by Johnny Miles
Length: 205 Pages
Setting: Historical Spain/Caribbean’s
Book Cover Rating: 4
On a lush, tropical island inhabited by rogues, thieves and villains, where men take the law into their own hands, a father and son are thrust into tumultuous events that will change their lives forever.
Bernardo de Rodrigo is proud of his son. Alonso is handsome and winning, and everyone he meets is instantly drawn to the tall, warm Spaniard. But how could either of them have known that a forbidden love is about to claim Alonso’s heart?
Arbol, the charismatic male slave who was saved from the clutches of Raul Ignacio Martín, feels an instant connection with Alonso, the moment he looks into Arbol’s eyes, the moment they touch.
Bernardo has other things to worry about, however. He’s trying to exorcise himself of an intensely gratifying yet shame-filled sexual affair with Raul, who secretly adores Bernardo but doesn’t know how to show it.
When Raul blackmails Bernardo, their dark and sordid relationship not only threatens the bond between father and son, it places Arbol’s life in danger. Now Bernardo must make a difficult choice that could further alienate his son while Alonso must find a way to keep the man he loves.
Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Dubious consent, male/male sexual practices.
Let me be the first to tell you that I have never heard of Johnny Miles, but now, knowing the talent this man has, I plan on getting to know more of him. He took a time in history and not only taught me a few things, but also almost made me wish I could slip back there and teach them a thing or two. Why?
Slavery is an extremely hard subject for me to approach. I mean, it’s different in a BDSM read, where the person elects to be a slave for his/her Master but this is a whole different type. The slavery in this story is not an option for the poor individuals, they do not have a choice, they are either slaves or they are dead. Those who want freedom, but were unlucky enough to be born into slavery have no hope of ever tasting what so many take for granted. Their freedom.
At the start of this historical a young woman is seen running through the woods, pleading for help, and carrying her baby. It’s obvious she’s running away from something or someone, but we don’t find out what that is until that poor woman is shot and left to die. We don’t find out until a family opens their door to the sounds of gun shots and someone yelling for help. They arrive to the fallen woman just in time to take the baby from her, before she dies.
It’s then we find out that the woman was a slave and she was running for freedom. The child made it, thanks to the family and is raised until he’s five in their home, but totally hidden from the man who killed his mother. Raul. The guy is a jerk who owns slaves, and he’s also the jerk that helps Bernardo, a man who is very married, to get out of financial debt. He does this by blackmailing him into setting sail with him to the Caribbean’s where they will have their own plantations and using slaves to work said plantations.
Bernardo has two son’s, twins to be exact and it was one of those twins that seems to take right after his daddy, his name is Alonso and when he’s a little guy, he actually took little Arbol, who has been in hiding for many years out of Raul’s eyes, a piece of birthday cake. Suddenly we jump ahead by like thirteen years and find Arbol working on the plantation in the fields and find out that he’s gay. Well, all those years he’s without the family that had saved his life from Raul, and he sees his friend again. One whose face he never forgotten, and one he knows he loves with all his heart.
I want to mention that Bernardo has a wife, who hates Raul, and she refuses to ever leave Spain so when Bernardo takes off on the ship, he’s gone for a year at the least and even takes his son’s with him. Come to find out, Bernardo is gay but he denies himself, and stays married to his wife because in his mind it’s dirty to be gay, to love another man. I really didn’t care for him as a person, but I understood his anguish both in trying to protect the young boy whose life he saved and putting him to work on a plantation in the fields out of Raul’s sight, who owns his own plantation up the road. I really wanted him to have more of a backbone but that doesn’t take from the anguish of the story, it adds to it. I mean he’s in bed with Raul and giving into his needs but hating himself at the same time while his son is finding that he is loving Arbol.
I had tears in my eyes reading this one. I can just imagine the heartache. The unfairness angers me. Not only should a person be free to love, they should be free…PERIOD.
Things don’t go easy for the characters here. There is so much torment and I couldn’t stop reading it. I had to know what happened to all of them. Though I was happy to see one get their comeuppance I still had hurt for him because really, he wanted to be free enough to love who he wanted to love without having that feeling that he was being shameful and dirty because he preferred men. Oh the anguish! I’m so glad I wasn’t around back then.
Johnny has done a wonderful job and really, my review hasn’t captured most of it. I simply can say he’s done a wonderful job with the plot, the characters, and the setting? Oh wow, I almost felt as if I was there with them.
If you’re looking to learn a little something with the extra spice of very well done sex scenes? Try this. I am so happy I did.