Jack And The Ginger With a Twist by Keely Jakes
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (75 pgs)
Other: M/M, M/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern
Going out alone was Griffin Bower’s first mistake. Accepting a drink from a stranger was his second. After spending a week as a whipping boy to a sadist who called himself “Doctor Pain”, a guard helps Griffin escape, then his roommate’s half-brother whisks the two roommates away to Paladin, Montana.
Walking into Twisted Jack’s, the newly renovated bar/restaurant, a battered and bruised Griffin meets a pair of the most interesting men who vow to protect him from everyone and everything from that point on.
Jack and Twist have been mates and battle brothers since the first week of basic training. When Griffin walks in their bar, the two men realize he is the man meant to complete their family. Can they keep Griffin safe while he heals? Will he agree to mate with both men? Will Doctor Pain show up looking for his missing pet?
After escaping his kidnapper, Griffin allows his roommate and best friend Teddy to call his brother, Roane, for help. Roane is a shifter and a member of Team Paladin and knows they can protect Teddy and Griffin. Twist and Jack have been in a committed relationship for five years, but when Griffin walks through the door of their bar, both men are instantly attracted. Can Griffin be exactly what they’ve both been searching for?
I found this to be a really interesting short story. As one would guess, Doctor Pain is not all about happiness, rainbows and glitter, and I was surprised – but pleased – that the author didn’t shy away from showing the reader exactly how nasty Doctor Pain is. While I don’t feel that the more gorey and torture-ish scenes were wallowed in or glorified, neither were they ignored or tucked away. We see Doctor Pain harming others in short doses and I personally feel it adds to the sense of very real danger that Griffin and anyone associated with him is in. Readers should be aware that a few of the scenes are graphic – though I personally don’t feel they are any more graphic than a regular paperback thriller would be nowadays. For readers wanting some spicy romance and not a thriller, this might sour them on the mood so I feel it worth highlighting.
I really enjoyed the many characters in this story. Jack, Griffin and Twist were all complicated, multi-layered characters that I found a joy to read about and watch grow together. There’s plenty of supporting characters, from Teddy, Roane and other members of the shifter Team Paladin. And all the while Doctor Pain hovered around the edges of the story, an interesting – and creepy – villain. While Griffin didn’t jump immediately into bed with Twist and Jack, I was surprised that a mere day after escaping a week of torture Griffin was willing to cuddle, lean on and become vulnerable with two strangers. From a plot point of view it was explained quite thoroughly, but it just didn’t feel realistic to me and I needed to suspend my disbelief and just push through that. Since I was enjoying most other aspects of the story this wasn’t hard, but I don’t feel all readers will swallow that very sudden change quite so easily. I was impressed that other signs (nightmares, body-shyness etc) were all part of the trauma Griffin showed – these all struck me as far more believable. After a week of being in each other’s company I could understand Griffin relaxing and trusting the team – so the initial/immediate trust with Jack and Twist was a small bump in an otherwise interesting progression of the story.
The sex and “we’re shifters” talk was well paced. I also liked seeing the overall story arc (that of the small town being bought by the team and bringing it back to life piece by piece) move forward. I was a little disappointed that the plot felt not only predictable but also there was a part of the ending clearly left hanging. I’m hopeful it will be picked up (with Teddy and Dallas) in the next book, but it did leave this story feeling somewhat unfinished to my mind. I also had a chuckle about a man called Teddy mating a Bear-shifter – even if that pun isn’t intended it made me laugh!
A good story and one I can easily recommend.