Rating: 4.5 stars
As the Bullen Family conspiracy continues to unfold, Beckett Jamieson, aka Robert Bullen, is recovering in a Sanctuary safehouse from the beating his father and uncle gave him. Dale McIntyre, a Sanctuary Agent, along with Joseph Kinnon (The Only Easy Day, #2)rescue him, kill his Uncle and arrest his father. When Beckett awakens, he’s blind and alone with Kayden Summers in a house in the middle of the woods. Dale McIntyre, his only safety line and contact, is gone, off on another assignment. Kayden Summers is both a Doctor and field agent for Sanctuary. But when everything Beckett has known has turned out to be false, can he trust someone he can’t see to keep him safe?
In Face Value, RJ Scott continues to unravel the story of the powerful Bullen family while introducing us to new Sanctuary agents and people involved in the Bullen family past. Beckett Jamieson turned 21 and immediately found out that his life has been one subterfuge after another. Isla and Derek Jamieson were not his biological parents, and his real name is Robert Edward Bullen, scion of the powerful and wealthy Bullen clan. Austin Mitchell, lawyer and friend of his biological mother, Emma, hands him a letter and a box with his initials on it that change his life forever. Soon he is embroiled with the FBI, murder, the Bullens and of course, Sanctuary.
I love a good mystery and here is one that has stretched out over three books and looks to continue on as there is no resolution in sight at the end of Face Value. Once again, the author has done an incredible job of bringing us a variety of interesting characters, from endearing to malignant, in a mystery that deepens with each book. Beckett Jamieson is that perfect combination of innocence and determination. Just 21 when everything he knows is upended, his frustration, fear, and bravery endear the reader immediately starting with the first chapter. Here his uncle and father find him snooping around his mother’s old room, looking for incriminating evidence against them for the DA. Your heart pounds along with his as he realizes he’s been discovered and they are not buying his story. And then the beating starts, and I felt sickened until just as he passes out he hears the sounds of a rescue in progress.
When Beck wakes up, he’s been transported to a safe house, he’s temporarily blind due to his beatings, and his only companion is Dr. Hayden Summers. So realistic is the scene where Beck slowly returns to consciousness you are right there feeling his confusion, and then mounting apprehension when he can’t open his eyes which turns to terror upon the realization he can’t see. He’s helpless and can only barely hold on as a calm voice tells him the blindness is temporary, and to trust him. The voice of course belongs to another multilayered character, Hayden Summers. He’s just turned 26 but mentally and emotionally far older due to his back story. Hayden was raised in a compound by a loving but unstable father (think Waco, TX without the religious overtones). When the compound is raided, his father dies, and Hayden is taken by the founder of Sanctuary and raised with his son. A complicated background makes for a brilliant and complicated young man. As Hayden cares for his young patient, he is both impatient to be away in the field and away from Beckett to whom he is drawn. He is a brilliant Doctor, martial arts expert, gay and sarcastic son of a bitch outside of his doctor persona who shies away from emotional attachments. It’s a delicate dance of trust and attraction between two young gay men under stressful and potentially deadly conditions. And RJ Scott has done a great job of making their waltz towards a relationship remain grounded in real life expectations while allowing the possibilities of romance to grow. The characters here never lose sight of their goals, there is no instant love, just the hope of more if they can just keep Beck alive. And the twists and turns the plot takes will take your breath away and make your heart stop just when you think they are safe.
As I got to the end of Face Value, I immediately wanted to reach for the next book. And then the one after that. I want to know more, I want more of Beck and Hayden (they are that interesting and they deserve it). I want to see the Bullen family pulled down and justice served. Of course, I also want more Dale and Joseph (The Only Easy Day), as well as Nik and Morgan from Guarding Morgan. Book by book, RJ Scott is building my Sanctuary addiction and now I can’t wait for the next one. The next couple. And perhaps a glimpse of those we have already met and loved. Mission accomplished, RJ Scott, a job well done.