Fractured - Mickie B. Ashling
In many ways the lies we tell ourselves often come back to haunt us, particularly when we keep them from the person we love. Ro Celdran carries on his back the worst of all feelings—fear that he will never be worthy to live or love in a white man’s world. Past experiences have proven to him that no matter what he does to better himself, he will always be a lowly Latino not worthy to be involved with anyone beyond his poor social strata. Not only that, but he is saddled with a twin brother whose narcissistic tendencies and lack of moral compass tend to land he and Ro in more trouble than good. When Ro is nearly beaten to death by someone confusing him with his identical twin, he lands in the lap of Lance Roberts. While patching up Ro’s mouth, little does Lance understand that he is also bringing a man into his own life that will allow him to live more easily, with less panic and compulsion. What these two men do not know is that they both harbor secrets that could potentially kill the budding romance between them.

There were so many good things about Fractured by Mickie B. Ashling. The two main characters both had so much to lose when trusting the other. Yet the author allowed them to act like real men, with no long, drawn out scenes where they skirted the difficult subjects and secrets in their lives. Rather, there were carefully drawn scenes where the two lovers confronted each other and demanded truth be given rather than more lies or conveniently forgotten half-truths. I felt these moments between Ro and Lance were among some of the most realistic and tender of scenes, leaving no doubt that Mickie B. Ashling knows how to draw multi-layered, believable characters who are both flawed and needy.

On top of these two beautifully scripted men was a story that was both compelling and, for the most part, plausible. I could understand how the twins would be interchangeable and how Ro would suffer Tony’s continual screw-ups because of their deep brotherly love for each other. It was not till nearly the end, when Tony seemed to switch up and become this loose cannon, that I felt he acted out of character and that the plot fell apart a bit. In fact, this episode marked what I felt became a too rapid tie up of all the various story threads that up until that point had been really well plotted. The end felt so rushed and Ro was much too forgiving toward a brother who nearly ruined his life. On top of that, I felt that we did not see enough of Tony on the page to warrant us believing his dramatic change in demeanor near the end of the novel. All in all, this was, to me, a fairly serious flaw that kept this novel from receiving a higher rating.

Fractured started out strong and moved swiftly, carrying the reader along in its wake. It was a well-drawn story that was simply weakened by a rushed ending. Fans of this author will enjoy this one despite its race to the finish.

Reviewed by Sammy at The Novel Approach