Backlash - Jack L. Pyke Review originally posted at Sinfully.

4.5 stars

So here we finally get inside Gray’s head. It took me a bit of time to warm up to Gray after Don’t, but I did come to appreciate his character, flaws and all. Here we finally get to see inside Gray as the man in love, not just the badass MI5 director and MC Dom; Gray reeling from his failure to be there and to protect Jan and Jack; Gray continuing to seek out those who funded the abduction and continuing to take his vengeance on those who have already been caught.

Gray is spiraling. The abduction and the five months Jack was in the psych unit took its toll emotionally and physically. Jan is withdrawing into himself and is changing before their eyes. Jack is trying to hold everyone together but barely has a hold on himself, trying to adjust to being out of the psych ward. Jack is pushing Gray to Dom him again, while Gray is fighting his desire to do just that. Jack and Jan are still having trouble reconnecting and then … well then there is Martin. It seems it’s always one step forward then two steps back. Now someone else is upping their threats against Jack and Jan and Gray is running out of time.

With so much having gone on, it’s hard to believe that only one year has passed in the timeline of the story. To me, this installment, more than any of the others was about the love story and the cementing of the three of them with complete respect for not just the threesome, but the individual relationship dynamics of the pairs as well. That doesn’t mean that Jack L. Pyke is going soft on us though! You know nothing is easy in this series. As much as the men care for each other, it’s so hard for them to get back on track. The intimacies are there, subconsciously coming out when it’s too painful to show during the light of day; the pet names, Jan and Jack moving to each other in their sleep and the fierce protectiveness they all feel for each other.

Jack L. Pyke isn’t one to hold back whether it is the emotional scars, the physical pain or just the pain of not knowing where you stand with the people around you. Jan goes through a lot in this story. I have loved Jan from the start. He is a quieter character and doesn’t get the spotlight and the love that Jack and Gray do from many of the fans, but he is a complex and strong man in his own right. It’s no wonder he is losing it here, doubting his place in Gray’s life, having been left on his own to deal with things when Jack was committed and still recovering from the trauma of his abduction and his actions afterwards.

When Gray realizes he needs help, he brings over his old friend Trace along with Gabe and Darrek (Lynn Kelling’s men from the [b:Deliver Us|13512713|Deliver Us (Deliver Us, #1)|Lynn Kelling||19067666] series). Trace knows how to ground Gray and is not afraid to call him uot, while Darrek brings some comfort for Jan, having been a “vanilla outsider” as well. It is Gabe, however, who has my heart with the scene he shares with Jack at a critical moment in Jack and Gray’s relationship. Gabe is no stranger to abuse and he “Doms” Jack perfectly in an effort to remind him what the BDSM relationship with Gray is really all about.

While Jack’s life was laid bare in the previous installments, here we get a deeper look into Jan and Gray’s past and families. There are a lot of secrets that come out in this installment and some interesting connections are made, some of which had me shaking my head in amazement of how the author lined them all up. Ultimately with the threats to Jack and Jan, there is no choice but to bring Martin in even knowing that the consequences could be devastating. As much of a bastard Martin is, he definitely brings an interesting turn whenever he is on the page.

Though there is a lot of darkness surrounding the men there are still some happy moments and dare I say, some incredibly romantic ones. I love that they all have their pet names for each other and they are still using them, “things” is perhaps one of my favorite pet names ever. There is also Ed who is still such a thorn in Jack’s side and Jan’s mother’s turn sheds some light on just where all that quiet strength comes from.

The relationships take a huge step forward and there is a realization that Martin is not just a nuisance to be avoided and tamed, but a part of the relationship that also needs time to heal. Let me just say, my jaw dropped at the end of the book. I was sad and surprised (though I did manage a laugh as well), but it left me with hope – and not just the hope that Jack L. Pyke is furiously writing book 5 as we speak -- but the hope that these men have finally found the trust and comfort with each other that they need to move forward and become whole again.