Title: Rebel (415 Ink: Book One)
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 220 Pages
At a Glance: Second chance romance and slow burn! There was a lot of pain in all of the characters’ pasts, but they were all able to pick themselves up and make something of their lives.
Reviewed By: Ky
Blurb: The hardest thing a rebel can do isn’t standing up for something—it’s standing up for himself.
Life takes delight in stabbing Gus Scott in the back when he least expects it. After Gus spends years running from his past, present, and the dismal future every social worker predicted for him, karma delivers the one thing Gus could never—would never—turn his back on: a son from a one-night stand he’d had after a devastating breakup a few years ago.
Returning to San Francisco and to 415 Ink, his family’s tattoo shop, gave him the perfect shelter to battle his personal demons and get himself together… until the firefighter who’d broken him walked back into Gus’s life.
For Rey Montenegro, tattoo artist Gus Scott was an elusive brass ring, a glittering prize he hadn’t the strength or flexibility to hold on to. Severing his relationship with the mercurial tattoo artist hurt, but Gus hadn’t wanted the kind of domestic life Rey craved, leaving Rey with an aching chasm in his soul.
When Gus’s life and world starts to unravel, Rey helps him pick up the pieces, and Gus wonders if that forever Rey wants is more than just a dream.
Review: The first two or three chapters of Rebel were a bit difficult because there are a lot of characters being introduced; also, they were kind of setting the stage for the story. Don’t get me wrong, they were very interesting, and I consumed them like I did the rest of the book. It’s just that they were a bit confusing because I didn’t know the characters or their past, and they kept talking in half sentences.
Of course, as the book progressed it became apparent that this was in order to build some angst and curiosity to the reader, and keep him engaged and interested. How perfectly that worked! I read and read and read, and didn’t want to stop until I reached the end, and even then, I wouldn’t say no to some more pages. So, it’s a good thing that this is the first in a series. It means we’re going to see Rey and Gus again! And, of course, Chris too!
About Chris, a weird thing happened here: he was an important part of the story. I could probably say that he was the reason there even was a story, and he was mentioned a lot, but his physical presence in scenes was very limited. At first, I was disappointed by the lack of page time for him, but after finishing the book, I have to say that in the end I wasn’t bothered by that at all. The story was mostly Gus’s effort and struggle to move forward with his life, come to terms with his past, and believe in himself and his worth.
The title of the book reflects the reminders Gus has set for himself, and his take of the tattoo he has on his arm with the word Rebel.
[…] he’d hadn’t chosen the word to represent himself. Instead it was his reminder to not follow blindly, to fight against being led to his own slaughter, especially when it was someone he loved doing the leading. – Gus
Gus was broken from some of the people closest to him, but he managed to reach adulthood and navigate it as well as he could. He had self-esteem problems and trust issues, but all of those things were completely and totally understandable, given the rough start his life had.
Rey had also experienced abuse, but he at least had one good parent, so he also knew love. He made many mistakes with Gus, but it was obvious how much he cared about him, and, once he realised how wrong his behavior was during their relationship, he went all in, determined to be there for Gus in whatever capacity he needed him. Of course, we are glad it was the boyfriend one!
Chris was a very happy and energetic child; I think the author did a great job with him, actually giving him the voice of a three-year-old and not a miniature professor who speaks with way too much maturity for his age.
There was a lot of pain in all of the characters’ pasts, but they were all able to pick themselves up and make something of their lives. The five brothers formed a “stitched-together family”, as they called it, and Gus saw Luke as his “adopted twin”. All those characterizations show the love that existed between them, but also their desperate need to not be alone in the world. It shows Gus’s need to see his own face on someone else again, even though he knows that’s never going to happen. They didn’t care if there were blood ties between them; they had been burned by way too many people who had them. Now, they chose their family and stuck together, no matter what.
I’m not going to go into detail about the other four brothers, as they are getting stories of their own. Or, at least I hope that all of them will do. Next in line is likely Mason since there’s a little tease in the epilogue with him. I think it’s going to be a love-hate relationship, with the couple going from kind-of-enemies to lovers. Bring it on!
You can buy Rebel here:
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