Title: Survival Game (Men of London: Book Nine)
Author: Susan Mac Nicol
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Length: 172 Pages
At a Glance: Mac Nicol has written stories about a colorful and varied group of men in London, and they are interesting and quirky and fierce, every one of them.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Kyle Tripper has led an interesting life. Currently the manager of London’s famous Club Delish, he used to be a croupier extraordinaire in Las Vegas. But not everything in that life was so glamorous; his ex was a piece of work. Now gun-shy, Kyle hopes there is someone special out there for him, and secretly wishes it’s luscious paramedic, Eric Kirby.
Every day Eric Kirby goes through the motions. Yeah, he saves lives, and, sure, he makes a difference, but he doesn’t feel it anymore – not since he lost his one true. But, when he meets wild, flamboyant Kyle Tripper and learns there’s a skittish, apprehensive man beneath the bold façade, the best of Eric’s protective nature kicks in and opens his heart to a new love.
Review: Susan Mac Nicol has done it once more. I have read all of the Men of London books, and reviewed quite a few, and I will tell you that this book fits into the series nicely, just snuggles right in there and makes a place for its hot, sexy self.
This is the ninth book in the series, and the beginning of the book actually runs parallel in time to the end of book eight, not because the storyline is continued but because one of the main characters, Kyle, is the manager of the bar where a good portion of book eight is set. Survival Game is Kyle and Eric’s story, and is truly a story of survival. Both men have suffered horrible trauma-inducing incidents in their pasts, and both men are still suffering the aftereffects. Mac Nicol has written a sometimes hard to read but oh-so-worth-the-journey character driven novel of two men who are survivors. The pacing is slower on this one, as both men have to come to the realization that healing has to start from the inside before the outside can even think about sharing the burden with someone else. We get a fair amount of both men’s POVs, and this really helps pull the empathy factor for them individually as well as a couple. I actually wish the pacing had been a bit more up-tempo. I got a little lost in the excess “noise” in each man’s life, but the storyline was truly believable, and it probably wouldn’t have been if the extra parts of their individual lives had been left out. The sexy times were dialed back a bit in this one also, Mac Nicol preferring to focus on creating a solid emotional connection between her characters.
Kyle would describe himself as a work-in-progress. He lives with a certain amount of PTSD brought on by being caught in an abusive relationship. Kyle lives with a hefty degree of self-loathing brought on by the fact that he didn’t leave his abuser sooner rather than later. Kyle is moving forward, little by little, and reclaiming his once vivacious personality. The colorful hair is back, the piercings are going back in, one by one, and he’s starting to look at other men again. He loves his job as the manager at Club Delish. He’s got great friends who are helping him move forward. He never in his wildest dreams would have made up a scenario for his life which would have included loving someone more messed up than he is. Drawn to Eric because of the way Eric cares for people, Kyle doesn’t realize at first how much Eric needs someone to care for him.
Eric is a paramedic. He’s a great all around guy hiding the secret that he’s dying inside. With his job, his PTSD from a climbing accident that killed his partner, and his refusal to get help, Eric is a mess inside. When the same scenario which took his partner recreates itself in his job, Eric is forced into the realization that he needs help but not before he starts to sabotage all the good things in his life, including his new boyfriend. Eric and his issues will break your heart. Eric only wants to do his little bit of good in the world, and he is carrying around a survivor’s guilt and an anger at his old partner, which is eating him up inside his head and his heart. And just when Eric starts to get help and turn himself around—bam—Mac Nicol throws Eric and Kyle into a situation where they are forced to finally face what they feel for each other.
Like I said, it’s a slow burn because both men have a path they have to tread before they can join together and walk as a couple. It just wouldn’t be believable if the characters did not take their individual journeys. But they are brought together with a hefty dose of attraction, love and a smidgen of humor (that calendar was amazing!). I absolutely recommend this book as well as this whole series. Mac Nicol has written stories about a colorful and varied group of men in London, and they are interesting and quirky and fierce, every one of them. Don’t know how many more books in this series Susan Mac Nicol will write, but I will buy and read every one.
You can buy Survival Game here:
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