Review: Crucify (Triple Threat #4) by Laura Harner

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Crucify TT4Sitting in a booth at the Chances Are, Zachary listens as a friend of Jeremiah’s, Nick Gabriel, explains the history and man behind his employment as a prostitute, a Catholic priest.  This priest has an affinity for very young men who are confused about their sexuality and sees their confusion as a means to abuse them.  For Jeremiah, this case also represents a chance for him to go undercover to prove himself to his Doms and help stop this sexual predator.  If only he can get Zachary and Archer to agree.

Using Jeremiah as bait seems like a good idea, at least in the beginning.  Then Wick and Chance weigh in on Jeremiah’s current status with Archer and Zach.  In their opinion, there is not much difference between Jeremiah and his contract and Nick’s profession.  It’s an epiphany for Zachary.  Exactly how does Jeremiah fit into his and Archer’s relationship?  Is the contract between the men a barrier to any real future for the triad? The answer lies in their current investigation and it will have reverberations for all involved.

Crucify is the fourth story in the Triple Threat series and L.E.  Harner uses its plot to bring the series back to its original explosive element of relationships and change.  In each story, she has explored how does the addition of Jeremiah is changing the relationship dynamics of Zach and Archer.  From content and somewhat complacent established couple of 15 years, the introduction of Jeremiah has reenergized the Master Dom in Zach who, more or less, relinquished that role to Archer in their commitment to each other.  But up until now,  neither Archer or Zach has addressed what, if any, future Jeremiah has with them and in what role.

Harner has made this series a study in all sorts of relationships and not just Archer and Zach’s complicated one.  In Crucify, relationships between Ben, Jeremiah and “Gabe” are up for inspection, as are those of Chance and Rory, Wick and Zach, even Wick and his mini Wick as well as so many others. Harner explores the delicate balance between these complicated men.  Sometimes its the relationship between friends, sometimes its relationships between lovers, and every permutation in between.  I love that the author recognizes that sometimes those relationships that seems the strongest are in fact fraught with issues that threaten to shred partnerships, leaving the participants in tatters.  Sometimes it really is all about the perspective.  And that can change in an instant.

I like to mention that this story and series features a m/m/m triad, with elements of D/s to their relationships.  The bdsm content is made accessible to all readers by the manner in which Harner explains each man’s need and desire for this aspect of sexuality in their lives.  It makes sense as does the threesome.  Even if these are not the elements you normally read, don’t let this make you shy off from the series.   It a hot sexy component of these mens relationships and it works here.

Harner writes in layers.  Layers to her characters, layers to her plots and those added dimensions gives this story and series a realistic flavor and spice that is to be savored.  Whether it is the world weary voice of Zach or the humorous aspect to sometimes horrific events,, it all adds up to one great series and one conflicted and compelling trio of characters.

There is more to come in the Triple Threat series.  Do not miss a single story!  Pick them all up, read them together or singly just as long as you read them in order.  I highly recommend them all.  Here is a quick taste as Zach questions Nick:

“Spill, Nick. What does the church have to do with you? Did they kick you out? Because I can’t do shit about that—”

“They have a group for guys like me. Like us. Homos.” The words shot out with the force of a gun blast.

I nodded. I knew a little about the pray-the-gay-away movement—people who think homosexuality and Christianity are incompatible—although I wasn’t aware of any local connection. My interest spiked, and I could only imagine the conflict this young man must feel. Combine a street-wise hooker and the up-and-coming young businessman, sprinkle liberally with Catholic guilt. A nervous breakdown waiting to happen. Good luck with that.

Book Details:

ebook, 60 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Hot Corner Press
ISBN13 9781937252571
edition language English

Books in the series in the order they were written and should be read:

Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1)
Retribution (Triple Threat #2)
Defiance (Triple Threat #3)
Crucify (Triple Threat #4)

Review of Home Fires by BA Tortuga

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars

Home FiresHouston, Jackson’s mate, left him several years ago, sure he was ready for city life and not one lived with Jackson in the desert with cactus for neighbors. So Jackson was stunned to see Houston, or what was left of Houston dragging himself to their front door.  His mate had escaped from a government agency doing experiments on shifters, and they are after him.   But Jackson hasn’t keep the home fires burning just to let the government capture his mate again.  He will fight for his mate and for their land because no one is taking Houston away from him again, not even Houston himself.

Home Fires is a raw, rough story that BA Tortuga does so well.  Here she gives us the bare bones of a horror story.  A shifter was kidnapped along with other shifters, and taken to a secret compound where they were  experimented on, tortured and killed.  Tortuga gives us only an outline of the torture and experiments and lets our minds fill in the rest, which ratchets the terror up considerably.  What we see is the effects of his capture  upon Houston’s mind and body, including a barcode tattooed on his body of skin and bones.  He has nightmares and is confused.  The vivid descriptions of his present appearance are contrasted with Jackson’s memory of his mate before he left him.   It works beautifully to let us know just how bad a shape Houston is in now.

Jackson too is a fierce, elemental man.  At home in the desert, he is tuned tightly as a man  can be who loves his isolation and his independence.  The only thing missing from his life has been his mate and now that he has him back, there is nothing he won’t do to bring Houston back into shape and let him become the wolf shifter he knew.  Jackson will also defend them both and keep Houston safe, not an easy thing when the government agents and others are looking for them.

Just as the men are pared down to their core beings, so are the wolves within,  Houston needs to be claimed again by his mate, and Jackson needs to possess his mate in the most primal of ways.  It’s raw, its sexy and at times heartbreaking,

My only quibble with this story is that there really isn’t an end.  Some soldiers chasing them are killed in the desert but by others looking for their kin.  We never find out what happens to the compound or really to  Jackson and Houston.  And that was frustrating because these are two memorable characters who make such a huge impact upon a reader, that they story just cries out for some closure for us and for them, otherwise this would be a 5 star story instead of 4.5 stars.

Cover illustration by BSClay.  Not sure what the helicopters have to do with anything, they don’t show up in the story. Just confusing.

Story was originally published in 2007, under the title The Call.