Title: Forged in Trust
Series: Bay Area Professionals 04
Author: Mickie B Ashling
Length: Novel (200 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (4 Sept 2015)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 4.5 Hearts
Blurb: Dr. Ethan Marshall is the young medical student on call the night Tessa Duran murders her husband for abusing her twelve-year-old-son, Rino. Ethan stays in the cubicle while the rape kit is performed and is surprised when the boy resorts to prayers instead of tears.
Despite compelling evidence, Tessa is sent to jail for life. To avoid placing Rino in foster care, their parish priest agrees to raise him. Ethan is touched by Rino’s plight and visits whenever possible, but the connection is broken when the priest and young boy leave the area months later.
Raised by the Dominicans in California, Rino considers joining the order until a romance blossoms with a fellow student. After much soul-searching, he turns his back on everything familiar, and chooses his orientation over his perceived vocation. Upon graduating dental hygiene school, Rino takes a job at the office of Scott Gregory and Robin Kennedy.
Seventeen years have passed since that horrible night in the emergency room. Forty-three-year-old Ethan is now a Dominant in search of a full-time submissive. Twenty-nine-year-old Rino is adrift, longing for someone or something to help him find the serenity he’s lost along the way. As they rekindle their friendship, they realize they might be perfect for each other.
Review: I am going to state this warning up front, this is a very graphic and confronting book in more ways than one. First off, there is the BDSM aspect, which like everything does not appeal to everyone. Secondly, there are some very graphic description (not of the acts) but more so of the horrific outcomes. This book is not for the squeamish and includes prostitution, rape and paedophilia just in the first couple chapters. There are also some traumatic/PTSD later on but nowhere near as horrific as the first few chapters.
Forged in Trust is the fourth book of the Bay Area Professionals. However, it can be read as a standalone book.
The story starts off in the early 90s with Rino and his mother, living in poverty in the Philippines and things were looking worse for them because the US military were evacuating. They do get to the US (under some shady circumstances) and we jumped to when Rino is 13, which is where we first meet twenty-something, idealistic ER doctor, Ethan Marshall. The two form a companionship over a couple months but Rino is really just a traumatised child at this point. Then Rino is taken away, out of state, and we pick up with both Rino once more almost fifteen years later. It’s here that Ethan once again enters his life.
It’s a complicated story and I fear that explaining one thread might give too much away!
I’m pretty sure Tinder and smart phones are referenced at a time when they did not exist, but that is neither here nor there.
The characters are wonderfully developed, although part of me is certain that Rino’s character could have been a bit more given a bit more time. I felt like Rino and Ethan’s story ended a tad too soon because Rino had just gone through a massive personal growth period.
Really well written, fast paced book that is brimming with emotion, I found it impossible not to become engrossed in the story. I really want to read the first three books now.