Mad Love (Dangerous Daddies #1), April Jade
Rating: 4 Stars
Publisher: April Jade
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Contemporary, Age Gap (20 Years), Daddy/boy, Disability, Mafia, Opposites Attract, Romance, Series, Violence
Length: 214 Pages
Purchase At: Amazon
“He looked exactly the way I liked him to… dangerous and mine.”
Benjamin Thomas, a billionaire philanthropist and a rumored mob-boss, was everything you expected him to be—dangerous, ruthless, and handsome. When he found me in the dead of the night, sick and asleep inside his locker room, I expected him to shoot me…. or at the very least, arrest me.
He did neither.
Tucked within the pocket of his arms, he carried me home. In a blink, I had a warm bed, a new doctor, and a man who refused to leave my side. The look in his eyes reminded me of a storm. I didn’t know it yet but… it was brewing just for me.
Benjamin Thomas wasn’t a man capable of loving anything but himself… until he met me.
Mad Love is a quick, fast paced MM romance with an HEA and no cliffhangers. This story features a morally ambiguous Daddy and the boy he’s dangerously obsessed with. Expect to find steamy scenes, needless violence, and soul-bending love.
This book is hard to review for a variety of reasons.
- The amount of typos and the complete lack of editing is atrocious. I knew going into the book there would be issues. It literally says on the Amazon book page – Quality issues reported for typos. The book was originally published on January 11th. This is mid-April. I can overlook a few mistakes here and there, but not this many.
- Ben and Toby’s relationship is unhealthy. There’s being possessive and there’s Ben.
- The amount of violence by Ben, and not just aimed at others. Oh, he never raised a hand or anything else to Toby – he’d have shot himself in the foot first – but he was really big on throwing things (glass tumblers mainly) and punching walls and other objects when he got angry. It didn’t take much to set him off.
With all that being said, now my review.
Toby, 19, suffers from Lupus. Unable to afford to take care of himself as far as the foods he eats and buying his medications, he’s in a pretty bad state. He’s just been fired from his new job because he couldn’t afford the extra $60 per month to dry clean his work uniform. That new job was as a security guard for a streaming company owned by Benjamin Thomas, one of the wealthiest men in the country.
Toby just wants to get warm. His rundown apartment has no heat, he’s barely eaten enough to survive, and he’s sleepy. His plan is to sleep in the warm locker room of the place he was just fired from. What happens instead is the man himself – that would be Benjamin Thomas – shows up and wants to know what the hell he’s doing inside his business in the middle of the night.
Ben is a scary guy with serious ties to the mob. Normally if I see mafia or mob, I run the other way. It’s just not something I’m interested in. Even so, here I am. Anyway, Ben rightly terrifies Toby, but what can Toby do? He’s so sick he can barely function. He ends up passing out only to wake up sometime later in a warm bed in Benjamin Thomas’ penthouse.
How completely and incredibly damaged must a person to be to stand in front of a man who was rumored to have literal ties to the mob and not be afraid? He was wearing a gun, for pete’s sake.
He could shoot me faster than I could say my name, and still, I wasn’t running full speed out of the door.
“I don’t care if the stories about you are true. I don’t care if you can kill me with that gun or if you have henchmen to do it. I have been living off tomato soup and expired immunosuppressants. I’m going to die, anyway.”
This begins what I can only describe as a very warped relationship. It gets better, so I’m not constantly seeing Ben as the big brute bully that he appears to be early on, but the relationship is still warped.
Ben, once he helps take care of Toby’s health issues, becomes obsessed. Seriously. Obsessed is the only word to describe him. If Toby tries to leave, Ben forces him to stay. He tries to use intimidation – and Toby does fear him – but honestly, Toby doesn’t care if he lives or dies. He has no real family other than an aunt who treated him horribly after his father died when he was younger. His mother died shortly after he was born, so he didn’t have either parent. When the horrible aunt put him out while he was in high school, a friend’s mother allowed him to stay with them at least until he graduated, but then Dan (the friend) went into the military and the mother basically skipped town without even telling Toby.
He seriously has nobody. No friends. No family. No lover. Nobody.
Sure, Toby’s scared of Benjamin – and he’s long heard the rumors of his mob ties – but he has nothing really to live for anyway.
“I feel out of place – like I’m in the twilight zone or something. Your words are mean but your actions are kind. I’m frightened of you but also not really.”
Ben’s possessive and obsessive to the point where Toby should run like hell in the opposite direction. He does attempt to, but he gets brought back to Ben’s place. In Ben’s defense (I know, right?), his basically kidnapping Toby and taking him back to his place likely saved his life.
The really weird thing – for me, the reader – is that these two guys actually worked well together. For me to even type that sounds weird, but there it is.
Little by little Ben’s personality comes out. While none of it may justify some of his actions, it does kind of explain why he’s so obsessed over Toby. Pretty much what it boils down to is that he’s never cared before, if that makes sense? He was basically just a shell with no real feelings about anything other than making money and protecting the few in his life he considers family. The first time he saw Toby on that cold tile floor something cracked for Ben. It kept cracking the more he got to know him. He became obsessed with doing everything in his power to ensure that Toby’s illness was cared for, and that he was safe – because he was falling for him and that’s not something he’d ever felt before for another person.
As for Toby, he craves a protector like Ben. And as really effed up as their relationship was, they were good together in a way.
I don’t know what that last line says about me. If you read the book, you’d see why I say that.
Ben does have a soft side but only when it comes to Toby and maybe his best friend, Ryan. When Ben realizes what he’s feeling for Toby is love, he knows he’ll move Heaven and Earth to keep Toby happy. No expense spared. If Toby wants or needs it, Toby gets it.
“Are you obsessed with me?” It was meant to tease him – ease some of the heavy tension before I came in my pants beneath him.
He cocked his head, eyes burrowing into mine. “Yes.” He rasped. “I am dangerously obsessed with you.”
So while Toby may come across as the weaker one of the two men, he really has all the power because Ben is so head over heels in love with him, he’ll give him the world. The thought of Toby leaving him devastates him, so he does everything he can to make sure he never wants to leave. A lot of it is heavy-handed (not literally), but little by little the reader is allowed to go inside his head and see why he’s the way he is, even if it’s (as I’ve said a few times already) warped and not done exactly as it should be done.
There’s quite a bit of off-page violence. The reader may not see it happening, but they definitely know about it. A lot of that, to me, was a little much. I couldn’t understand the ease of which Ben talked about killing somebody or other violent acts. I really couldn’t understand why it didn’t so much as make Toby flinch.
There is one instance where violence is warranted, in my opinion, though I will say that whole scene seemed really over the top. Hell, everything with that particular character was over the top.
This is a Daddy/boy relationship, though it’s kind of mild compared to a lot of the books I read. I guess the author was using Ben’s possessive behavior as a way to ease into the Daddy/boy thing? Honestly, the Daddy/boy aspect of their relationship didn’t read the way the author may have intended.
Ben has a serious romantic side, even shows his vulnerability quite a bit. It was nice to see. On the outside, he’s this big, bad mob guy. On the inside, you can easily see that losing Toby would destroy him. He may have gone about their relationship wrong early on, but the reader can easily see how much he worships the ground Toby walks on. The feeling is quite mutual.
This is a true Cinderella story. You have the poor, sick man (that would be Toby) who’s taken in by the very wealthy one. The wealthy one falls head over heels in love with the poor one and wants to give him the world. They just take a really strange route to get there.
I’m interested in reading the next book in the series. Both main characters have already been introduced so I’d like to see where the author goes with them. I just hope – seriously hope – she gets the editing under control before then. It was beyond distracting.