your partner’s success grow. James has to wake up and realise his partner is not the same person anymore and is in his way also being played, used and abused on another level. I just got so angry why he caved on a number of occasions just to read his partner the riot act and send him packing. But it really takes the love he has found in Aidan to give him that final push and wake-up call that he needs.
One evening he gets a frantic phone call from Aidan and has to get him out of the house. He calls Finn and Michael for help. These two characters we met in the first book and once again they had a definite role to play in Aidan’s and James’s life to point things out to them that maybe you wouldn’t see unless you are looking at things from the outside. Michael once again is the hero of the moment and his skills as an ex-cop leads them to discovering a much more serious, dangerous and evil intents of Piers. After surviving such an experience Aidan first has to find himself before he can commit to James which I thought was exactly the right thing to do. The poor lad needed to stand on his own two feet first, find his confidence as a person before jumping into the next relationship. What he discovers during this period is quite revolutionary and will take a lot of understanding from James. Aiden is asexual. At times I was wondering whether James would be able to cope with this because I don’t know how I would have managed such a revelation for sure. Possibly not quite so understanding to be honest or at least wouldn’t be able to cope as James does. But the love is strong between them and that is all that is needed for James to realise that he can cope with Aidan. This is where Alex shows us that love comes in all forms, physical and non-physical. But it is a truly beautiful thing the have with each other and my heart just soared at the joy of seeing these two together after all their trials and tribulations.
This book is definitely not for the squeamish or faint of heart. It is no fluffly romance and deals with a subject that will get most of wincing, feeling angry, understanding Aidan’s situation. It deals with abuse. It packs a hard punch and took me right out of my comfort zone. However, out of this desperate situation blooms a romance that is all the sweeter because of it. Just like a lotus flower rises out of the darkest and muddiest swamp to shine everyone with its pureness and beauty. Aidan was my lotus flower. A fantastic third book to the Trowchester Blues series.
Trowchester Blues Reading Order
Meet Alex Beecroft
Alex Beecroft is an English author best known for historical fiction, notably Age of Sail, featuring gay characters and romantic storylines. Her novels and shorter works include paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary fiction.
Beecroft won Linden Bay Romance’s (now Samhain Publishing) Starlight Writing Competition in 2007 with her first novel, Captain’s Surrender, making it her first published book. On the subject of writing gay romance, Beecroft has appeared in the Charleston City Paper, LA Weekly, the New Haven Advocate, the Baltimore City Paper, and The Other Paper. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association of the UK and an occasional reviewer for the blog Speak Its Name, which highlights historical gay fiction.
Alex was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She lives with her husband and two children in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.
Alex is only intermittently present in the real world. She has led a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800-year-old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.
She is represented by Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Literary Agency.