Author: J.R. Loveless
Publisher: DreamSpinner Press
Rating: 4/5 Smooches
The ADA Chronicles: Book One
In an attempt to atone for his sins and find some solace, ADA Agent Gabriel Romero helps other Deviants in need. But with threats from both sides — Normals and the Deviants who despise them — he finds it harder and harder to outrun his ghosts, especially after a difficult mission to rescue twin brothers held at an enemy compound, where Gabriel meets Alexander Ryker. Gabriel finds his new charge unexpectedly attractive, and that’s a complication he does not want — one he thinks he doesn't deserve.
Despite the frosty reception from the stubborn agent who rescued him, sheltered telepath Alex feels an instant connection through the pain he sees in Gabriel's eyes, and he does everything he can to gain his attention. The realities he must face while mastering his ability are hard, but failing to learn to defend himself is not an option. Soon he'll need his newfound strength to convince Gabriel he deserves to live and love again.
His Salvation is a contemporary science fiction story based in an alternative world. The world is split between the Normals, humans, and the Deviants, humans with special gifts. On a surface level, the book presents a battle of good vs. evil with a romantic element. However, there is a depth to this book that is intriguing.
No one understood how the abilities developed, but the tension grew thick between the humans without gifts and the humans who possessed them. Ten years ago, a third of the population on Earth began to exhibit signs of strange behavior. The first incident pertained to a man who could levitate things around him when upset or angry. Within a month’s time, there were over five hundred documented cases of similar events happening all over the United States. Eventually it became known as a worldwide epidemic.
Normal human beings grew afraid of what these gifts could do to them or their families. Angry mobs broke out a year after the first occurrence.
In this world, which looks a lot like our own, family and friends turn on each other in brutal and violent ways. The lines of evil and good become blurred very quickly. Although it is a natural human reaction to fear the unknown, J.R. Loveless takes this ignorance and ramps it up to horrific levels. In order to survive, Deviants need to hide who they are from Normals, which, of course, creates tension and resentment.
But the battle of good and evil in this book is not just between the two factions, there is also a battle of wills within the Deviant sector, and that is even more dangerous to the characters in this book. The Agency for Deviant Assistance is the light at the end of the tunnel for Deviants. They offer guidance, training and knowledge to help the persecuted Deviants.
There are a lot of metaphors in this book, and it is difficult to not read and think of the horrors that took place in Nazi Germany, especially when it is noted that many of the Deviants are forced to live in concentration camps. Some of the brutal ways people are killed seem to be taken right out of headlines from the past and present. There is an undeniable depth to the plot and characters, which Loveless explores with a passion.
ADA Agent Gabriel Romero is devoted to helping people. He has had a tortured past, and he seems to use his position in the ADA to try to make amends for past tragedies that blames himself for. Gabe is a 35-year old military strong, disciplined agent. He has no personal life, and he tries to keep an emotional distance from his peers and charges.
Enter Alexander Ryker, 19-year-old empath who is running for his life and the life of his twin brother, Jason. Although the young men are twins, it is Alexander who intrigues Gabe the first time he sees the green-eyed man’s photo.
Alexander’s reaction to seeing Gabe is nothing short of awe.
The man was breathtakingly gorgeous. Dark hair kept in a military style fade, with strong chiseled features and a beautifully muscled body caused Alex to feel hot all over, and not from the run through the woods.
A small scar across his brow made him appear even more dangerous. The amber eyes reminded Alex of the honey maple syrup his grandmother used to make. He was obviously in pain and being stubborn about it. When the broad expanse of tanned skin was revealed as the other man removed his shirt, Alex had to bite back a gasp at how strongly his body reacted. A strange warmth settled between his thighs, and he felt his dick growing hard. He dropped his hands into his lap to cover up his body’s response.
When those honeyed eyes met his, Alex’s gaze flitted away for a moment, only to come back to them. The man closed his eyes against Alex’s perusal, and Alex tried to reach out, to see what thoughts the man held, only to hit a wall. Surprise widened his eyes by a fraction, and his breath caught. He’d never met anyone he couldn’t read. How could the stranger block him so completely? Then he started to wonder who the men were and why they’d rescued him.
Gabe and his band of Deviant misfits spend the remainder of the novel trying to keep the twins safe, and despite all his efforts to stop his feelings, Gabe falls in love with Alexander, who has never had feelings (physical or emotional) for another person before. Gabe is a veteran of heartbreak, a victim of abuse and very jaded. Alex is naïve, sheltered and optimistic. Let the games begin.
Gabriel glanced around the cell walls but didn’t see any identifying numbers. Agitation glittered in his gaze, and he looked at Tank and Bear. They’d been in there too long. The longer they remained in the compound, the more likely they would be discovered and possibly captured. “Be ready for anything.”
Bear’s eyes widened a fraction at the realization that Gabriel intended to use his abilities. In four years, the team had only seen him use them a handful of times. The three of them stepped back from the cell.
Taking a deep breath, Gabriel concentrated on the plexiglass door. The glass shuddered before a powerful boom reverberated against the cement walls and it fairly exploded into pieces that scattered across the corridor floor. Gabriel pushed inside the cell in the breath of a second. He hauled Jason up into his arms, tossing him across his shoulder. “Let’s go,” he commanded quietly.
The moment Alexander stood from the bed, a piercing alarm sounded throughout the complex and red lights started flashing everywhere. Gabriel swore profusely. “Go, go, go!
Loveless is a good storyteller and her characters are well defined and intriguing. The world she has created is intense and realistic, although there are some areas of the story that seem to jump around a bit. Overall, she has done a great job combining realism and science fiction. Her main and supporting characters are well developed, and her use of dialogue moves the story forward. This first book leaves the reader looking for more books in this series.