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Review: Blood Brothers by Susan Arden

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Blood Brothers
Author: Susan Arden
Reviewer: B.
Rating: C+


What I’m Talking About:

Having returned from war soul-worn and defensive, Tristen is a prisoner of his own nightmares, only finding relief in the arms of his lover, Fin. Still haunted by his own experiences in battle, Fin has given Tristen everything he can, without having his own needs met, in turn. Bringing someone else into the already complicated situation might not be the best idea, but something has to give, and soon, or they could lose each other forever. Maybe one night with a stranger who can push both their boundaries is exactly what they need to break down the walls between them once and for all.

I was torn when reading Blood Brothers, and found myself considering the narrative from two distinct perspectives. One of those viewpoints includes an appreciation for unabashedly explicit sex scenes, the other being my desire to be captivated by a well-written story that is colored throughout by the heat and eroticism shared between the various characters. As varied as the definition of “erotic fiction” has become, either fits well in this case.

Tristen and Fin are both interesting creations and have evolved from “friends with benefits,” to lovers, to potential wolf shifter mates. That they care deeply about each other is obvious throughout the story, but their lack of communication is so profound that it nearly destroys their relationship. The miscues and resulting frustration became difficult to watch after a while, yet they added a great deal of meaning to what would have otherwise been an implausible attachment.

Primarily, Blood Brothers is about sex. Sex with Fin is Tristen’s preferred way of dealing with his nightmares, whereas Fin prefers yoga to keep the memories at bay. By turns, Tristen’s tendency to call the shots in bed while refusing to fully dominate Fin only serves to make Fin realize that his need for an even rougher edge isn’t being met, leaving him bitter and distant. Fin’s plan to invite a vampire into their bed for one night, in the hope of pushing Tristen to accept Fin’s needs and meet them as his lover, has some unintended, yet not unexpected, consequences. The entire progression is filled with more combinations of partners and positions than I could really keep track of, which unfortunately tended to run together after a while and lose some of its impact.

As to the story itself, I think reading the first book in the series might have been helpful. The working relationship between the primary and secondary characters, and the businesses involved, wasn’t completely clear, but, in this particular short, these details were less important than the shifters’ sexual encounters. Which is completely fine, and a quality that Blood Brothers readily delivers. I just had a difficult time feeling invested in either Tristen or Fin outside of the bedroom, which was a bit of a disappointment.

Overall, Blood Brothers was a somewhat conflicting read. In terms of purely sexual content, there was a generous variety to be enjoyed, including bouts of rough sex, explicit dialog, multiple partners, and other “extras” that are the result of the various natures of the participants. However, this was so much the case in several instances that it was difficult for me to remain fully engrossed in the scene. I found Tristen and Fin a little difficult to connect to during parts of the narrative, even though the repercussion of their time on the battlefront certainly made me want them to find real happiness with each other. I liked the seriousness given, not just to Tristen’s nightmares, but to Fin’s need to explore his emerging kink very much, as well as the importance placed on their need to fully trust themselves as much as one another. Although I felt that these characters had more to offer than the length of the narrative allowed, I’m very curious to see what the other potential facets of this series may bring to light.  

Rating: C+  Liked It — But I had issues

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About the Book:

As wolf shifters, Tristen and Fin’s loyalty knows no bounds. Yet these close shifters lack the ability to speak from the heart. This pervasive silence leaves them without the means to overcome problems plaguing their relationship. Tristen suffers from PTSD and refuses Fin’s suggestions for help. Fin becomes a shifter of fewer and fewer words. As lovers, they meet each other’s beta needs until Fin craves a rougher edge. A kinky edge. 

Santo, another ex-soldier and vampire is looking for work, a place to belong after he swears off bloodsucking, given his battlefield experiences.

Now, the three come together for a night of kink, learning that sex can be a means to discover deeper desires. Fin and Tristen must decide if they will stay together, or if sex with a seductive vampire is the doorway to the end.

Release Date: October 4, 2013
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Series: Rocky Mountain Shifters #2 
Genre: GLBT, Paranormal Romance, Erotic
Format(s): e-book
Book Source: Publisher

Purchase Info:
Blood Brothers (Rocky Mountain Shifters #2)

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