Author ~ Jay Crownover
Publisher ~ HarperCollins
Published ~ 2nd November 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Leveled by a broken heart
Orlando Frederick has spent so long running from a real connection with another person that he can’t remember what love even feels like. The fear of being hurt by someone leaving is almost overwhelming and he can’t get past it.
Leveled by a broken body
Dominic Voss was a cop, first and foremost, until a life-threatening injury put his career on the back-burner. Unable to face the prospect that he might never go back to his old normal, he’s ready to try anything to feel alive again.
Leveled by love
As Lando and Dom try to find a way to be together, they must find a way to be themselves first
“We all need a hero...let the Saints of Denver begin…”
Leveled is essentially the start of Jay Crownover’s new series entitled Saints of Denver. I am a hardcore fan of this author’s Marked Men series and was so excited to discover that we’d be getting whole new series loosely tied to it. All the Marked boys wove their way into my heart and I love their “merry band of misfits” wholeheartedly so I am ecstatic to get more from Ms. Crownover. This novella is the first M/M venture by this author and while it can certainly be read as a stand-alone romance I think that this book was written for fans of the Marked Men series, those that are looking forward to the new series. Ms. Crownover has written this novella as a bridge between the old and new, the Marked Men series and the Saints of Denver series.
“Lando and Dom are the perfect mix of old and new, the perfect combo of then and now.”
The timeframe of this novella and the remainder of the books in the Saints of Denver series will take place in the space of time between the end of Asa and the Epilogue found in the same book (the last book in the Marked Men series). If you have yet to experience a Jay Crownover book, this would be a great introduction to her writing world.
Flattened and collapsed.
Breathless and stunned.”
Orlando Frederick (aka. Lando) is someone who readers of the Marked Men know about. We know that he was the “secret” boyfriend of Remy Archer (Rule’s brother) and that most of Remy’s family and friends had no idea that he existed or that Remy was even gay until it was too late. Time has moved forward since Remy was in Lando’s life and he’s taken on a successful career as a physical therapist where he has made it his mission to help everyone from those suffering from sports injuries to wounded war veterans and other survivors. Despite his success and fulfilling career, the loss of Remy has marked Lando irrevocably. So, when a gruff sexy police officer becomes his client, Lando has no idea what to do about the instantaneous attraction and connection the he feels. He’s not sure if he could ever venture down the path of love and lust with yet another stubborn man. After all, he hasn’t even recovered from the first time.
Dominic Voss is police officer with the Denver Police Department and he’s also the best friend of Royal Hastings (the heroine from Asa, the last book in the Marked Men series). Dom is all about his job so when he is severely injured in the line of duty all he can focus on is getting his body back to peak physical condition so he can get back to work. Royal pulls some strings and manages to get Dom in to see Lando, who has a wait list a mile long. For the first time since his injury, Dom is optimistic that he’ll actually be able to mend his body with Lando’s help and no-holds-barred approach. What Dom does not expect is to want more with the gorgeous physical therapist. Will both men take the plunge and cross professional boundaries?
This author definitely delivered when it came to the execution of this book. The storyline is both sad and sweet, dealing with coming to grips with the past and beautifully intertwining it with a tender romance. It’s about letting go and embracing life because if you are able to grab hold of that second chance, you may just find a once in a lifetime kind of love....a love that may have always been there to begin with. Neither Lando nor Dom were expecting their reaction to one another which was so absolutely visceral and primitive. It was, however, something that could not be ignored. Lando set out to be an integral part in healing Dom so that he could get back to his work as a police officer but it turned out the Dom played an integral role in his healing as well. Both had wounds that needed attention. The overall story arc turned out to be nothing like I expected and true to her wonderful and unique writing style, this author throws in a few angsty and emotional moments effortlessly threading together a beautiful story about taking a chance once again and finally being able to fully open your heart and love unconditionally.
All and all, I think that Jay Crownover accomplished what she set out to do with Leveled. This was a wonderful start to the Saints of Denver series and it was also a novella that served as closure when it came to Remy’s story which was a loose thread from the Marked Men series. I loved getting more time with the Marked boys in this novella and I can’t wait for Sayer and Zeb’s story in Built, which will be the first full-length novel in the series.