Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Secrets and lies threaten Brandon and Daniel’s new love.
Brandon Hoselton is running scared, finding security in his obsession with patterns and numbers. With his family threatened, he feels he has nowhere left to go, and even considers ending his life to keep them safe. Until Sanctuary, in the shape of the enigmatic Daniel Karnes, gives him a reason to stay alive and offers the possibility of a future free from fear.
Former SEAL Daniel is new to Sanctuary, tasked with watching Brandon, a brilliant geek with way too many secrets. Falling in love with quirky Brandon is easy; now he just has to make sure secrets don’t end up with them both dying.
The only way of destroying Varga is to cut the crime boss’s money, and the two men become part of an intricate take-down involving millions of dollars. But Brandon has a secret he can never share with Daniel, and their new love is at stake.
When the villain has murder in mind, sometimes the only way to stay alive is to lie.
RJ Scott’s The Sanctuary series has been a long, wild, and convoluted one. It started with a series of murders, conspiracies and the high society Bullen family and has worked it way here to the series finale and its central villain, one unknown at the start. It’s been quite the ride! A wonderful rollercoaster of high action, sex, intrigue and romance! I’ve loved every minute and word of it.
I have to admit I have had my favorite among all the couple here. Who hasn’t? Dale and Joseph? The former Navy SEALS? Top of my list, can’t help it, they are so hot together. And they are one of the original couples starting way back in The Only Easy Day (Sanctuary #2). One half of the pair makes a brief appearance here. Other characters (and mentions of their partners) pop up here. Kayden Summers from Face Value (Sanctuary #3), Manny (from every book, and his own Full Circle (Sanctuary #5). So many couples and stories and one to wrap it all up. I think a series finale has a bigger job than just a regular installment and that’s a heavy load for any novel to carry.
By The Numbers picks up almost exactly where Ghost leaves off. Brandon and his sisters are in a Sanctuary safe house being guarded by Daniel Karnes. If you are a reader new to the series, then this is not the time to dive into these books. You are going to be lost. Stop reading and head back to book 1, Guarding Morgan. RJ Scott starts with the assumptions that you’ve been with the series all along and have the background knowledge to understand the complex relationships and dynamics playing out on the page. And they are plenty! Especially with the sisters history and Brandon’s which is ugly and steeped in child slavery and crime.
The majority of this book is Sanctuary moving forward to taking down Varga while Brandon fights internally in the safe house with a secret that could be disastrous for all. It’s a wonderful ploy, meant to keep readers on their seats, which is does. But it also does something less wonderful to the romance of Brandon and Daniel which is going on at the same time. For me, it lessened their connection to each other, made the ending less believable. The story is told from multiple povs, necessary for this type of tale where each character is a key player in a complicated plot. To trust? Not to trust? To act? Not to act? The action is wonderful, but I think it happens at the expense of the romance, which is sort of fine. Taking down Varge should be the priority here above all else and that’s how it comes off in the story.
By The Numbers was a terrific high action tale! The tension at the end, especially with Brandon was so well done, that I was on the edge of my seat! As a M/M contemporary suspense story, I gobbled it right up. As a series finale, well, I’m not sure it lived up to my expectations, especially in the romance department. Brandon never had the chance to grow on me that the other characters did, nor did his relationship with Daniel. Their time together was sacrificed for the needs to take down Varga, a complicated game to be sure. I definitely enjoyed it and I love this series and highly recommend it.
Cover art by Meredith Russell works for the characters and series.