Author ~ RK Staunton
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Pres
Published ~ 21st April 2017
Genre ~ M/M Romance, Urban Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense
Gabriel Ingram is running from his past. It’s common knowledge at the college where he teaches that he’s a former CIA technical analyst, but no one knows the things he really did—or about the rage and bloodlust that are his constant companions. He’s holding on to his normal life with both hands, but he knows someday he’ll lose his grip.
Lucas Craig is a social worker studying to become a family therapist. For reasons Lucas can’t understand, the normally reclusive Professor Ingram takes an interest in him, and Lucas secretly hopes their friendship might become more.
Then Eric, Lucas’s roommate, disappears. Lucas is frantic. The police are no help. With nowhere else to turn, Lucas begs Gabriel for his expertise.
What starts as a simple errand to help a friend becomes a journey into a violent world of gangs and human trafficking—one that will bring Gabriel face-to-face with the forces intent on stealing his soul. But Lucas might be the one who can save him—if Gabriel can get them out alive.
Gabriel Ingram is former CIA, now a professor. In his previous role, he eliminated enemies of the state – mainly in the Middle East. It fit well with his need to kill. When he felt himself being consumed by his various undercover personas, he decided it was time to leave.
Social worker, Lucas, is also a post graduate student intent on becoming a therapist. He is a guy who enjoys looking after other people, but falls short when it comes to himself. It’s how Lucas met Gabriel. Lucas doesn’t take any of Professor Ingram’s classes, but Ingram saw how the man was rushing about and thought he needed a coffee. Part of Gabriel’s CIA past is in his CV and known on campus, and when Lucas’s best friend, Eric, goes missing he seeks help from Gabriel. That’s when the unknown part of Gabriel’s CIA career comes to the fore.
Told from the POV’s of Gabriel, Lucas and Eric, there is some repetition of events, and the characters have some hang-ups. To this end, my heart went out to Gabriel. He is well aware of his darker side and does all he can to shelter Lucas from it. But, the pull Lucas has on him makes me think of the classic line from Star Trek’s Borg, ‘Resistance Is Futile’. His CIA background ensures he can help Lucas, but doing so will take him back into a life he’d strived to be free of, and he has an idea what the emotional consequences would be for himself and Lucas.
The investigative process brings the boys closer together in a bit of a personal cat and mouse game. Consequently, there are lots of internal ramblings, self-flagellations, hopes, what’s, if’s and maybe’s, along with some fantasising. There is also, confrontation, heat, heartbreak, and duty eclipsing personal needs.
Gabriel, like the others in the series, follows a pattern. There is reference to the drama that caused his recruitment into the Order Of The Black Knights, memories from other lives, his death, then, in his latest life, the journey to redemption. Each Knight has lived many lives and will continue to do so until that elusive element allows them to break the contract.
Gabriel is a good story. But, because I have read every one in the series thus far, and they have all followed the same format, it takes the edge off a few things, giving away the ending, and to a degree spoiling any surprise. Though I must say, the ending to Gabriel got my heart pumping. The unique elements are the individual journeys to redemption. So, I would suggest that, instead of reading them all, you pick the genre that appeals, e.g. crime, historical, contemporary and follow that book. Each story can be read on its own. Then again, each to their taste and if you like a degree of certainty about your stories, this series will be a dream.
Gideon by Ashe Barker
Gideon Maybury enjoys a life of wealth and privilege, not to mention the advantages his position offers him in his career as a merchant banker and his less public life as a high-class, skilled, and very well-paid assassin for Her Majesty’s government. When his brother dies unexpectedly, he becomes the Duke of Westmoreland.
Michael Mathison has hated Gideon since they were at university together. He’s convinced Gideon had a hand in the death of Michael’s college lover, Christopher, and that he had something to do with the death of his own brother. So he gets a job as Gideon’s driver, enabling him to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of the elder Maybury sibling. At first his suspicions seem to be confirmed, but clues emerge that suggest all is not as it appears at Maybury Hall.
As the mystery deepens, so does the attraction between the two implacable enemies, as does the feeling that they have met before—under dark and terrible circumstances. Each has reasons not to trust the other, but neither is averse to a bit of kinky play. Gideon and Michael end up owing each other their lives, and it results in consequences neither could have imagined.
Order of the Black Knights Book 2
Matthias by Alexis Duran
From Louisiana swamp rat to revivalist huckster to skilled con artist, Matthias Krall clawed his way out of poverty using his natural gifts of grift and manipulation to become the leader of an exclusive retreat center. Exploiting the guise of spiritual guru, Matthias seduces the rich and powerful into turning over their lives and fortunes to his control. But wealth and a small cadre of loyal followers can’t protect Matthias from the betrayal he knows is imminent. Everyone wants what Matthias has, except for one man who wants to destroy it. Dylan Connelly is a reporter who’s determined to prove the charismatic recluse is not only a fraud but a murderer.
Irresistibly drawn to Dylan despite the warnings in his gut, Matthias lures Dylan to his island retreat, determined to destroy his enemy once and for all.
Order of the Black Knights Book 3
Vespar by Thianna Durston
Special-ops-turned-professional-killer Vespar McKauley is hired to take out Marcolm Rogers, son of his employer’s worst enemy. But Marc isn’t like any hit he’s ever done. He’s just twenty-one, he goes to a private university studying English Lit, and for fun, he plays computer games with his friends. No drugs, no partying, no crime. The day Vespar bumps into Marc and looks into his azure eyes, the world drops out from under him.
With his father in the Chicago crime syndicate, Marc and his mom have stayed out of the limelight, hiding from those who might harm them. He figures he’s safe at a small liberal arts university, all the way across the country. But midway through his senior year, he feels eyes on him and the shadows encroaching. Just as he’s about to run, he meets Vespar and experiences an instant attraction. When Vespar tells him he’s in danger and offers to protect him, Marc wants to believe him. But he’s been hunted before, and this time he isn’t sure he’ll get away. Especially when he finds out he is Vespar’s target.
Order of the Black Knights Book 4
Jaeger by Evelise Archer
US Marshal Jaeger Tripp is assigned to the Federal Witness Protection Program. The hurt and destruction he’s seen—along with protecting criminals who are only cooperating with the authorities to keep themselves out of jail—have left him with a bleak and jaded view of both life and people. His current assignment is Wren O’Riley, a computer wizard who witnessed a high-profile cartel hit.
To Jaeger, Wren is the same as any other job. He must protect him long enough to get him to testify at trial, and his personal feelings have no place in his work and must be set aside. But that’s easier said than done. On the run and fighting for their lives, Jaeger and Wren can’t help but grow closer. And Jaeger can’t help seeing beyond Wren’s nerdy exterior to a man who might be just what Jaeger needs to settle his soul and capture his heart—if they survive long enough to get that chance.