Review: The Runaway Gypsy Boy (Irish Runaway #1) by Brina Brady

Twenty-year-old Daniel Serban loses his dancing job and threats of being outed to his family forces him to flee Limerick, Ireland. Daniel fears his father and the other gypsy men will force him to marry his betrothed, or bring bodily harm to him for being gay.

As chance would have it, he ends up in Cleary’s Pub, a gay leather bar in Galway where he meets the grouchy, ginger-bear Ronan O’Riley. Little did Daniel know meeting the ginger Dom would change his life style as he knew it.

Ronan O’Riley has been unable to move on to another sub since the death of his sub a year ago, that is until a troubled gypsy boy steps into Cleary’s. Ronan’s lonely life is about to change.

Can Ronan convince Daniel to trust him or will Daniel’s fears of his past ruin any chance of a relationship? Unexpected heated attraction in the barn ignites their relationship to move forward. Though, the two men have many of the same dreams, Daniel’s secrets and Ronan’s need to gain Daniel’s trust outlines some of the many challenges they face.

***DNF 8%***

Yes, I’m aware the amount of pages I’ve read is ridiculous but this is a disaster of a book. In the dedication section the author mentions 15 beta readers. I have no idea if that’s usual but the number only made me ponder this fact for a while.

And yet I couldn’t stand this book. Unless you count the multiple times I had to put the kindle on my face and laugh… and laugh and laugh, and keep laughing… so as not to cry.

I was ready to DNF this in just the first scene. But who does that unless it’s a sample? Well, let me tell you that, were this a sample, I would not have bought the book. I’d have thrown it as far as I could and forget about it forever. But I told myself I had to keep going, I had to give it a chance. Who knows, one scene is just one scene, things can get better.


Well, the problem was not the scene.

I wish.

The problem was the whole book and, yes, I’m daring enough to say that only after reading 8% of it, but that’s more than enough to know I won’t be wasting my time in this.

I don’t make decisions casually. I have a long list of reasons.

Let’s begin with the narrator voice. It’s so judgmental, so know-it-all. Instead of driving you subtly into forming your own opinion, the narrator immediately condemns one character or another. Leaving to one side these characters are indeed cruel/ignorant/abusive, these opinionated statements only manage to irritate me and grate on my nerves. Assuming that, no matter what, I will always agree with them.

No fuck*** way.

Daniel was unable to free himself from his cruel employer.

His ignorant father had arranged her marriage at the young age of fourteen.

He’d enough of that at home with his abusive dad.

The “enemies” of this story are so absurd they look like cartoons. They are cruel/ignorant/abusive, they have “potbellies” and similar negative qualities. This leads to the assumption that bad people are terribly ugly, and that’s why you have to mistrust them, whereas good people are all beautiful and attractive. I don’t hate many things in life, but this, these prejudices drive me totally mad. This upsets me endlessly.

This description about the potential “rivals” of Daniel for Ronan’s qualities as a Dom(These two subs are cousins and they smack each other’s butts. I’m aware there are family-related people who have sex together but the idea of imagining them like that in this book is simply wrong to me):

He (Ronan) knew both Kevin and Jack wanted him to Dom them together, but he wasn’t interested in them on a sexual level. Jack shaved his head, had too many piercings and tats for Ronan’s liking. Kevin was too perfect and not much of a challenge. He also had a few too many tats, but not as many piercings as Jack. The boys have small pot bellies from drinking too much beer and they were both a bit on the lazy side. There wasn’t any magic going on between his legs when he was around them, not like he felt with Daniel.

See? The narrator doesn’t give me a choice to either like/dislike them because she has already made that decision for me, treating me like an idiot who needs guidance in coming to her own conclusions. There is no way I will ever be able to like them, simply because of this single paragraph. I feel stupid reading this.

I feel like a sheep, baaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

The story begins with Daniel beginning his workday in a dancing club. He is the son of a gypsy leader and only dreams about escaping this world by earning enough money to flee. During the day he paints walls, during the night he swirls around a pole. But he’s not lucky, his father is a shady powerful personality, whereas his boss is an abusive bastard that, as soon as he learns he’s a gypsy and that his father has stolen money, he kicks him out (literally speaking) giving him no choice but to disappear once and for all from the area. Because, else, he will be forced to marry and live the life his father imposes him to.

He’s read in a newspaper/magazine about a man who saves abandoned/mistreated horses and trains them and finds them a home (awwww, surely he has to be a good person!) that’s where he is headed. Close to his destiny, he finds a pub and goes into it to have a drink. He doesn’t realize his is a gay BDSM club. Not even when he notices everybody is male. Not even when he sees everybody is wearing leather. Not even when he sees he’s the weird one there.

There, this huge Dom notices him and approaches him. Ronan, the Dom, suddenly has this idea of giving him a lesson. Out of the blue. Just because he’s convinced Daniel needs to be taught respect. So he grabs him and smacks him and he doesn’t stop until Daniel calls him “Sir”.

At this point I was so shocked I couldn’t even blink. I mean, the idea of a so-called Dom (and a stranger) manhandling someone like that in a public place and nobody intervening to stop it is so outrageous and ridiculous it’s driving me nuts just picturing it.

And if that wasn’t enough, Daniel is so excited he has a hard-on and is leaking pre-cum in his jeans.

I mean… What?

Seriously… What?

But that doesn’t stop here because Ronan doesn’t seem content with jumping all over Daniel like he owns him but he also forbids Daniel to drink beer.

I mean… What?

Seriously… WHAT?

“You don’t need to drink alcohol. I don’t want you making any more bad decisions this evening.”

Sorry? Who do you think you are? What gives you the right to behave that way? What gives you the right to give orders like that to a person you have just met? Touching him without permission, hitting him on the butt, demanding him to call you a certain way, forcing him to confess why he’s there and what he’s escaping from, and denying that person the rightfully chance to have the drink he fancies unmolested.

Ronan is not a Dom, he’s an abusive asshole. If I ever met him, I’d be ringing the police and running in the opposite direction.

And he has issues. I mean, real issues. Like, he’s a control freak. But I’m not referring to the kinky aspect.

He decides to pay the two cousin subs to follow Daniel.

“I want you to follow him when he leaves. Text me where he settles in for the evening.”

How do these subs react?

The expressions on their faces turned to disappointment. He knew why, but he couldn’t help that he wasn’t attracted to them.

OMFG, he’s not only a controlling bastard, but he is also an arrogant and insufferable bully. Like, taking for granted everybody will giving their kidneys for free in order to be spend one single night with him and thank him afterwards.

I. Can. Not. Stand. Him.

But wait, there is more. He looks for Daniel in the Internet. I mean, he’s not a stalker, not at all. (Damn, this book is like the guidelines of “How to recognize you are dating an abusive bastard” *facepalm*.)

And shockingly, he finds Daniel’s father on Facebook. As easy as that.

IDK about you, but this gives me the creeps.

Ronan knows nothing of Daniel but he’s already “his boy”.

“Make sure that mean Scot doesn’t go near my boy.”

He talks about Daniel as if he were talking about a piece of meat. Like, “Don’t eat my meat, dude.”

Fuck this shit.

He needed to prove to himself he could Dom a boy like Daniel and make him submit. He wanted to protect him better than he had Finney.

So it’s not for Daniel’s sake, but for himself, “he needed to prove to himself he could Dom”. I can’t even! Are you using Daniel for entirely selfish reasons! To stroke your ego.

I didn’t know I could hate you even more.

“Bessie, I think I found myself a new boy. He’s a bad boy and needs a strong hand to guide him. He has long brown hair, but I never saw his eyes. He wore these damn sunglasses in the bar. I think he was hiding a whopper of a shiner. I wonder what he’s been through. I think he needs me, and I need him.”

On what basis can you say that he needs you and that you need him? How do you know he’s a bad boy? Just because he refused to call you “Sir” and tell you his problems and that he protested when you forbid him to drink alcohol?

Who do you think you are?

How can this be romantic by any means?

However, he didn’t believe he could force Daniel to go home with him.

Thank God you realize that! *sarcastic*

See why I was all this while laughing my ass off?

Ronan’s dialogue with his brother is totally nuts:

“Why did you whip his ass on your first meeting? Is that normal?”

“There is no normal. He was disrespectful, so I made a bet with him that I could teach him to respect me.”

“Like you used to do with me. You even locked me up in the dog cage.”

“But you got even with me when you told Da about it,” Ronan said.

“I didn’t like you locking me in a dog cage or spanking me.”

“It was only ten minutes. I timed it and never left you alone.”

Forgetting about the incestuous relationship (I mean, WTF?, spanking your own brother in a sexual sense? And you treat that theme so casually?) is the author trying to demonstrate Ronan’s “Domanship” is innate? That it’s just his nature and that’s why he instinctively began spanking his brother?


I’m freaking out.

Seriously, this book freaks me out.

I think he not only spanked his brother’s butt but he also smacked him in the head when he was little.

Listen to this:

“I was easy on him, just took him over my knee and spanked him until he called me Sir.”

“That’s exactly what you used to do to me. I hope you Dom another sub soon, before you retort to practicing on me again.”

“I guess I could practice on you, but it wouldn’t work for us. You’re not my type, plus I found my new boy.”

INCEST, PEOPLE, INCEST!!!! It’s not the sexual hint among relatives I have a problem with. It’s this frivolousness in which it’s written and displayed. I’ve read books about this topic that are so masterly written I can only say I’m in awe. But this… This is supposed to be a jokey dialogue but I can’t indulge them, I can’t carry on with his charade. This is too surreal!!!

“What do you know about him?”

“Not much. He’s independent, though, and he looks like he’s on the run. The thing is, he made me feel like living. He gives me hope that I’m ready to Dom again. As soon as I saw him come in, I knew he was going to be mine.”

For God’s sake, you only got to see him once and you spent those five minutes spanking him and you already know he’s the love of your life?


Ronan has had lots of practice in his bully record.

When Finney got sick, he had controlled every inch of his sub’s life, but that wasn’t enough, because in the end, Ronan couldn’t save him. His thoughts circled with every possible combination of what ifs. Nothing had mattered. Finney was gone. Ronan couldn’t protect him from death. He blamed himself for not being strict enough with him before he’d gotten ill.

Have I just read an apology of domestic violence? Maybe not physical violence per se but this controlling hint is not reassuring at all.

How can this be called “romantic”?

But do not worry, because Ronan was so heartbroken and so sad. Deep inside, he’s a teddy bear!

He hadn’t had a sub in over a year, not since his last one, Finney, had passed away. Ronan’s heart ached and he had shed many tears for the gorgeous, loving lad.

Awwwwww, I’m so touched. I’ve forgiven him after reading this.

Not at all.

In my dictionary, these relationships are abusive, nothing related to D/s. I've read books with D/s and domestic discipline in them and I can see the trust and the devotion towards each other. But this? This is an atrocity of a D/s relationship. They never speak for real, never form a bond, never are in their shared-little-world where only both of them exist. Here the Dom has already made up his mind, without putting Daniel's needs first, without knowing him first. I don't see instinct nor devotion nor love here, not even lust! Not that I'm an expert but... it sounds so wrong to me.

It’s time to turn the page. Now we’ll talk about stereotypes. Gypsies stereotypes. The narrator and the characters are clearly full of prejudices. Gypsies are these dirty untrustworthy trash criminals whose only goal in life is marrying and having 10 kids before the age of 20 and while they do that they steal everything they can put their hands on whenever they can.

I’m so disgusted and uncomfortable by all these assumptions that I can simply not overlook them. I’m not going to say it’s racism but I have to admit reading these hints makes me so uncomfortable I don’t care if the author is really crossing an invisible line or not. For me, it’s insulting and humiliating enough to consider a serious DNF.

The general book is so judgmental it’s offensive. These unfortunate comments were totally out of place. I’ve read other books with gypsies and prejudices but none of them were so obvious as to show in such a categorical statement that ALL the people in a certain group are a certain way, a VERY NEGATIVE way, no alternative available.

“Do you know what they say about gypsies?”


“They are usually thieves and never stay in one place, so be careful. I’m just worried about you.”

“I know you are. I tried to buy him a soda and he refused. He said he likes to pay his own way.”

I beg your pardon? What has anything to do with buying him a soda and him refusing that? I’m sorry, I failed my last intelligence test.

No, it’s not only the opinion of one character, but this perspective of things is inherent in the narrator’s voice, in the recounting of events, in the tale of Daniel’s past. Everywhere. And it drags you to have the same opinion. Because, as I said, the narrator is like that.

“I guess you’re going to have to teach him who’s the big boss.”

“I did. I bought him a soda and took his beer away.”

What’s going on with that soda? For real?

Also, this is so calculated, so forced.

He wanted to paint all the stables green, but there weren’t enough hours in a day to do everything. He’d planned on hiring someone to help him, but hadn’t found anyone he wanted to work closely with.

Oh, Daniel used to work painting walls! He’s heading to Ronan’s exact ranch. This is all such a big coincidence! It’s destiny! They are meant to be together! (I don’t know if you noticed but this is a sarcastic comment)

There is also a little of American patronizing. I mean, the characters are supposed to be Irish or at least European. So it’s only logical the narrator and the characters think in an Irish, European way. It’s so inappropriate to say a horse is 14hh tall or that “he must be of drinking age, which is eighteen in Ireland.” The narrator has to have a consequent perspective of things, have a voice adapted to circumstances of place and time. So please, speak in “cm” and don’t say “which is eighteen in Ireland” because it’s totally obvious this is an American POV and it sounds as if the narrator is explaining things to kids in a museum. As if Europe was a museum and people living there were animals in a zoo with these exotic lifestyles.

It’s exasperating.

For all these reasons, I’m unable to keep reading: the stereotyped and offensive version of gypsies, the bidimensional characters, the confusion of the D/s dynamics with an abusive relationship, the ridiculous insta-lust and insta-love, the judgmental and condescending narrator, the hurried and clumsy storyline.


Sorry not sorry.

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