Erryn reviews ‘Promises Part 4 (Bounty Hunters)’ by A.E. Via. This book was released on March 5, 2018, and is 392 pgs long. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Aiden Snow. It was released on March 10, 2020 and is 11 hrs and 3 mins long. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I’ve been desperately waiting for Brian’s book.
Brian King was honorably discharged from the United States Navy five years ago. He’d left with the highest honors a man can receive in his country, but he’d paid the ultimate price to earn them. He’d returned home with all his limbs, his right mind, and with his only brother Ford, at his side. But, one thing had been lost, maybe for good…his voice.
Now, being a bounty hunter is Brian’s only means to satisfy his need to calculate, track, and capture. He missed companionship, he missed communicating. So, when he met Sway Hamilton – in the most unconventional means – he’d been surprised at his special way of understanding Brian’s every look…and touch.
Sway grew up in the rough part of ATL, trailing behind his twin brother Stanton and his best friend, Dana. He and his brother had a bond only twins could understand. So when Stanton’s life was taken during their sophomore year in college, Sway didn’t think he’d ever recover. However, Sway knew there was more to life than heartache.
Sway has to learn to trust in love, and Brian has to believe that Sway will always understand him even if he never speaks again.
Contains mature themes.
See my review of Promises Part 1 here.
See my review of Promises Part 2 here.
See my review of Promises Part 3 here.
I’ve nabbed each of the books in the Promises series as they’ve come out. Part 1 blew me away, and the two subsequent books were good, but I’ve wanted Brian’s story since he was first introduced at the end of the first book. I was drawn to the silent man. While in the special forces, Brian’s team was ambushed. He and a fellow soldier were captured and tortured for months on end. By the end of that horrific experience, he’d lost his voice. His brother Ford and his men rescued Brian, but much of the damage was already done.
Brian has selective mutism – despite the damage done to his vocal cords and throat, he should be able to speak. But years of working with counsellors and speech therapists hasn’t brought back his voice. One of his counsellors assures him that his voice will return when Brian needs it, but Brian doesn’t hold out a lot of hope. He mostly attends the appointments to ease Ford’s mind. Brian’s older brother has never given up the hope of hearing Brian speak again and although he’s often Brian’s voice in a literal sense, he wants to hear his brother’s voice. Although the brothers can often communicate by just a look or nod, they also use ASL. They work as bounty hunters for Duke and some of the men they work with have learned some signing. Ford’s partner – in the business and the bedroom – has put in a huge effort to learn sign, endearing him further to me. Dana loves Ford, and loving Ford means loving Brian.
This book picks up six weeks earlier than present time. Brian has attended an illicit sex club, hoping to find some kind of relief, all the while knowing it’s a fool’s errand. Then he meets a beautiful man and they connect without words. But the young man runs and Brian despairs of ever seeing him again. I read that scene in the third book and knew something special had happened and that this younger man was likely Brian’s happy ending. But, man, it took some work. By happenstance, Brian’s young man is his brother’s partner’s best friend. A little convoluted, but it worked.
Sway cares deeply for his best friend Dana, and when Dana is injured on the job, the nurse practitioner shows up on the doorstep, ready to help. What he never expected was to meet the gentle silent giant from the sex club. Oh, he’d run. At first. But he’d tried to go back, but by then the police had raided the place and Sway had believed he’d never see the man again. And here he is, visiting Dana. Fortunately for both men, Sway’s aunt was deaf so he speaks ASL. At least they have a method of communication, although Sway maintains he can hear Brian without words. The bond is so strong, I believe him.
It’s a push and pull between the two men. Both want more and both are afraid of getting hurt again. Sway’s twin brother Stanton died in their second year of college. He and his mother have never really recovered from that loss and his mother is very reliant on him. For his part, Brian hasn’t had any long-term relationships, period. First he served during Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and then he was injured and put up all kinds of walls, barring anyone who might want to get close.
This book is a slow burn and I liked that. The men had to take their time to trust. Both also work high stress jobs. Sway has been tapped for a special project working with Dr. Chauncey and Dr. James Dominick. Dr. Chauncey is known to the entire bounty hunter crew as he’s Quick’s man. I enjoy how these books interconnect and characters reappear. Sway’s relationship with Dr. Dominick is fraught with landmines, and that brings some tough moments. Brian is also hunting bounties, using his ability to move without detection. But one bounty goes sideways, and the whole team is in jeopardy. Nothing like danger to bring into stark relief those things that mean the most to us.
I want to take a moment to mention the narration. I enjoy Aiden Snow’s work and he’s done an admirable job with this series. His work on this book was stunning. Brian doesn’t speak, and when you’re reading the book, it’s quite clear when he’s signing and when he’s speaking in his mind. Somehow Aiden was able to differentiate. I was never left in doubt of whether Brian was signing or whether he was in the middle of internal dialogue. The difference was subtle, but it was there. This book hit me emotionally in so many ways, and I know that punch was stronger because of Aiden’s talent. There is one more book in the series and I can’t wait. I want to see more off all the men, but Brian most of all.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
A.E. Via has been a best-selling author in the beautiful gay romance genre for five years now, but she’s no stranger to MM. She’s been an avid reader of gay lit for over fifteen years before she picked up her laptop to place her own kiss on this genre. She’s also the founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books, having published a couple great new up and coming MM authors.
A.E. has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Virginia Wesleyan College that she used to start her own paralegal firm after she graduated in 2008. She spent five years preparing and filing bankruptcy petitions for struggling blue collar workers who couldn’t afford to file with a lawyer. It was a rewarding and satisfying career… but another path called to her. Writing.
A.E.’s writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.
Now that she’s gotten over her 10 books published hump, she’s kind of known now for her hardcore, play rough and love hard, bad boy, alphas. However, she does like to push herself to step out of her comfort zone, exploring different tropes, but she won’t push herself into a whole other genre. She’s head over heels for gay romance and she has tons of more hot stories to tell.
Be sure to visit Adrienne on her social media pages and subscribe to her newsletter to never miss another release date! Go to A.E. Via’s official website http://authoraevia.com for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peak at upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next.