Review – Torch (Unbreakable Bonds #3) by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott

Reviewed by: E

Nine months ago, Rowan Ward thought he had it all. Now he’s fighting to pull his shredded life together, buried in work and battling the kind of grief that destroys a man’s soul. When fires spring up around Cincinnati threatening Rowe’s friends and clients, he’s thrilled to find his old Army buddy, Noah Keegan in town. They were a hell of a team when they served together, so in-sync, it was rumored they could read each other’s minds.

Noah thought devoting his life to the Army would be enough. Then he realized he had no family and only one friend he cared about. When his enlistment was up, he found himself standing on Rowe’s doorstep, looking only for friendship but secretly hoping for more. He needs to know if their one unbelievable night together years ago wasn’t a mistake.

Caught in a dangerous game of fire and bullets, neither expects the inferno of emotion that ignites between them. One Rowe isn’t prepared to accept. One that could break Noah.
This blurb came from Goodreads

I have awaited this story with a rather volatile mix of eager anticipation and trepidation. The events of Shatter, title extremely accurate, really changed the group dynamic and left them determined to end the threat to their happiness as a result I really wanted to see the bad guy get what was coming to him. I was also worried about how/if the central relationship for Rowe would work for me given how much his life in particular changed. Drake and Elliott are some sneaky writers because they managed to make things work by not replacing who was lost or really bringing in a complete unknown to Rowe.

Noah was an interesting character. He alternately made me want to tuck him into bed and feed him good home cooking and then the other half of the time get out of his way because he was causing mayhem. I enjoyed how he fit in with Rowe’s friends like he could have been part of the group from the beginning but without seeming to fill the gaping hole left from events in Shatter. It was most amusing watching him interact with Ian and seeing Rowe’s immediate less then happy response. I think it was good for Rowe to see the world wasn’t going to stop moving just because he wanted to stay stuck in one place.

I was surprised to find myself dealing with mixed feelings about Rowe. While I greatly appreciated how he didn’t just leap into a relationship with Noah, I ended up hurting as Rowe waffled back and forth. It took me a while to adjust to the new Rowe, with his much harder edges and grimmer outlook on life. However, as I continued to see Noah and Rowe interact I got the impression this Rowe was probably closer to the Rowe he knew in the military then the Rowe I originally met. During their heated moments and when they finally reached an equilibrium it was something else! **fans self** I liked their relationship and how Rowe and Noah shared a bond separate from Rowe’s other friends while still having a lot in common.

In Torch things continue to take a dangerous turn for the four friends on both a personal safety front and an economic front as it appears Rowe’s clients are also being targeted perhaps as bait. It was good to see the men all come together to take the next set of steps closer to end game while also eliminating the current threat. The resolution of that threat really added to my already strong desire to see the ultimate bad guy end his existence. It was very eye-opening to find out why the friends suddenly became a target and I could see the villain’s logic BUT there are so many things wrong with it and I find it doesn’t excuse a single one of his actions. SPOILER I did figure out how critical information was being passed out of Rowe’s company and boy do they have a mess to clean up. END SPOILER.

I do have my concerns about Ian and his potential interest…things were looking so good during Shattered but then a certain scruffy looking character disappeared. I am worried about him on an individual basis and even more worried about sensitive generous caring Ian. He took quite a mental blow towards the end of Torch and I think needs a cushion to help his recovery. If his story is the next one I think it is going to be very emotional, full of high stakes, and tension. It wouldn’t be Elliott and Drake if I wasn’t left curious and concerned about how they will pull off the next set of events and relationship.

Torch was well worth the wait. I feel much better about Rowe and his state of mind then I did in the previous story and I don’t feel like I was emotionally cheated either way. Events certainly moved forward and I think they are going to need everything they have to survive the next set of events. I might need a recovery day afterwards.

I give Torch a B

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