Review: Safe Haven by Caitlin Ricci

Being alone was what Blake had always needed before his new team of bodyguards arrived.

Now things might be very different. At seven years old, Blake’s life was destroyed when he and his parents were abducted and he watched them being murdered. Now, twenty years later, he refuses to leave the house and he lives in a constant state of fear. He has a bodyguard around the clock, a housekeeper who has never seen his face and an uncle who checks on him often but isn’t all that close to him. Blake likes his isolation where only his cat really knows him. 

His bodyguard of eight years is ready to retire, leaving his life in turmoil again. Blake isn’t good with people in general, and new people are the worst. But he needs someone in his house all the time to make him feel safe. His uncle hires a team of bodyguards to replace his old one—Malcolm, CJ and Rex. They come highly recommended, and they’re good at what they do.

They’re also together and it’s a relationship that Blake is instantly fascinated by. He’s never been interested in another person before, and he hasn’t had a real friend since his parents died, because he has refused to leave the house. But with the three of them trying to be there for him, he begins to want a life he has been convinced up to now would be completely impossible.

After I read this one I had to sit on it for a few days. I’ve come to the same conclusion after a couple of days that I had right after I finished. This story is slightly fucked up. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I mean, if the bodyguard trope with a big side of hurt/comfort is your jam, you’ll eat this one up. I found the blurb a little misleading and you should know that before going in. I had the impression this was going to be a four way relationship story, but it was really more of a character study on Blake. This bulk of the book is in his head and his struggles to work through his trauma. I could have gotten behind that story, it would have been really interesting if incredibly heavy.

That’s not what I got though. Blake struggled and the new bodyguards, Malcolm, CJ and Rex comforted him, in . . . ways . . .I . . .just can’t even. Ok, so you know how we’re all familiar with the magic peen? How the alpha male comes along and solves ALL the problems of the hurt MC with his cure-all boner? That magic peen? Well, considering how incredibly damaged Blake was I was ready to ride the magic peen trope pony into this one, kindle a blazing. I figured it would take all three fantastical dicks to get Blake and I healed by the end. BUT, and this is a really big BUT, there is virtually no peen to be found.

In and of itself, a peen free story is not a bad thing and while it wasn’t what I expected, honestly, as messed up as Blake was, a story chock full of dong would have been super weird. My issue was with how Malcolm, CJ and Rex got through to Blake and how Blake accepted the weirdest crap from them. As I said, the story is all from Blake, so the bodyguards are never really fully fleshed out characters and the only real thing I now about them is how each of them fills a specific void in Blake’s psyche. One’s a comforter, one’s a protector and one pushes Blake to challenge his limits. Sounds pretty good huh?

I am by no means a mental health expert, but FFS, I know when a guy hasn’t had physical contact with anyone or stepped outside in twenty years, one of the bodyguards should not pin him down and tell Blake how much power he has over him and how he could hurt him but won’t and isn’t that great, doesn’t Blake feel safer now? I’m thinking that’s the exact opposite of what your bodyguard should do. Said bodyguard should also probably not beat off in front of the camera that connects to Blake’s room because he’s sure Blake is watching, will like it and “wants” them. Seriously, if I’M saying something is inappropriate, it is really, really, really inappropriate. This all happens during the first week or two they work there and while I was slightly horrified, Blake loved it, so who the hell am I to judge really.

All I can say is, if you’re going in, leave reality at the door. All the reality. Blake’s a really likable character and I couldn’t help but root for the guy, plus the story is well written and easy to get sucked into. And Blake did get his HEA, which made me happy. The four ended up with an epilogue that made all their dreams come true. We don’t really know how they got there, but they did and Blake deserved it no matter how unrealistic the journey.

For more information on Safe Haven, check it out on Goodreads.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**


  1. It is interesting to compare this book with J. P. Barnaby's "Aaron". They both feature a similarly traumatized main character. I would image to write a believable story about such a character would require extensive research into emotional trauma, PTSD, and recovery. Without that research the story could get rather divorced from reality. Perhaps that is what happened with this book?

    1. Hi Duncan! Yep, I believe you nailed it. I haven't read Aaron, but I have heard how intense it is and with a character who has survived that much trauma it's exactly what I would expect.

      If the trauma in this one were dialed back from 11 to say, 3 or 4, I might have been able to play along, but the severity and the reality didn't jive so there was definitely a disconnect for me.

      I get why it would work for a lot of readers, it's the ultimate hurt/comfort and if that appeals, then this is the story to read.

      I need to be able to connect the healing and the progression of the story with a healthy dose of realism to be able to buy into any kind of relationship for the MC. But the MC here ended up with his HEA (times three!) so good on him.