Title: Leopard’s Spots, Book 8: Wesley
Author: Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Characters: Wes Ward, Armando Gutierrez
Sub-Genre: Paranormal, Shifter, Romance, Series
Book eight in the Leopard’s Spots Series
Letting go of the past is the hardest thing these two men have to learn to do.
Wes Ward made a mistake—a few of them, to be exact. He felt abandoned, forgotten by his older brother, Sully, once Sully found his mate. Wes let anger and loneliness influence him, and he tried some things he shouldn’t have. Getting busted by his mom was probably the one thing that saved him. Getting sent to stay with the brother he thinks forgot about him might be an unmitigated disaster.
Or it might be Wes’ salvation. In San Antonio, he is forced to confront the things he has done, and his childish reasoning for it. It isn’t easy, but after a spectacular blow-out with Sully and his mate Bobby, Wes finally begins to try to get past his issues. When he meets a skittish, sexy man at the homeless youth shelter where they both volunteer, Wes thinks he’s found more than he ever thought he’d have.
Armando has been hurt too many times to count, but the last time almost cost him his life. He’s carried unwarranted anger around for over two years, refusing to make peace with Sully or Bobby, so to find himself attracted to Sully’s little brother Wes is a shock.
I admit this is the first book I’ve read in this series, but I’ve read Bailey Bradford’s books before and enjoyed them, so I decided to take a chance with this one. I’m really glad I did, because I was immediately swept up into the lives of these characters and ended up really enjoying their story.
Wes is coming off of an addiction to prescription drugs and has enlisted his older brother Sully and Sully’s mate, Bobby, for help. Even though their relationship has been estranged for some time, Bobby immediately reaches out and helps Wes in hopes that their relationship is beyond any repair.
Wes has to deal with a lot of self-recriminating issues and bitterness, but he’s determined to get over them and on with his life. He’s lonely and wants to have what his brother has…which is a mate of his own. Working at a LGBT youth shelter helps him a lot. It begins to give his life some direction and meaning, but what Wes is not prepared for is his intense attraction and need for one of the other volunteers, Armando.
For the past two years, Armando has done an excellent job at keeping people at arm’s length. Because of some of the things he had to do in his past and because of being raped, he’s scared of letting other people into his life. But once he meets Wes, Armando begins to question his defense mechanisms and begins to allow the sexy, shifter peel away all of the hurt and fear he’s allowed to rule over him for so long. Will Wes and Armando be able to fully work through their issues so they can have a happy life together?
I really enjoyed watching both heroes work through their own issues so they could open themselves up for the happiness they can receive in each others’ arms. Both men are stronger than they realize and I liked how the author did not brush their weaknesses aside easily. Each man works hard to overcome self-inflicted obstacles to be able to forgive, heal and be stronger and better men in the end.
Armando and Wes are definitely interesting, likeable heroes. I also enjoyed the heated chemistry they had between them and thought the sex scenes were heated enough to steam up my computer screen. I also appreciated how they learned to work as a team, both personally and professionally, as the story continued to evolve. This is definitely a character driven romance, and since I’m all about the heroes and how their relationship between them develops throughout the story, Ms. Bradford did a great job at making me lose myself for the couple of hours I read their story, because I easily became wrapped up into these characters’ lives.
As I mentioned before, I started this series late, so there were a few things I obviously missed, but I didn’t feel lost and was able to follow along pretty easily, so I do believe this book can be read as a stand-alone. But if you are like me, once you get involved with the characters and their story, it always makes me want to backtrack and read the series books in order to see what I’ve missed. In general, I have a feeling there are some things about the shifter politics as well as some other key players that I’ve missed out on, so as you can tell I’ll be reading the rest of the books soon.
Wesley is a thought-provoking romance filled with characters that will touch your heartstrings and make you wish for more. I loved every moment I spent with Wes and Armando and I can’t wait to read more about the world Ms. Bradford created in this series. Recommended!
The Leopard’s Spots books in series order are:
Reviewed By: Gabbi