Warrior's Cross by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Cameron Jacobs is an open book. He considers himself a common waiter with normal friends, boring hobbies, harmless dogs, and nothing even resembling a secret...except a crush on a tall, dark, devastatingly handsome man who dines alone at his restaurant on Tuesday nights. All it takes is one passionate night with Julian Cross to turn Cameron's would on its head.
Julian's love and devotion are all Cameron could have hoped for and more. But when his ordinary life meets and clashes with Julian's extraordinary lifestyle, Cameron discovers that trust and fear can go hand in hand, and love is just a step away from danger.
Cameron is captivated by the man who sits in his section at the restaurant he works at every Tuesday, who always orders a bottle of wine and the special of the day, never talks or gets dessert, and often sports bruises, cuts and scrapes. One evening, the man breaks his silence and Cameron is only more intrigued. Shortly after that Cameron is inviting Julian back to his apartment and that begins a relationship between the two men. If you can count seeing each other for 48 hours of the week as a relationship. Cameron has questions and, at times, reservations, about Julian but always he knows that he loves him. Julian is very clear in his love for Cameron as well, but there is always a sense of danger around Julian and what he might be doing for a living. Eventually this causes Cameron to issue an ultimatum and Julian, to both of their regrets, leaves Cameron's life. This part of the story was leisurely and meandering and beautiful. I had tears in my eyes when Cam and Julian's relationship came to its heartbreaking end--I watched it teeter on a point knowing it could fall either way and when Julian turned around and walked away my heart broke right along with Cam's.
It is at this point in the story that things really speed up. Julian's dangerous job takes more of a leading role as a mysterious figure named Lancaster comes into play. He is scary and clearly out to hurt Julian and it seems like he has decided to use Cameron as his instrument to deliver said pain. There was no easy resolution to this story as bad things happened to good people and Cam's already broken heart gets completely shattered in the course of events that took this reader hurtling to the end of the book and left her trying to recover her composure before writing this review. I'm not sure that I really believed in Cameron and Julian's relationship in the beginning, it was hard to see what was so fascinating about Cameron that would catch Julian's eye to the degree that it did...don't get me wrong, Cameron is a really sweet guy who loves his four pups and does his job as a head waiter in a prestigious restaurant to the best of his ability--I just don't know what it was about their limited interactions at the restaurant that caused Julian to become so enamored. Once they were together, it also didn't seem as if they really got to know each other enough to stay together long term--between their limited time together and Julian's secrets it seemed that there was so much they didn't know about each other besides how compatible they were in bed together. But...the writing was so well done, both characters were so great to know--Cameron with his honesty and Julian with his intensity that I didn't really care about believability and instead threw myself into the story, feeling Cameron and Julian's emotions in the pit of my stomach and hoping against hope that they would somehow, someway have a happy ending, even when it seemed that any such hope of that would be in vain.
Authors A to Z
Hard Core Reread
I purchased this book with my own funds.