Absolution (The Protectors, Book 1)

Absolution (The Protectors #1) - Sloane Kennedy Review originally posted at Sinfully.

4.5 stars

This is a fast moving story, with drama, action, plot twists, lots of sexual tension, some insta-love and three very different but loveable main characters. Jonas, Mace and Cole are all seeking some form of absolution for something haunting them and that’s what results in their paths eventually crossing. Each character’s point of view is presented in alternating chapters which helped give them all a distinct voice and personality.

Jonas – How could anyone not want to protect this man? Kicked out of his home at 14 and forced to do what he needed to survive on the streets, he has suffered unspeakable horrors and is still plagued by some survivor’s guilt over the murder of his friend so many years ago. He has finally gotten his life together and is ready to build his dream art studio and gallery. Sweet, vulnerable and unaware that someone is out to kill him.

Mace – He is such an interesting character. Obviously he has suffered some trauma and is hanging onto enormous pain and guilt that drives him to do what he does as an ex-cop now working as an assassin for an underground group that takes out people who prey on the vulnerable. Sent to kill Jonas, who is believed to be a pedophile, he hasn’t been able to bring himself to pull the trigger for weeks. He is having a hard time believing that the Jonas he sees could have done what he’s accused of and so he goes undercover to work as a handyman renovating the studio space to convince himself that he’s doing the right thing, yet winds up complicating matters even more.

Cole – A man anyone would want to have their back. An ex-Navy SEAL, seeking information from Jonas about the sister he lost. His family was torn apart when she ran away and Cole is now dealing with the grief of finding out about her death, as well as his alcoholic father. He wants some answers from Jonas and gets more than he bargained for. Presumably straight, he can’t explain the attraction he feels towards Jonas but when Mace enters the picture, the dangerous man entices him just as much.

Mace seems to develop almost an obsessive need for Jonas once he starts spending time around him, which obviously complicates his mission. When Cole shows up at Jonas’ door and the two start spending time together, Mace’s jealousy starts to get the best of him. All the while, Mace is putting off pulling the trigger, hoping to find that Jonas is innocent, but in doing that he places Jonas in more danger as it becomes likely his boss will hire someone else to take care of the job. When the whole thing starts to fall apart is becomes very clear that both Mace and Cole will put their lives on the line to protect Jonas. I don’t want to get into any more since I thought the plot was very well done and wouldn’t want to ruin the story.

So it’s no secret that I love m/m/m and this story has something I’ve been searching out and don’t find enough of and that’s a situation where none of the men are in a relationship with each other before they get together as a threesome. They are complete strangers thrown into each other’s paths by the situation and their needs and wants are met without a previous power dynamic driving things. With the intensity of what was happening, I was able to buy the insta-love aspect of the story, something which is always a hit or miss situation for me. The sexual tension and chemistry between the three men, both in and out of bed, was amazing! Whether it was just two of them interacting or all three together, Sloane Kennedy did a great job of making them all equal in the relationship. I loved the bond they had and the way they each tried to protect the others.

The story contains plenty of action, a compelling plot and sex scenes that are both scorching hot but still tender and loving. I really liked the way the author wove the men’s pasts together and the complexity of the plot. While all their past suffering could have dragged the story down into an angst-fest, I thought it was just dramatic enough to pull me in and keep me rooting for the men to find out what was going on and defeat it together.

This was my first read from Sloane Kennedy and I’ll be looking forward to getting my hands on the next book in the series when it comes out.