This collection of excellent spin-offs from Kennedy’s amazing Protectors series comes full circle as we finally get the story of the last brother, King, and his “forbidden” romance with his (non-biological) nephew Gio. Years have passed since Gio’s rescue, but King has kept himself absent for most of them after doing all he can to help Gio recover from his captivity. However, Gio might be moving on his with his life, but he is far from healed, and King can’t resist the urge to care for the younger man the best way he knows how when they are both away from the safety of family.
Is anything about their connection particularly healthy? Not necessarily, but Gio is still managing his trauma, and King has spent literal decades burying his own. There’s the expected amount of “omg, we can’t” angst for both parties due to their age difference and shared connections, but that’s definitely managed a lot better than their individual mental health. Kennedy has dropped teases throughout these books about what King may have done to help pay for another brother’s medical care in the past. The truth is both entirely unsurprising and much more horrific than I could have imagined.
Of course, this means that past shows up to haunt King right when he and Gio might have been on the verge of figuring things out. However, despite his residual pain, Gio is no longer the kid in distress from earlier in this series, and King still has a family he can count on despite all he’s done to pull away. The result of all these combined plot threads is pure Kennedy, and I have no complaints.
This smaller assortment of books is the perfect way for new readers to become familiar with Kennedy’s work without investing in the longer Protectors series, especially if they want to start with something more recent. But be warned that you will want to know everything about this amazing shared world if you enjoy these. Luckily, you’ll have plenty more to keep you entertained.