Jagged Edge, Jo Raven

Jagged Edge: Jason and Raine - M/M romance by [Raven, Jo]

Incredible. An incredible amount of drama, intensity, feels, damage, passion, tenderness, sarcasm, and bickering. These two men have seemingly insurmountable obstacles between them and their happy endings. Well, the only kind of happy endings that last long enough to be priceless. I fell in love with these heartrendingly oppressed men.

Raine had a rough childhood. Man, what an understatement. With parents like his it's a wonder that he and Ocean survived at all. Ocean seems like a good man, a man who loves his brother and tries his best for him and the rest of his chosen family. I haven't read his story yet, this is actually my first book by this author, but there's so much subtext, so much history intimated that I both want to and feel the need to. You'd still understand this story just fine since the focus is on Raine and Jason, but after becoming so invested in Raine I want to delve deeper into everyone around him to see him through others' eyes.  Raine is stubborn, strong, intelligent, loyal, focused, and still so very vulnerable. He also has the major hots for the whore-next-door, Jason. Jason intrigues, frustrates, humiliates, and baits Raine. He also turns him on like no one ever before. What Raine feels for Jason is complicated and confusing. Witnessing him come to terms with the true label for those feelings and how he navigates life before and after that realization is all kinds of interesting. We also get to see a tender side, one that wants desperately to care for someone who is absolutely determined to rely on no one.

Jason relies on no one because there's no one to run to that won't be caught in the cross-hairs of the one that has him by the short-hairs. His profession should be enough to send everyone running but he's got support, friendship, and protection whether he wants it or not. He doesn't understand family as something that could be good and with every torturous meeting he has with Raine he becomes more and more confused. Feeling unworthy of any kind of honesty, affection, and generosity without compensation, he pushes everyone away as far as he can stand. He tries so hard to isolate himself but can't cut off all ties completely because he has the biggest heart despite his upbringing. I don't know if there's anyone more damaged in this group of unlikely heroes, but whether he likes it or not, he's going to be dragged toward healing one tender yet passionate moment at a time. In Raine's arms he feels the best and also the worst. Watching as he comes to accept Raine for everything he is despite their past and all that Raine brings with him is incredibly frustrating. It's worth it in the end, though. The emotional payoff is marvelous.

There's drama like you wouldn't believe. At every moment you think there's light at the end of the tunnel and it's visible and closer than you thought possible you realize it's (in the words of Metallica) just a freight train coming your way. The ups and downs are so high and also so very low that you aren't sure if you're going to end up with a truly happy HEA, but when you get there and see that all the harrowing experiences are made up for with more heart and healing than you thought could be written for them, I expect you'll find a bit of a lump in your throat and a burning behind your eyes. Yes, if you cry I wouldn't be surprised. I didn't, but I'm a stoic mess...kind of. Nah, not at all, but though I didn't cry, I was incredibly moved.

A painful and beautiful story of love, loss, hurt, healing, compassion, passion, forgiveness, and growing up. Becoming more than what you thought you could be and finding love and support along the way. Well worth the time to read.

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