I've read several books by Jessica Freely and I've really enjoyed every one of them. So, when I noticed that Broken was up for review I was excited to read and review it. One of the things that I particularly love about Jessica's heroes is that they are wonderfully flawed people. Her characters are very complex and interesting and they have yet failed to immediately grab my attention and keep me enthralled with their story from the beginning of the book, until the final word.
Lately, Eben Flannery has started to become somewhat disillusioned about his job as the muscle behind his older brother's business illegal dealings. Since his brother has basically taken care of him since he was a youngster, Eben tries to push his misgivings aside and follow his brother's orders without too many questions behind the motive behind it. Although he's quite na‹ve, he's aware that his brother does some very shady deals with others and Eben is usually asked to do things he's not comfortable at doing because he loves his brother and feels obligated to him because his older brother has taken care of him since he was a youngster.
When he is asked to pick up a young Chinese man, Song Xiu's, at the airport and deliever him to his brother, Eben is immediately captivated by the innocent looking man. As they chat and the attraction they have for one another starts to sizzle between them as Eben takes Xiu to his brother, Eben feels an emotional connection to the younger man that he can't deny. But, when they arrive to their destination and Eben realizes that Xiu has been bought by his brother from a Chinese warlord to work as a high priced prostitute, Eben is tormented by the devastated look in Xiu's eyes and the rose colored world that Eben had created for himself soon crumbles around him.
I LOVE LOVE LOVED this book! I thought Eben and Xiu's story was a uniquely thought provoking one. The chemistry and forbidden love between a na‹ve gangster and the prostitute with a heart of gold was truly amazing to watch blossom and develop as the story progressed. I loved how both Eben and Xiu's characters do some serious soul searching and changing as they fight to not only come into their own person, but have a warm and loving relationship between them. Both men turned out to be strong willed and I loved their determination to better themselves so they might deserve the happy ending together that they both long for.
Broken is not only a nail biting, fast-paced romance that has quickly become a favorite of mine. I'm looking forward to reading more books written by this thought provoking author while I place Broken on my keeper shelf so I can re-read and enjoy both Eben and Xiu's journey to be together for many years to come.
Eben does what his brother, mob boss Nicky Flannery, tells him, even when he’s not so sure it’s right. Letting Nicky do his thinking for him is a lifelong habit. So is hiding the fact that he’s gay. Then Nicky buys a Hong Kong rent-boy to expand the mob's escort business and Eben's life gets a lot more complicated.
Forced into prostitution, Song Xiu is an unsentimental survivor. He takes his pleasures where he can and leaves his clients weak in the knees. Xiu knows he's hot for Eben's powerful body, but it’s more than that. Eben's kind face and gentle touch give Xiu a strange feeling that no amount of sex or drugs can banish. Is this what people call love?
Eben is instantly attracted to Xiu's erotic beauty, but it's the sweet young man beneath the glossy surface that he falls for. When he learns Xiu's story, he begins to wonder if Nicky is really the hero he grew up worshipping, or something else entirely.
An unguarded moment leads to a passionate encounter that rips away all of Xiu and Eben’s illusions. Suddenly the answers to their questions become alarmingly clear. They have one last chance to rescue each other from their broken lives, but only if they can survive Nicky's retribution.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: dubious consent, male/male sexual practices, menage (m/m/m), prostitution.