Dana reviews Santori Reborn (The Santori Trilogy Book 2) by Maris Black. (Published March 31, 2018, 242 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this: It’s the second book in The Santori trilogy and the first one was so good, I had to read and review this book.
To read the review for Santori (The Santori Trilogy Book 1) click here.
MICHAEL KAGE SANTORI doesn’t think his life can get any more complicated. Juggling a new business, a fledgling UFC career, and the only real relationship he’s ever had is taking a toll on him both mentally and physically. After being attacked for daring to question the inner workings of his own business, he is left broken and confused. The discovery of his uncle’s journals has brought him face-to-face with a past he never understood, and the new perspective has him reeling. Add to that the fact that he hasn’t been totally honest with the love of his life, and you have a recipe for a serious nervous breakdown.
When an old friend resurfaces with new information, Kage discovers things are only going to get worse before they get better. If he ever hopes to free himself from the chains of his uncle’s dark legacy, he’s going to have to become something he never wanted to be.
And risk losing the only person he’s ever truly loved.
JAMIE ATWOOD is in over his head. Instead of the happily ever after he’d envisioned, moving in with Kage has only been one disappointment after another. Kage has come out to the entire world and still managed to keep his reputation and his UFC contract intact, but mysterious forces Jamie has yet to discover are transforming his sexy alpha fighter into someone he doesn’t recognize anymore.
If Kage doesn’t come clean soon, Jamie fears he’s going to have to leave. With his journalism degree and a newly-flourishing MMA blog, he knows he’s got what it takes to make it on his own financially. It’s his heart he’s worried about.
Because without Kage by his side, what is there to live for?
MEANWHILE IN ANOTHER LIFETIME…
PETER SANTORI has found his bliss. Being Gio’s boy is a dream come true for a guy who thought he was doomed to a life of abuse and poverty. His confidence and sense of security are flourishing in the warm glow of Gio’s love, and he has started to believe that maybe he can have the fairytale after all.
Never mind that he’s got to keep the true nature of their relationship a secret. Never mind that one of Gio’s associates seems to have something against him. And never mind that sometimes he gets the feeling that there’s a lot more to Gio than meets the eye. All that matters is that he and Gio are together.
4 EVER & EVER…
Previous books in this series (in order):
Kage (The Kage Trilogy Book 1)
Kage Unleashed (The Kage Trilogy Book 2)
Kage Unmasked (The Kage Trilogy Book 3)
Santori (The Santori Trilogy Book 1)
I need to start with this amazing crazy cover. Crazy because seeing Kage with a gun in his hand made me freak out a little bit. He’s always been a tough guy, an MMA fighter who doesn’t lose, but seeing him carrying makes me wonder all sorts of things about what will happen in this book. The model is perfect for the character, the dots in the SANTORI look like lights in a marquee sign which is perfect for the Vegas setting in this book. It’s just a really fitting cover for the book.
I was so excited to read this book. Kage and Jamie are one of my very favorite couples. As they start this new journey of running the Santori business, it is a bit rocky. Kage has always had a protective streak with Jamie. Trying to keep him from the less savory aspects of the business is leaving Jamie feeling isolated and alone. It’s so hard for me as a reader. I can understand Kage’s reasoning and respect him even as I know that he isn’t treating Jamie as an equal and is wasting all the work they put into the relationship by jeopardizing it. It really comes to a climax in this book as Kage tries to get close to a crooked business partner for reasons unknown to Jamie. His intentions are well and good, but the position Kage puts himself in is not. Jamie’s anger and response are justified even though it hurt me to read some of this. All the drama makes my stomach clench in worry, but pulls me into the story even deeper. I think it is a mark of a good storyteller when I am so invested.
There is a secondary story that runs through this book. Kage reads the diary of his late uncle, the hated Peter Santori. Hated, until I read some of the story through his point of view. As Kage reads the book, my thoughts were that he would identify with Peter and how he was pulled into this world of running a casino and trying to control his career. Neither man even intended for their lives to take that turn so I thought he might be in danger of following his uncle’s footsteps. Instead Peter reminds me more of Jamie, and the Alcazar’s previous owner and Peter’s lover, Gio, reminds me of Michael Kage. Kage (maybe subconsciously?) draws the same conclusions as he puts on Gio’s hat and looks in the mirror.
This trilogy has parallel stories that focus on how men can become monsters. This book is heavy as Kage struggles with living this new life and trying not to lose his heart and humanity. He needs Jamie, but trying to keep him while juggling his secrets is difficult. Some of the things that happen aren’t for the tender-hearted. Things look kind of bad at the end of this book, and I desperately need the next book so I can see how the author pulls our heroes out of the mess their lives have become. If you like a book with a lot of emotion and a suspenseful plot I definitely recommend this book and the series.
9.5 pots of Gold (95% Recommended) – Compares to 4.75/5 Stars
Maris Black lives in the Southern United States. In college, she majored in English and discovered the joys of creative writing and literary interpretation. After honing her skills discovering hidden meanings authors probably never intended, she collected her English degree and got a job at a newspaper. But she soon figured out that small town reporting wasn’t going to pay the bills, so she went to work in the medical field. Logical progression, right? But no matter what she did, the self-proclaimed compulsive plotter couldn’t stop writing fiction.
“The M/M genre feels sort of like coming home,” she says. “I can’t quite explain it. I’ve always had openly gay and bisexual friends and relatives, the rights and acceptance of whom are very important to me, so it feels great to celebrate that. But there’s also something so pure and honest about the love between two men that appeals to me and inspires me to write.”
To read the review for KAGE click here.
To read the review for KAGE Unleashed click here.
To read the review for KAGE Unmasked click here.