3.5 stars--SLATE is the second installment in Kelly Gendron’s contemporary, adult Breaking the Declan Brothers erotic romance series focusing on Jax, Slate and Zeke Declan of the Bayou Vista, Texas. This is MMA fighter and co-owner of the family JZS bar Slate Declan, and social worker/ divorce mediator Rayna Keeney’s second chance storyline. SLATE can be read as a stand alone but I recommend reading the series in order for history and cohesion.
Told from dual first person perspectives (Rayna and Slate) using flashback and present day timeline SLATE follows the rekindling of the relationship between Rayna and Slate but for all intents and purposes Slate is not the man Rayna left six years earlier. Along with her best friends Emmie and Lurlene, Rayna has returned to the Texas Bayou for a summer vacation and with it the friends have focused their time and seduction on the three Declan Brothers. Each of our heroine’s has a history with one of the Declan Brothers and they are determined to ‘break’ the boys for sins of the past.
Rayna and Slate have been friends since the second grade when Slate was transferred to Rayna’s school following the death of his parents. Throughout their earlier years Slate was Rayna’s best friend and protector, and eventually they would become lovers. But finding Slate in bed with another woman pushed Rayna out of his life and six years later, Rayna returns home to a man she no longer recognizes-both emotionally, mentally and in physical appearance. Slate is a MMA fighter whose demons ride him hard; whose past is rife with heartbreak, pain and addiction; whose need for Rayna has never diminished or faltered.
The relationship is one of second chances but Slate is no longer the man he once was. Years of self-inflicted abuse have changed the man Rayna once loved and our heroine is determined to see Slate through his recovery and new direction in life. The $ex scenes are erotic and aggressive. The Declan boys like it rough in the bedroom, and spanking is their preferred form of foreplay and punishment. I will add that upon reintroduction to the women that they love the Declan Brothers come across as jerks, a$$holes and sexual predators. There are threats and promises of a sexual nature that for most women would require a police intervention but our heroines believe that what it is they want, is the man who is emotionally abusive at the start of their new-found relationships.
All of the previous storyline characters play a secondary and supporting role including Emmie and Jax Declan, Deke Declan and Rayna’s friend Lurlene. The character building is much more detailed in this particular storyline. We are witness to the past events that lead up to Rayna’s escape from the Texas Bayou, and the events leading to the destruction of Slate-mind, body and soul. The cause of death of Jax, Slate and Deke’s parents is a little more detailed, but we have yet to learn the entire story.
SLATE is the story about a broken man; a man whose life was all but destroyed but I did have some issues of realism and accuracy as it pertained to Slate’s recovery and treatment. The author should have researched the side effects, consequences and time frame; what is presented in the storyline is not realistic or plausible. There is also an issue with Slate’s reasons for allowing the woman that he loved to walk away without a fight-again-the believability is lacking.
SLATE is a fast paced, quick read that will break your heart for a man who has suffered so many losses. There are moments of love and loss; heartbreak and pain; letting go and moving on. The premise is entertaining; the characterizations are well rounded and informative; the romance is sexy and hot. As with Jax’s storyline Slate will get his happily ever after but the path to happiness is a bumpy ride.