Zero at the Bone by Jane Seville
By Jane Seville
Tags: MM slash, witness, protective custody, new relationship, hit man, drama, hurt and comfort, suspense, safe house, new relationship, mystery, angst, review, July, Seville
Length: 308 pages
Blurb: After witnessing a mob hit, surgeon Jack Francisco is put into protective custody to keep him safe until he can testify. A hitman known only as D is blackmailed into killing Jack, but when he tracks him down, his weary conscience won't allow him to murder an innocent man. Finding in each other an unlikely ally, Jack and D are soon on the run from shadowy enemies.
Forced to work together to survive, the two men forge a bond that ripens into unexpected passion. Jack sees the wounded soul beneath D's cold, detached exterior, and D finds in Jack the person who can help him reclaim the man he once was. As the day of Jack's testimony approaches, he and D find themselves not only fighting for their lives... but also fighting for their future. A future together.
Initially, I actually had a very similar reaction to this book as I had with 'Shades of Gray', I did not like D nor did I actually much care for Jack Francisco. However, both men grew on me over the course of the story. It was interesting, my liking of Jack grew with D's estimation of the man. It took me longer to really get a good feel for D... but then that rather works with the story in many ways.
D is a hit man with an impressive record. However, he refuses to give the moral high ground in all ways. There are jobs that he will not do (While admirable, this was somewhat of a cliche for me but D's character was unique enough for me to get over my initial irritation). Unfortunately for his conscience, he's blackmailed into killing Jack a man innocent of anything save being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. D can't do it, so he decides to take on the job of keeping Jack safe and by proxy himself at the same time.
On the run, Jack is forced to eventually trust D and D is forced to respect Jack who is not at all what he first thought. Of the course of the weeks they are in hiding, they come together on a physical level. However, after years of locking himself away D can't and won't open up easily--if ever. Can their relationship survive as more than one party comes after them? Can they figure out who was actually black mailing D and who is trying to kill them both?
My biggest issue with this book was that I sometimes found the arguments hard to follow. Things went from fine to explosive in minutes and I didn't always buy Jack's reactions. However, if thrown in that situation I suppose just about anyone would be prone to irrational reactions. :) I would be willing to read more of Jane Seville's work in the future.