You know that old adage about opposites attracting? I’m a firm believer that adages that have been around for a long time usually stick around because they have some element of truth in them.
I have seen opposites attracting in relationships many times. You probably have too. The quiet one who falls for the rebel. The math geek who falls for the artist. The athlete and the bookworm. Okay, so those are all tropes, but we all know they have real life equivalents. Sometimes opposites attracting works and is a good thing, and sometimes it’s an utter disaster. You know, like the helper type who just keeps falling for people who are bad for them over and over again.
Gabriel and Lucas, in my novel Gabriel, are definitely opposites. Lucas is what Gabriel often refers to as a “do-gooder social worker.” He works in foster care and is studying to be a marriage and family therapist. Gabriel, on the other hand, is a former CIA operative and covert missions specialist (a.k.a. assassin). He left that world when he saw himself sinking into darkness and now is a university professor teaching international security, but he still has a lot of hard edges. Lucas seems to be the only one who sees through those edges, and because he does he finds himself attracted to Gabriel. Gabriel feels the attraction too, but he’s equally certain trying to act on it will only end in disaster.
Blurb for Gabriel:
Gabriel Ingram is running from his past. It’s common knowledge at the college where he teaches that he’s a former CIA technical analyst, but no one knows the things he really did—or about the rage and bloodlust that are his constant companions. He’s holding on to his normal life with both hands, but he knows someday he’ll lose his grip.
Lucas Craig is a social worker studying to become a family therapist. For reasons Lucas can’t understand, the normally reclusive Professor Ingram takes an interest in him, and Lucas secretly hopes their friendship might become more.
Then Eric, Lucas’s roommate, disappears. Lucas is frantic. The police are no help. With nowhere else to turn, Lucas begs Gabriel for his expertise.
What starts as a simple errand to help a friend becomes a journey into a violent world of gangs and human trafficking—one that will bring Gabriel face-to-face with the forces intent on stealing his soul. But Lucas might be the one who can save him—if Gabriel can get them out alive.
“I see someone who is good at taking care of everyone but himself,” Ingram replied.
Lucas shifted uncomfortably. That was undeniably true. He thrived on taking care of people. Though he had often been accused of it, he didn’t have some sort of savior complex that compelled him to try to save everyone. But he thoroughly enjoyed taking care of people. He needed it like other people needed time alone or time outdoors. It was part of who he was.
“Guilty,” he replied lightly, shrugging. “There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day.”
“I know that feeling,” Ingram said honestly. “I think everyone does, and juggling graduate school and working in a demanding profession isn’t easy, especially when you don’t see yourself as a priority.”
To his horror Lucas felt the tips of his ears start to burn and knew they were turning vividly red. He’d heard the same from any number of other people for years, but hearing it come from Professor Ingram made him feel like a scolded child. That made no sense at all. He was a virtual stranger. Why should his opinion be more important than those of friends and family he’d known for years? But Lucas certainly felt it in a way he didn’t with other people. The words seemed to weigh heavily on his conscience.
That still made no sense. Lucas wouldn’t deny he was fascinated by Ingram or that he was attracted to him. He might even say he respected him, and he had enjoyed many fantasies that featured him prominently, but that didn’t explain why his few mildly disapproving words would make Lucas squirm like a naughty preschooler. What the hell was that about?
Before Lucas could come to any kind of conclusion, Professor Ingram interrupted his thoughts again. “You’d better go,” he told him. A glance at the clock told Lucas he was right. He was going to have to run to make it to class on time.
“Yeah,” Lucas agreed as he shrugged into his backpack. “Thanks for breakfast.” He gathered up his debris, dumped it into the trash receptacle by the door, and headed for the social work building at a pace just short of a run.
As Gabriel watched Lucas go, he shook his head. Could it be any clearer that he needed to leave the kid alone? Not only was he a student and far too young, he was an innocent—a do-gooder. He didn’t deserve to be sullied by the dark that was in Gabriel’s soul.
Gabriel knew that from the moment he bought that first coffee, but he hadn’t been able to resist. There was something about Lucas’s happy-go-lucky nature that drew him like a magnet. No, happy-go-lucky wasn’t right. Lucas wasn’t airheaded. Nobody could work a suicide hotline and not know something about the darkness and demons that haunted people. He just didn’t let it taint him. It hadn’t left deep scars on his soul, and no one had to inflict that kind darkness on him, least of all someone as damaged as Gabriel knew himself to be.
About The Order of the Black Knights:
Every century has seen its knights. But there are those who are never seen. They do what must be done—what has to be done—when nobody wants to get their hands dirty. They are called the Black Knights. First created in the 1100s by the wizard Moriel, these men seem cold and hard, and it is said that some have no soul. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man who waits inside. The question is whether or not he will kill the individual before he figures it out.
Through the ages, they’ve conquered and ruled and taken what they wanted. And they have adapted to modern times. Instead of being bullies for hire, they have taken their skills further—the Internet, the CIA, government infiltration, hacking, special ops, assassination, but each one of them has a need they don’t understand—to squash, kill, or destroy.
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gabriel-rk-staunton/1126080894
Dreamspinner Press: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/gabriel-by-rk-staunton-8342-b
About the Author:
RK Staunton rebelled against having a Christmas birthday in favor of making an unexpected debut in early fall, and she’s been doing the unexpected ever since. This tendency has resulted in many adventures, including a ten-year stint as a guide in that strange urban jungle called middle school. While entertaining, that expedition ultimately proved too harrowing. After finally making her escape, she turned to a quieter life masquerading as a crazy cat lady living in a small town in the southeastern US.
RK has lived with a menagerie of characters inside her head for as long as she can remember. In a desperate bid to preserve her sanity, she has begun to transcribe the tales they tell her. This endeavor has proven to be fun, occasionally profitable, and cheaper than therapy. It has also fueled raging addictions to caffeine and chocolate on top of her lifelong addiction to books, but everyone is entitled to a vice or three, right?
RK also writes spanking and domestic discipline romances as Ruth Staunton. Right now, these are M/F, but several M/M stories are coming later this year. You can find out more about those books and get a free story here.
Find her Online:
Website – http://www.rkstaunton.com/
Newsletter – http://www.rkstaunton.com/home/newsletter/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rkstaunton/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/rk_staunton
Review by Debbie Attenborough – Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted my copy of this book.
This is book five in the Order of the Black Knights series. You don’t need to have read the others, but you should. Each book has a different author, dealing with the same theme: love, kill, rinse and repeat. Until The One. The One who will stop the cycle. And I am LOVING how each author deals with this theme, really I am.
Gabriel is now professor at a university in the middle of nowhere. Lucas is a student, but not one of Gabriel’s. When Lucas’ flat mate goes missing, Lucas calls on Gabriel’s CIA background to help. And Lucas finds himself in far deeper than he ever imagined.
And just like that, we are back up to 5 full stars!!
I LOVED this one! On a par with Vespar, book three, it kinda grabs you, and doesn’t let you go. Gabriel is, for the most part, hiding. Lucas sets all his radars off in ways he didn’t know he had radars to set off. When Eric, the flat mate, goes missing, Gabriel has to dig deep, far deeper than he knew he could dig, to give Lucas what he needed.
Lucas had noticed Gabriel way before that first cup of coffee appeared before him. And Gabriel pushed all of Lucas’ buttons, in every which way. Gabriel’s past that comes back to help Eric and Lucas brings them far closer than either of them planned, but both desperately needed.
In all the other books, there has been a moment of, almost. . . I dunno if zen is the right word, but a moment when you think…..”oh my freaking god” That moment here came when Gabriel let forth the name of the one who started him on this slippery slope, on the never ending love, kill, rinse, repeat cycle. I was like….”what did he just say?” Because I skim read at the best of times. And I glanced over that bit, stopped dead, went back, stopped again, read it again. Four times it took me rereading that little line for me to fully comprehend what he said. I’ve no idea WHY it took me four times, its just one little name, but there you go. Just needed to say that!
Through a bit of stalking, and digging around Amazon/Goodreads and the like, I have discovered that this author usually writes, and I quote here “romance with a side of spanking” male/female romance. So this is her first attempt at male/male AND the darker/ grittier sort of book.
And my opinion on that attempt?? NAILED IT. As in totally and utterly nailed it.
So, because I read it in one sitting, and because Staunton NAILED it…
5 full stars!
ps, please write more, I’ll read them, I really will!
**same worded review will appear elsewhere**