This book ripped my heart out with the heartbreaking story. At the same time, it was a wonderful story of the strength of people to heal through love and support. This book tackled a too often overlooked kind of abuse, that of domestic violence by women against men. It's apparently a taboo subject because rarely discussed or read about, in both fiction and real life. The result is that the male victims become even more shamed to speak out and their abuse desensitized on what occurs to them. The abuser is rarely held responsible. The fact that it's a woman doing the abuse and not a man shouldn't make one bit of f'in' difference yet way too often it does in our society.
I felt this book did an amazing job tackling such a difficult subject. There was no magical get over it pill that occurs early in the story between Mark and Raven. Mark has to be patient and keep trying. It takes a while for Mark to convince Raven to go on a date and their first kiss takes some time. My heart broke for Raven because of the healing he still needed to do. He was such a wonderful character, and an amazing father to the way too adorable Ryan. Raven has to learn to stand on his own, become more confident in himself and take a chance on trusting Mark with his son and his heart. Mark isn't perfect either - he's a natural protector and tries too hard but his heart is truly in the right place and Raven eventually realizes that and takes a chance on them. They heal throughout the book. The sex doesn't happen right away. When it happens, it's actually too early and they back track a bit. They learn from their mistakes, say they are sorry and try again. It's baby steps but incredibly real. This was a realy emotional read for me because the story was so raw and felt so real in how the couple overreacted, miscommunicated and hid things. Then...they slowly started to trust and take a chance on the other and it was a lovely thing to follow because you saw they were going to make it work because they weren't going to give up. Mark simply knocked my socks off in his refusal to give up.
We also get more of the chaotic, but delightful, menage that is Zak-Brody-Lark (or as Mark calls Lark, "the meddlesome, match making twink" :) )from the first book and the too adorable kids of Wolf and Ryan. This is the second book I've read by this author and I'm now going to tackle this author's back list. Excellent job with a tough subject that deserves way more attention than it gets.