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“Once upon a time, in the kingdom of the south, there was a scared young man named Sir Benjamin. Now, Sir Benjamin, he’d been alone since he was a young man, and nobody wanted him and he didn’t want anyone. At least, he didn’t think he did. Then along came the City Knight, Sir Marcus, who was charged with protecting the people of the kingdom. His armor was a little dinged, and his heart a little tired, because he’d loved and lost and wasn’t sure he could love again. Then one wet, cold night, he met Sir Benjamin, and rescued him.”
Marcus felt a single tear run slowly down his cheek. “No, baby, you have that wrong. It was Sir Benjamin who rescued Sir Marcus.”
Benjamin kissed the tear away and whispered, “They rescued each other. But, baby, it’s not the end. With you, it will never be the end.”
The City Knight volumes 1-5 set includes:
The series follows Marcus, an ex-cop, and Ben, a 20-something working as a rent boy to put himself through grad school. In 20 words or less: Marcus and Ben meet by chance, rescue each other (in all senses of the phrase), and angsty relationship shenanigans ensue.
Full disclosure: I read City Knight first as a freebie and loved it so much I went back and bought the complete series, and while I didn’t hate it as a whole, I wish I could say the rest of the books were as perfect as the first story. :(
My favorite thing about the City Knight compilation (I’ll call it CKC from this point) is that the stories were short, yet grouped together. Each included a cliffhanger, so it was a wee bit melodramatic at times. That said, I truly enjoy T.A. Webb’s writing style. He’s all about healing and forgiveness and love, and he definitely has a gift for storytelling.
CKC is set in Atlanta and includes an interesting supporting cast of characters. There’s a LOT of growly “you’re MINE!” proclamations between Marcus and Ben. There are also plenty of endearments like “baby,” plus love declarations. There’s a delicious age difference. There are alpha dudes APLENTY, amen. And to be honest, I sorta loved it all. At first. Somewhere along the line, though, it became silly and over the top.
Ben (only Marcus is allowed to call him Benjamin, got it?) is very age appropriate and seriously damaged in the first story. Beyond that, I thought he came across as old and stuffy. I liked the way Ben grew and recovered from his past trauma, but at the same time, I thought his recovery happened a little too fast, and only for the purposes of moving the story along. To me, it was choppy—almost a character role reversal as the series creeped forward—with Ben getting all motherly and responsible. It felt strange because I knew he was the one who’d been rescued and naïve in their first story.
Ex-cop Marcus is an alpha, but so in need of someone to love him after he tragically lost his partner. He walks the streets around his neighborhood with the sole purpose of making the area safer. Honestly, what Marcus really needed was someone to take care of, and Ben provided just the outlet. Their initial interactions made my heart go wild; the two of them together were hotter than the Sahara.
There were a few places in the story where I got confused about what was happening, or there was some tic related to a character that was written as though it’d already been presented. In a way, I get why this happened. After City Knight, multiple new characters are introduced, and they all know each other and have their own stories going on. So yeah, inside jokes, idiosyncrasies and such. Still, it worked somehow and the story played out just fine.
My advice? If you plan to read CKC, approach it one novella at a time. Maybe take some breaks between the stories; I think it might actually be a much stronger experience to go slowly and not try to digest the entire series in one sitting (like I did).
Susan: 4 stars (books 1-3)
Sheri: 5 stars (books 1-2; 4 stars books 3-5)
Shelley: 4 stars (book 1)
Sara: 5 stars (books 1-3)
Sue: 3 stars (books 1-2)