Dana reviews Hellion (415 Ink Book 3) by Rhys Ford (Published by Dreamspinner Press, September 17, 2019, 201 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
415 Ink: Book Three
From the moment SFPD Detective Ruan Nicholls meets Ivo Rogers, he knows the tattoo artist is going to bring chaos to his neat, orderly life. A hellion down to the bone, Ivo is someone Ruan not only doesn’t understand, he’s not even sure he needs to. Everything about Ivo is vibrant, brash, cocky, and arrogant, and Ruan wants no part of him.
Or at least that’s the lie he tells himself when he damps down his desire for the social wild child life tosses into his path.
For Ivo Rogers, life revolves around two things—his family and 415 Ink, the tattoo shop he co-owns with his four brothers. His family might be stitched together by their battle scars from growing up in foster care, but their brotherhood is tight—and strong enough to hold Ivo together during the times when he falls apart.
Now Ivo faces a new challenge when he falls for a cop with an old-school mentality on how a man looks and acts. Ruan is the promise of a life Ivo thought he’d never have, but their clashing perspectives threaten any chance of a relationship. Being the family’s hellion makes it easy to be misunderstood, yet Ivo has faith Ruan will not only embrace who he is but love him as well.
I am a big fan of this author and loved the first two books of this series. The brothers of 415 Ink are amazing men who have come through hell and found family with each other and are living fairly successful lives. Ivo was a character that I really wanted to know more about. His mix of masculinity and femininity when he dressed and his scorching sarcasm when it came to his older brothers made me wonder why he embraced the dual looks and what exactly made him so jaded.
To be fair, I did know that he was raised many years in foster care and before that one of his older brothers tried to harm him and his mother wasn’t more than a conniving addict and abuser. His biological brother Gus, whose story was first in this series, seemed to have it worse because he was more cognizant due to their ages. But it is evident that Ivo has seen his share of sorrow, several foster families, and his fight to stay with his brothers when Chidlren’s Protective Services took him away every time he had trouble with school. It did give him a bit of a protective bitter shell, and it also made him feel like he might never be worth the love. Ivo as an adult has found a sense of confidence though it is clear he and his brothers sometimes have shaky faith in it. Ivo wears what he wants to suit his mood and because others aren’t able to. He loves art and creates his own on other people’s skin. He also has a police officer on his mind after he was shown concern a few years back.
Ruan once met a teenager wearing a school girl skirt and killer heels and worried the young man might not be safe at home. His concern stayed with Ivo, but Ivo stayed with Ruan as well. Ivo was everything Ruan was not; brave and out. Ruan doesn’t let too many people see the real him. Good old Catholic guilt and the things he has seen as a police officer hold him back from being an out gay man. He can’t even contemplate the idea of wearing flamboyant clothes without worrying about what might be done. As a police detective he reenters Ivo’s life and he is still intrigued, enough to want to meet up with Ivo on their off time, and to maybe see where this attraction might go.
Due to Ivo’s somewhat defensive attitude and Ruan’s worried nature, I thought that there would be a lot more sparks (good and bad) to go along with their fledgling relationship. And Ruan does screw up once or twice, to be sure. But I honestly felt that their romance was smooth and fairly easy going. Both of them have busy schedules and very late nights at work. It makes them appreciate the time they have together. Both Ivo and Ruan are also very willing to look into themselves and consider what they say and work on their actions if needed. And they are considerate of the others feelings as long as it doesn’t involve trying to make each other into different people. Their journeys through life this far have given them a maturity that make them a little different from the characters in the first two stories.
Like other Rhys novels, this book has its share of cameos from Rhys’s other characters. A location from the Murder and Mayhem series is mentioned and what a happy surprise learning that Ruan’s precinct is where Donal Morgan works from. I love the tie ins for sure. I really enjoyed this third book in this series, and am dying to find out more about the enigmatic Luke and the responsible and loving Bear. I can’t recommend this series enough.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series and was a 2016 LAMBDA finalist with her novel, Murder and Mayhem. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications.
She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Yoshi, a grumpy tuxedo cat and Tam, a diabetic black pygmy panther, as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people.
Rhys Ford: http://rhysford.com