Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
Gene Sheridan earned the appropriate nickname when Legend Gib Phelps employed him at Twirled World Ink—Scary. No one made it out of his old neighborhood without scars both mental and physical. At one time, Scary thought he had a chance that is until his ex-boyfriend discovered slumming with someone like him wasn’t worth his trust fund. No-strings hookups became his go-to when he needed to relieve some tension. Co-owning a bar called Brawlers with his best friend, Tank, made it easy to find a body to use for the night. If not happy he was content with his life, but one man made content seem like such a terrible thing.
Elijah Vaughn worried about everything. His life was put on hold at eighteen when his mostly-absent parents died on one of their many adventures leaving him to raise his six-year-old brother, Brody. He’d never had anything or anyone that was just his. When Brody met a tattoo artist named Trouble, Elijah hadn’t realized how much it would change his life too. He met a huge man named Scary and how the man made him feel terrified him.
Tank Davis lost his voice the night he was attacked and had this throat slit ear-to-ear. It kept him in a world of silence. Silent and intimidating, he scared off more men than he drew to him. His best friend Scary and him made a life for themselves in small town Georgia with their bar Brawlers. Most night everyone could find him working security at the door. Scary called in a favor, and Tank met the one man he couldn’t resist, proper and upstanding Elijah Vaughn.
Can one man accept that there’s not one perfect man for him, but two damaged souls who need him to be whole?
These three men get referred to as the first threesome throughout the second and third series because there is another triad that arrives late in Brawlers. But the strength of the bonding and relationship you find between Scary, Tank and Elijah here often makes you forget, even later on, that another threesome even exists.
The power of Scary (Twirled World Ink #3) by J.M. Dabney lies in the enormous ability of Dabney to create such vivid, strong, damaged men and then launch them and their lives directly into our hearts. Triply so here with Scary because the dynamics that have to be worked out involve relationships multiple ways. Scary and Tank have known each other as friends for years, they have shared men separately but when their attraction to Elijah threatens their old arrangements and perhaps more, something needs to change…quickly. And then it proceeds to change even further into an area neither was aware they wanted or needed between them.
While these old friends are redefining their friendship, Elijah is there in their midst trying to figure out how he has jumped from no boyfriends and commitments to two and a family. Elijah is also working through major life changing issues, not just his romantic ones. Every element here feels believable and authentic. We get multiple povs, a staggering amount of supporting secondary characters (Twirled World Ink characters and Brawlers characters) none of which are superfluous. When one man is hurting and confused, you feel it in your heart, when Tank starts to withdraw from his men because of certain events and guilt, you feel every bit of his pain.
That’s due entirely to the superb writing and depth of characterizations you find here. And with every detail and new additional character (such as Juvie, how I love Juvie, a foster child whose role I won’t reveal) I found I just wanted more. More of Princess, all of the other people that make up this gritty, wonderful world.
There is one couple left in this series. That would be Lucky and Priest in Lucky (Twirled World Ink #4). Then the wait is on for King, the third book in the Executioners series. Be here with me for Lucky, that’s next! For now, I absolutely recommend Scary for everyone who love romance and gritty, hardened men finding their HEA, this one times three.
Cover art by Reese Dante. That cover is perfection. First Scary, then Tank, then Elijah. Each one exactly as I have them pictured in my head. Gritty, dark perfection.
Sales Link: Amazon