The YA market is saturated with author after author after author but there's a handful that always stand out for me: Colleen Hoover, Tarryn Fisher, Molly McAdams, Cora Carmack are just a few. Actually, there's one other that I'd add to that list and that would be the unique bad ass that is Jay Crownover. Her books are a little different; they deal with the rougher side of relationships, or maybe the rougher men...you know, those bad boys.
With a slew of novels under her belt from her Marked Men series, Crownover is ready to delve into and write about a new group of men and women in Denver, actually The Saints of Denver. In order to make a smoother transition, she dropped a bomb on her readers and fans with the release of Leveled, a Saints of Denver novella that nobody even knew was happening. How cool is that? Here us clueless readers were waiting for the release of what we thought was Crownover's first release in her Saints of Denver series, set to come out in early 2016, titled Built, and then BOOM! The somewhat background character of Orlando Frederick gets his own story in Leveled, a novella that creates a brilliant transition from the men in the tattoo shop to the Saints.
Lando was a small character first introduced in MM as Remy's ex-boyfriend. Remy was the twin brother of Rowdy and brother of Rule. Lando was still close with the brothers and visited them at least monthly. In this new story, Lando's own story, we see him moving on with his life, or at least trying to move on.
We also get to know the beautiful Royal Hasting's partner on the police force, Dominic Voss a little better. It turns out that after being shot and falling off a building that Dom needs rehab. It just so happens that Lando is just the man to fix him. The real question is, can Dom help heal Lando?
I love how the author merged these two series' together with this just-barely-a-novella (it was long!). It was a great way for readers to move from one series of beloved characters to the next and as a fan, I appreciate that. I also love that she didn't just graze over the fact that Lando and Dom were gay and then just leave it there. They got their own story, which I think infused more life into their characters and made them real and alive.
On that topic, yes, the characters of Lando and Dom are gay men. They work, they hang out with their friends, and they have romantic relationships, just like anyone else. I was curious how Crownover would handle the romantic and intimate scenes between the men. I have to say that I think she did a phenomenal job though. She did such a fantastic job building up to the intimate scenes that you truly forgot who was who and just realized that you were reading about two people who deeply cared for each other, and THAT is what made the scenes so wonderful. It was the emotions brought forth, the desire for them to be happy in that moment and in life together.
I'm now more excited than ever for Built to come out after the beginning of the year. If this new series of Denver men is even half as fun, sexy and exciting as the previous ones that Crownover introduced us to, then we're all in store for some amazingly hot new titles!