“You were the light in my dark world that gave me a path different from the one set by my father. I’ll never forget that, and I’ll always love you.”– Elizabeth Isaacs
Author: A.R. Hawkins
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Blurb: A debt is paid and two lives are changed forever.
For Aaron Quinn, the decision to drop out of med school turns his life upside down, and his father piles on the guilt over the tuition costs. So when his father cooks up a plan to hold off a Mafia loan shark’s wrath, Aaron reluctantly agrees, desperate to make up for his failings.
Raised and groomed to take over his father’s position in the Mafia, Liam Sandoval has his own issues. Looking for any escape from his horrible life, he accepts the offer of a weekend of pleasure from Aaron. A mutual attraction ignites, and they realize a weekend will never be enough. But the growing relationship will be put to the ultimate test when enemies target Liam’s new weak spot—Aaron. Can they overcome the outside forces threatening to pull them apart?
Review: In Indebted we meet two men from completely different worlds. They come together in a unique set of circumstances and are forced to make sense of those circumstances and to deal with the fallout.
Liam Sandoval never had a choice of careers. While still in his teens, he was forced into his father’s line of work, which happened to be as an enforcer for the Mafia. He is no longer a teenager. Because of his size and strength, Liam is called upon to do the hard hitting collections for the money lending portion of the business. He has a reputation as an unrelenting bad-ass, but he has become somewhat disillusioned with his job.
Aaron Quinn is a medical school dropout, working as a waiter. His father owns a struggling business, and never fails to remind Aaron that he paid for the failed attempt at medical school and that Aaron owes him. When Aaron’s father borrows money from the Mafia, he is unable to pay it back. Rather than take the beating coming his way, he decides to prey on the guilt Aaron feels about dropping out of medical school.
It is widely known that Liam is gay, Aaron is also gay, and both men are very attractive. Aaron’s father decides to offer Aaron’s body to Liam for a weekend in lieu of the first payment on his loan. Aaron is terrified of the man known as “The Machine” because Liam seems to show no emotion while doing dirty work for the mafia. But because of the guilt he feels for putting his father in a bad financial position, he feels he has no choice but to go along with his father’s plan.
From the first moment they see each other, Liam and Aaron are strongly drawn to one another. They spend the weekend together, but it isn’t all about the sex. They actually talk and spend time getting to know and like each other.
When the weekend is over, both men realize that they need more. They want to be together for real, but the last thing a mafia enforcer needs is a weak spot. Someone he cares about is just that, a weak spot to be exploited by his enemies, and what mafia enforcer doesn’t have enemies?
Indebted had a lot of good qualities. There was a lot of funny dialogue between Liam and Aaron. It was through these inside jokes that Liam was able to keep Aaron safe, and no one else would have a clue. The sex was well-written and super hot. I really liked Liam and Aaron as individuals, and together. I could empathize with Liam’s internal battle over pleasing a father who had forced him into this dangerous business, versus his desire to find his own way. Also with Aaron’s father being a manipulative bastard. Where it fell apart for me was the actual writing.
The writing style was clunky. I’m not sure that’s the right word to describe it, but that’s how it felt. The words didn’t flow smoothly. I spent too much time distracted by the writing, and it took away from my enjoyment of the story itself. I looked for other works from A.R. Hawkins and couldn’t find any. If this is a first effort for this author, then it’s a good one, but not great. It appears to me that it was written by an inexperienced writer. Indebted had the potential to be a five star read for me. I really believe that as A.R. Hawkins grows and improves as a writer, there will be five star reads in the future. Recommended if you are able to focus only on story and look past the style. Some people are able to do that. Unfortunately, I am not one of them.