Russ Andrews has spent all his life in the ninth, fighting in matches to earn the money that lets his family eat. The ring is where he meets the bored new fighter who irritates him and arouses him in equal measure.
A tentative friendship turns into an arrangement of mutual comfort. But then, Gabriel isn’t prepared for the rush of possessiveness he feels for Russ, and Russ isn’t prepared for his world to crumble around him. As things come to a head, they must learn to lean on each other to get through the tough times.
Content warnings: This book is intended for an adult audience as it contains explicit sex, graphic violence, and descriptions of situations where a character is forced to give consent.
Review: This was definitely an interesting book. Gabe has just gotten out of jail. He's from a higher place in society and chooses to move into a lower district. Russ is from the lower district, and like many in the district is held down and oppressed, forced to do things he despises just to get by. Gabe is quiet and reserved. Russ is outgoing, outspoken, and not used to being resisted. It's fun to watch him wear Gabe down, and then we see Gabe is just a protector who feels that he failed and doesn't want to fail again. But try as he might, he can't avoid Russ. Russ can take care of himself but at the same time, it's clearly nice to have someone actually look at and take care of him. Their road isn't easy, there are some misunderstandings, and Russ has to deal with a personal tragedy, but it comes together well in the end. The two are actually a cute and hilarious couple together so I rather love them.