Ocean By The Forest – Tairou
A story of two people and the bond between them. A story of untold feelings and expressed ones. A story of reaching out and pulling back, just like the ocean waves crashing on the shore.
A dreamy one shot with surreal art, packed full of feels.
Cabrini Law: Other Than Honorable – Parker St. John
Revenge is a risky business… but nothing is more dangerous than love.
No one would suspect the hell Matthew Ballard has lived through, least of all the green-eyed Marine sent to protect him. Matt is playing a long con against a dangerous foe. He can’t afford the distraction of a bodyguard with his own pile of issues… no matter how desperately he secretly craves the feel of his rough hands.
When J.D. Reese lost the Marine Corps, he lost the only home he ever knew. Discharged and adrift, he can’t afford to refuse a job protecting the spoiled heir of an embattled energy corporation. His young charge is cunning, arrogant, and infuriating… and Reese wants him more than his next breath.
Can two hard-as-nails men surrender to each other when the fight is all they’ve ever known?
It didn’t unseat Murder Aforethought as my favorite but Other Than Honorable is a decent follow up to the second book. It’s a story about being yourself and following your dreams. It’s also about letting yourself move on from the past and living the life you deserve.
J.D. Reese was introduced in book 2 as Val’s former captain and bestfriend. He provided backup when Val and Maks were in trouble with the mob.
Reese reminded people of Steve Rogers. He has a laidback personality and an easy grin. You’d think he’s all Southern charm and Texas drawl when in fact he’s fighting his own demons. Which he does by drinking himself to oblivion.
He supports himself by doing odd jobs as a bodyguard of sorts. He’s been living in a roach motel for months. His friends decided to stage an intervention and directs him to a bodyguard gig protecting a controversial billionaire.
Matthew Ballard could have been Bruce Wayne had he taken his considerable MMA fighting skills to the streets. Instead, he’s in the closet, stuck doing a job he hated and slowly putting his plan for revenge into action. All the while suffocating under his homophobic father’s thumb.
The two came from vastly different backgrounds but as we delve deeper into the story, we see that both men dealt with similar issues. They recognized the other’s innate goodness each of them don’t want the world to know. Reese because he’s wracked with guilt at the death of his military brothers under his command. Matt because he thinks being seen as good is a weakness.
As with all the characters in the series, Reese and Matt were complex, nuanced characters who felt real. Their romance was slow-burn which is always a plus. They were drawn towards each other naturally although on the whole, it lacked the zing that was present in Val and Maks.
I was also expecting more for the conclusion of Matt’s grand revenge scheme. It was what a good person would do but I couldn’t help feeling let down especially after what he had gone through and the time it took to bring the whole thing into fruition. And because I hated his cold bastard of a father, too.
The book did a good job setting up Miguel’s story, which is next. You could feel the tension between him and Detective Ray Travis a mile away. The detective was investigating the threats to Matt’s and/or Reese’s life. Miguel was backing Reese up as a lawyer and as a friend.
I loved how the rest of the Cabrini gang came together to support Reese when he was sued by the family of one of the dead soldiers. There was an oh so brief glimpse of Alexander Cabrini. I had a feeling he’s going to give Maks a run for his money on my favorites list. Alas, his book ,#6, is still far away a.k.a. not yet written. Please come sooner, please!
The story came together in a suspenseful climax where we get to see Matt doing badass things. I liked that he was the one who gets to do this rather than his ex-military boyfriend.
When he finally came out, you can feel the lightness he felt after carrying that much baggage for so long. He was out about his sexuality, out of the office he hated, out in the ring beating the crap out of his opponent because he can finally fight as a pro. He was positively radiant.
Reese freed himself and lived his life with Matt.
They’re not looking back.
Other Than Honorable is best read after the first two books. There are many recurring characters and references to previous events. This series has been a treat. It’s always a delight to catch up with these justice league of lawyers. Read reviews here and find out why.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
Show me your reasons to fight,
The new world tonight,
And I will be here by your side,
Because I couldn’t see truth from my eyes,
They blinded me with rules from when I was a child,
Because all around the vain ones decide,
The ways in which we live our lives.
But we’ll breathe,
And we’ll scream,
Louder, so we’ll be seen.
Show me the truth that you hide,
The world needs to know,
That there’ll be no sacrifice,
The love we share has to grow.
Take off that burden that persists,
There’ll be no miracles to make you fit.
And look deep into my eyes,
You’ll see the truth you long to find.
And we’ll breath,
And we’ll scream,
Louder, so we’ll be seen.
Show me the tears that you cry,
Some problems can cut deep inside,
But I believe there’s ways to climb,
Up out into another time.
Where we’ll breath
And we’ll scream
Louder, so we’ll be seen…