Blood and Tears by Ethan Stone is the third in a series. The first book, In The Flesh, introduced us to Cristian and Colby and their world. In the second book, Flesh and Blood, we continue to follow Cristian and Colby, but a new character joins the stage, Gabe Vargas. Gabe is a young Hispanic bisexual man who becomes infatuated with Cristian. In this third book, Blood and Tears, Cristian and Colby take a back seat, allowing Gabe to have his time in the sun.
This story starts off soon after the conclusion of Flesh and Blood. Gabe, having become a victim of a serial killer who has attacked couples across the country, is placed in protective custody, his death faked so his attacker doesn’t continue to pursue him while he tries to regain his memories of the fateful evening that robbed him of his wife.
Agent Drew Bradley is straight, or so he thinks, but as he works with Gabe, trying to help him to remember the events leading to his attack, Drew is shocked to discover he had feelings of attraction towards Drew. As the two spend more time together, the attraction grows until Drew caves and gives in to his foreign urges.
What follows is a blissfully tumultuous series of sexual adventures which steam the pages. It isn’t until another agent, Shannon Stratton, comes to the house where Drew and Gabe have been hiding out. Their sexual escapades continue, but at a diminished pace as Shannon’s intrusion makes things more difficult.
When, eventually, memories begin to resurface, Drew follows every lead desperate to finally end the threat to Gabe’s life and leaving the two of them free to explore their love for one another. No sooner does he accomplish this, then a wrench is thrown into their relationship forcing the two apart.
It isn’t until the last third of the book when the puzzle pieces begin to fall into place and Drew begins to understand what has really been going on and how much danger Gabe is really in. The story ramps up in tension and action until the end.
After reading the first two books, I came to expect a fast-paced, action packed story of suspense and danger. This story took a different tact, much more time dedicated to the development of the relationship between Gabe and Drew. While the emotional journey was touching, there were leaps in Drew’s acceptance of going from straight to gay that seemed a bit quick and easy. Additionally, the pace dragged a bit as the first part of the story wound down and Gabe and Drew moved into their next phase back in Gabe’s hometown. Like I said, it wasn’t until the last third of the book when the action took off and roiled to the end. Finally, some of the dialogue seemed a bit simplistic compared to the first two books.
These elements took some adjusting to in order for me to really get into the book and accept that it wasn’t the same type of story as the first two in the series. Once I got past my surprise at the different style, I was able to truly enjoy the story for what it was. At its heart, this is a story about love and accepting love in whatever form it comes to you. Through trials and heartache, we can’t help but yearn for the two protagonists to make it.
Once again, a lovely story by Mr. Stone. Different, but wonderful nonetheless.
The last thing Gabe Vargas wants to do after losing his girlfriend and nearly dying is leave his young son. But that's exactly what FBI Agent Drew Bradley is asking him to do. According to Drew, the only way to protect Gabe and find the killer is to fake Gabe's death.
With an already established adversarial relationship, protecting a firebrand like Gabe isn't exactly a picnic for Drew either. But when Drew lets his guard down, his feelings of desire for Gabe leave him confused. Before the crime can be solved, Drew will have to risk more than his job. He'll have to risk his heart.