Guest Review: Breaking Free (The Den Boys #3) by A.T. Brennan

“I would never forgive myself if something happened to another man I cared about because I’d been careless and given in to temptation.” ~ Zander

The last thing I was looking for was a relationship, then I laid eyes on a dancer at a nightclub and my entire world was flipped upside down. Kai is everything I’ve ever wanted, but shouldn’t have. I’m haunted by a past I can’t seem to break free from, and I’m not sure I can be the man Kai deserves. He makes me want to try, but I worry that I’m broken beyond repair.

“There was already a big enough stigma attached to being a go-go dancer, but add being a webcam model to the mix and people tended to assume things about me.” ~ Kai

School, dance, cam, repeat. My life was on a constant loop as I struggled to keep my head above water. After seeing Zander in the crowd while I was dancing, I knew I had to meet the handsome stranger who took my breath away. I don’t know if I’m the right man to help set him free from his pain, but I’m going to do everything I can to try and help him see that the past doesn’t have to define his future.

*This is Book 3 of The Den Boys series, but can be read as a standalone. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and trigger warnings are listed in the book before the table of contents.

*This 74,000 word book is intended for an 18+ audience. It is a story of male/male romance and love. There are graphic depictions of man parts doing naughty and sexy things, so please be sure this is the kind of book for you before reading.

Reviewer: NeRdyWYRM

Most Bestest

This whole series has caught me by surprise. The angst remains low-key and the characters are very believable.

In this installment, we get to see Zander's story. The big, protective guy we got a peek of here and there in the first couple of books gets his time to shine here. I wondered what his story was, since he seemed so reserved all the time, and now that I know I kind of wish I didn't. It's some seriously sad shit.

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I absolutely loved Skylar/Kai. He was unapologetic about who he was, what he did, and he went after what he wanted. He was strong, and astute, and had a freaking adorable personality to boot. He and Zander were perfect for each other.

There were some bumps in the road, sure, but no OTT craziness to speak of. These guys communicated after a little bit of a hiccup in the beginning and worked on their relationship. What a concept!

I'm duly impressed with this author's reinterpretation of some fairly common themes. Rather than being predictable or formulaic, what you get with this series and this book is the road less traveled, and it is:

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It's not all rainbows and unicorns, no worries! There are a few niggles. It could be a little more polished. I get the sense that maybe the author is just catching their stride here ... these titles are getting progressively better, and quickly. I can see the positive changes from book 1 to now, so I have no doubt things will continue to improve. Given that the writing didn't start off at anything resembling an extreme disadvantage, I'm excited to see any further growth.

Sometimes the pacing is erratic; it's occasionally too rushed in some areas and almost meandering in others. And although I'm enjoying (immensely) the low-angst reads, in the world these guys live in things are almost too easy.

I know that's a little contradictory given what I said about the themes vs plotlines being refreshingly 'outside of the box' but I think kicking things up a half a notch would make the series more believable over the long term chronologically speaking.

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Even if there was just a single continuous thread running through the series, something that plagued the group as a whole across the series, that would make these 5 star reads. I think it's a classic divergence of standalone vs continuity. While these are fantastic in that they can be read separately, I think they'd be better with an overarching theme.

Maybe I'm on crack (not!) or maybe I'm tired (always!) but I'm standing by what I've said here. I realize I'm a bit of an outlier amongst other reviewers of this title who fell more in the 'average' range, but these books—this one in particular—really appealed to me.

Is it earthshattering? No. But it's been a week since I read it and I've forgotten very few of the details. That is not common with my brain (TBI) and nor is it the norm considering the number of books I read every week. The fact that it's sticking with me so easily means it resonated as an overall fantastic read.

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I'm excited to see what comes next. I recommend this book for anyone who wants a relatively stress-free read with well-developed characters and relative real-world authenticity.

More reviews by NeRdyWYRM can be found on Goodreads here.
Images (when present) may be subject to copyright.
An ARC copy of this title was provided for an honest review.

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