Monday, April 18, 2016

Review: Absolution (The Protectors #1) by Sloane Kennedy

absolutionTitle ~ Absolution (The Protectors #1)

Author ~ Sloane Kennedy

Published ~ 1 April 2016

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M/M Romance





But what I felt most was the perfection of what these two men were giving me. And I knew in that moment that I would do anything to keep it. Anything. --Cole
After four years abroad, artist Jonas Davenport has come home to start building his dream of owning his own art studio and gallery. But just as he's ready to put the darkness of his past behind him forever, it comes roaring back with a vengeance.
The only thing keeping ex-cop Mace Calhoun from eating his own gun after an unthinkable loss is his role in an underground syndicate that seeks to get justice for the innocent by taking the lives of the guilty. Ending the life of the young artist who committed unspeakable crimes against the most vulnerable of victims should have been the easiest thing in the world. So why can't he bring himself to pull the trigger?
After years of fighting in an endless, soul-sucking war, Navy SEAL Cole Bridgerton has come home to fight another battle - dealing with the discovery that the younger sister who ran away from home eight years earlier is lost to him forever. He needs answers and the only person who can give them to him is a young man struggling to put his life back together. But he never expected to feel something more for the haunted artist.
Cole and Mace. One lives by the rules, the other makes his own. One seeks justice through the law while the other seeks it with his gun. Two men, one light, one dark, will find themselves and each other when they're forced to stand side by side to protect Jonas from an unseen evil that will stop at nothing to silence the young artist forever.
But each man's scars run deep and even the strength of three may not be enough to save them...
Note: This book contains M/M/M sexual content and is intended for mature audiences.
Trigger Warning: This book contains references to childhood sexual abuse.
***This is Book 1 in the series, but can be read as a stand-alone story - no cliffhangers.***

Debra’s Review

This is a fast moving story, with drama, action, plot twists, lots of sexual tension, some insta-love and three very different but loveable main characters. Jonas, Mace and Cole are all seeking some form of absolution for something haunting them and that’s what results in their paths eventually crossing. Each character’s point of view is presented in alternating chapters which helped give them all a distinct voice and personality.

Jonas – How could anyone not want to protect this man? Kicked out of his home at 14 and forced to do what he needed to survive on the streets, he has suffered unspeakable horrors and is still plagued by some survivor’s guilt over the murder of his friend so many years ago. He has finally gotten his life together and is ready to build his dream art studio and gallery. Sweet, vulnerable and unaware that someone is out to kill him.

Mace – He is such an interesting character. Obviously he has suffered some trauma and is hanging onto enormous pain and guilt that drives him to do what he does as an ex-cop now working as an assassin for an underground group that takes out people who prey on the vulnerable. Sent to kill Jonas, who is believed to be a pedophile, he hasn’t been able to bring himself to pull the trigger for weeks. He is having a hard time believing that the Jonas he sees could have done what he’s accused of and so he goes undercover to work as a handyman renovating the studio space to convince himself that he’s doing the right thing, yet winds up complicating matters even more.

Cole – A man anyone would want to have their back. An ex-Navy SEAL, seeking information from Jonas about the sister he lost. His family was torn apart when she ran away and Cole is now dealing with the grief of finding out about her death, as well as his alcoholic father. He wants some answers from Jonas and gets more than he bargained for. Presumably straight, he can’t explain the attraction he feels towards Jonas but when Mace enters the picture, the dangerous man entices him just as much.

Mace seems to develop almost an obsessive need for Jonas once he starts spending time around him, which obviously complicates his mission. When Cole shows up at Jonas’ door and the two start spending time together, Mace’s jealousy starts to get the best of him. All the while, Mace is putting off pulling the trigger, hoping to find that Jonas is innocent, but in doing that he places Jonas in more danger as it becomes likely his boss will hire someone else to take care of the job. When the whole thing starts to fall apart is becomes very clear that both Mace and Cole will put their lives on the line to protect Jonas. I don’t want to get into any more since I thought the plot was very well done and wouldn’t want to ruin the story.

So it’s no secret that I love m/m/m and this story has something I’ve been searching out and don’t find enough of and that’s a situation where none of the men are in a relationship with each other before they get together as a threesome. They are complete strangers thrown into each other’s paths by the situation and their needs and wants are met without a previous power dynamic driving things. With the intensity of what was happening, I was able to buy the insta-love aspect of the story, something which is always a hit or miss situation for me. The sexual tension and chemistry between the three men, both in and out of bed, was amazing! Whether it was just two of them interacting or all three together, Sloane Kennedy did a great job of making them all equal in the relationship. I loved the bond they had and the way they each tried to protect the others.

The story contains plenty of action, a compelling plot and sex scenes that are both scorching hot but still tender and loving. I really liked the way the author wove the men’s pasts together and the complexity of the plot. While all their past suffering could have dragged the story down into an angst-fest, I thought it was just dramatic enough to pull me in and keep me rooting for the men to find out what was going on and defeat it together.

This was my first read from Sloane Kennedy and I’ll be looking forward to getting my hands on the next book in the series when it comes out.


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