Santuario book #2
Not all wounds are visible.
Skanian investigator Bengt fell in love with fellow policeman Alex Rukow in a week. But that was a year ago, and they’ve been apart ever since. Then Alex escapes the corrupt and destitute island nation of Santuario and comes to live with Bengt. Happy ever after . . .?
Alex’s lifelong dream of leaving Santuario has come true at last. But he finds himself adrift in a society he doesn’t understand. Worse, past nightmares come back to haunt him, and after so many years of suspicion and self-reliance, it’s harder than he imagined to trust someone else.
Bengt just wants Alex to share his comfortable life. But the more he tries to give, the more Alex pulls away. Their physical connection couldn’t be better, but Bengt can’t seem to get through to his difficult, taciturn lover outside the bedroom. Meanwhile, he has his own demons to confront—not to mention a serial killer on the loose.
Bengt and Alex must dig deep for the courage to face their pasts, but it may be too late to save their relationship or their lives.
Grab your copy of The Other Side of Winter now from Riptide or Amazon!
~ Tams 3.5 star Review ~
It's been a year since Bengt and Alex finally succumbed to their mutual attraction, the night before Bengt had to return to Skanian without Alex. Bengt has longed for the day his lover could escape Santuario and join him in Skanian and now that Alex is finally in his arms, in his bed, he vows to never let the man leave. Alex is so used to living his life in a constant state of fear and distrust that he has a hard time adjusting to a somewhat normal existence. The slightest noise makes him jump, he is always looking over his shoulder, and Bengt's larger than life presence and family quite literally scare the shit out of him. With both men walking on eggshells around each other, scared to say or do the wrong thing, a comment made in the heat of the moment is missunderstood by Alex and he flees, fearing Bengt no longer wants him with him.
Alex is trying to get through the Skanian version of the police academy so he can stand on his own two feet, not continue to rely on his lover to support him financially. And Bengt is off working a case, a child killer that hits too close to home for the gentle giant and the powers that be seem to be blocking his investigation at every turn. To say they keep missing each other, while missing each other and missunderstanding each other is an understatement. Someone just needs to lock these two in a room, but chain them in separate corners, so that they have to talk and figure everything out. But is it just too little, too late?
I was able to immerse myself more into the wildly imaginative world Gordon has created with the Santuario series after figuring out all the terms, words and sayings in the first book. I would still LOVE to see a glossary or index of terms in the beginning of these books, it's a pain in the toosh to have to google a word to see what it means while I'm wrapped up in a story. What turned me off about this installment of the Alex and Bengt saga was the overabundance of angst and the lack of communication between them, unless they were naked and in bed. They definitely have the sex part down to an art, it's the talking, trusting and opening up they need to work on. That being said, I understand that a huge part of the character make up is Alex's past and his issues with trust, with feeling safe anywhere. And Bengt is the large and in charge personality that just wants to protect and love Alex, but there was a good hundred pages of this book that went overboard in that area and that put a damper on the overall outcome of the story for me.
What kept me going, kept me eager to turn each page, was the need to know where these two were going to land in the end. That, and the mystery of who killed that little girl, and why are Bengt's bosses so hell bent on covering it up? Does no one care that a child's life was snuffed out so violently?? So, there is definitely a good murder mystery plot going behind the scenes while these two unlikely lovers try and figure out if the love and passion they share is enough to sustain a relationship long term.
If you like dystopian, sci fi type stories that center around a couple of guys that can't keep their hands off each other, then I think you'll love this one.
~ An Excerpt ~
By the time the first passengers trickled through the gate, he’d worn himself ragged with worry and longing. More and more memories flooded back as he searched the crowd that looked so exotic and so familiar at the same time. The deeply tanned faces, the foreign clothing, the men with their short hair—anticipation made his skin tingle.
Then his heart skipped a beat.
There, at the back of the crowd.
He’d recognize that lithe walk anywhere. Black boots, black pants, white shirt—his out-of-uniform uniform. A scuffed and faded olive kit bag slung over one shoulder. Alex. He’d come.
It finally hit Bengt how improbable that was, or maybe he could just now bear to acknowledge it. They’d known each other for little more than a week, had spent one night together. How likely was it that either of them would even remember, much less be obsessed with the other to the point of exclusion? Bengt’s sex life had been virtually nonexistent this past year. He just hadn’t been able to get interested in anyone else beyond the occasional one-night stand that was purely about blowing off steam. Had Alex?
He was leaner than Bengt remembered, his cheeks hollow, with that five-o’clock shadow Bengt could still feel rasping against the palm of his hand. He’d taken Bengt’s advice and grown his hair, now shoulder length, curling at the ends, begging to be grabbed. Bengt swallowed hard.
Alex walked carefully, trying not to bump into anyone, keeping his eyes low. Bengt watched him make his way through the crowd, willing him to look up. When he finally did, right into Bengt’s eyes, he stopped dead, eyes going wide, and the expression on his face went straight to Bengt’s cock.
Soul, he wanted to kiss those half-open lips, rip every thread of clothes off that body, and make sure once and for all he hadn’t just dreamed that night by the ocean.
Jostled from behind, Alex started out of his trance and hesitantly made his way through the barrier to where Bengt was waiting. He scanned the crowd milling about the arrival hall, then looked back at Bengt and held out his hand in a wooden welcome.
Bengt went to pull him in for a hug, but Alex’s stiff embarrassment forbade that kind of familiarity, so Bengt made do with the buddy greeting of holding Alex’s arm just below the elbow and giving his biceps a gentle squeeze with the other hand. Trying to breach the awkwardness of the moment, he leaned in to whisper, “We’re a little more greedy here. We grab the whole arm.”
Alex didn’t smile, just gave a brief nod and hitched his kit bag farther up his shoulder, eyes and face more noncommittal and shuttered than ever, and with Alex that was saying something.
Bengt pulled back, suddenly cold in the air-conditioned hall. Had Alex come for him, or just to escape? Or because he’d felt obliged? Bengt nodded toward the exit. “Let’s get out of here. Car’s parked in front.”
They didn’t speak as Alex stowed his meager luggage in the back, nor when Bengt navigated the big Forstmann off-roader out of airport traffic. Now and then, Bengt stole a glance at Alex’s profile, trying to gauge his mood, find a starting point, a connection, anything. But all that was abundantly clear was how wired Alex was, tension rolling off him in waves to the point where Bengt felt like a man standing on a tower made of china teacups. One wrong move and the whole thing would grind to dust beneath him.
He saw Alex glance at the radio and, glad for the opening, turned it on and indicated the tuning button. “No Son music here, I’m afraid, but feel free to hunt for a station you like.”
After a bit of fiddling, Alex, to Bengt’s surprise, settled for classical music, and turned up the volume a bit. He leaned back and closed his eyes, letting the music wash over him, and some of the tension finally bled from his shoulders.
Bengt pressed his lips together to keep the questions from spilling out. Are you okay? What happened to you? Have you had enough to eat? Where did you live? Did you get the books? Do you love me?
~ About the Author ~
G.B.Gordon worked as a packer, landscaper, waiter, and coach before going back to school to major in linguistics and, at 35, switch to less backbreaking monetary pursuits like translating, editing, and writing.
Having lived in various parts of the world, Gordon is now happily ensconced in suburban Ontario with the best of all husbands. Santuario is G.B. Gordon’s first published work, but many more stories are just waiting to hit the keyboard.
Connect with Gordon:
- Website and blog: gordon.kontext.ca
- Twitter: @gb_gordon
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/gbgordon
- Riptide: http://riptidepublishing.com/authors/gb-gordon
~ Giveaway ~
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a draw for a $15 Riptide gift card. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 27. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don't forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win!