Leveled (Saints of Denver #0.5) by Jay Crownover
Publisher: William Morrow Impulse
Publication Date: December 8, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
“I can’t live my life waiting for it not to hurt before I start existing again.”
This novella was a perfect bridge to the new series. I mean I always wondered if Orlando found happiness after Remy’s death and now we finally know. 😀 I feel like all these characters from the Marked Men, the place, this family has been a part of me for so long that I fall more and more in love with them. Orlando “Lando” Frederick is one of the characters that deserved more than what he ended up with; at the time; with losing his first love the way he did. That has scarred him and there has not been anyone else who has challenged him to really heal from Remy’s death, until one particular wounded cop walks into his practice in need for physical therapy.
Dominic Voss just wants to finish his therapy so he can get his badge back. He never expected to feel all those sparks flying when he meets Lando for the first time, recommended by a mutual friend. Sparks flew between them and that surprised both with their intensity and their persistence. There was healing but also pain. Both of these characters faced their fears and experience things that make them realize just how lucky they are. Overall this theme is forgiveness, life and a love overcoming fear.
Leveled exceeded my expectations. It made me fall for the two broken men who found their way to each other. These two men was on the verge of losing it, both for different reasons. If you notice when you read this novella you will notice that Dom is in his own personal hell trying to heal so he can go back to work. He always dreamt of being a cop and his terrified he will never go back to it. Orlando on the other hand spent years after losing the love of his life utterly lost before being in a good place again. While this was a novella, it still felt like a full-length novel. It never felt rushed and the reluctant relationship was given a chance to develop. What I also loved about this book was the cameos of the characters from the Marked Men series.
“Bad stuff happens sometimes and it happens to people we care about. You can’t live insulated because you are scared of getting too close.”
This novella was truly a perfect bridge to the end of The Marked Men series and the beginning of the Saints of Denver series. I also did not know what to expect from this book as it was the first ever M/M novel from Jay and so closely tied to all those we loved. I love the little conversation in the gym with Sayer, and Dom’s keen observation between Sayer and Zeb. Those little glimpses just made me even more antsy to dive into Built and see what’s going on between the pretty lawyer and the gruff contractor. As always Jay brought the angst, the troubled leading men, the romance, the hot sex and a fantastic story to back all of that up. I suggest you get off your ass and get your hands on this novella so you can get ready for Built!!!
“I’d kissed plenty of boys in my time but never one that made my head spin to the point that it made me forget where I was.”