I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read this, maybe three or four. Well, I’m reading it again. Zero at the Bone by Jane Seville is a must-read for any m-m romance fans. Jack and D are the best! They grow on me more and more each time, and each additional time I read it, I notice something that I missed before or something that I really like. Ms. Seville has such a wonderful writing style. She draws the reader right into the story.
Let’s start at the very beginning (oops, sorry, this isn’t a Julie Andrews song!). The opening sentence is “The smell of cheap motel rooms was comforting to him, like his oldest, rattiest T-shirt.” Wow! What description! I like that in this first scene the “him” is a mystery. The reader learns about the character but doesn’t have a name to put with “him” – yet. It all fits with D’s persona.
Jack’s introduction is just as intriguing. The first sentence in his scene is “Jack just wanted to wash the blood off of his sleeves.” After reading the book description, I automatically assumed Jack was bloody after having just performed surgery. Not quite the case!
I love the strength Jack shows when he first meets D, who is sitting in his “fake” home (the home where Witness Protections stashed him in Nevada) with a gun across his lap. More of Ms. Seville’s amazing writing (2%):
Jack took slow, even breaths. I’m going to die any second. The thought was surprisingly bereft of power. The idea of death didn’t have much potency when confronted with the inescapable fact of it. It was a done deal. No use being afraid of it. It was almost a relief not to have to dread it anymore.
D’s internal debate comes next. To kill or not to kill Dr. Jack Francisco. Ms. Seville gives us amazing insight into D’s mind – the hired killer has morals. He doesn’t want to kill Jack from the start – he’s just a witness, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then things change, his hand is forced. I love how D describes how mad the brothers will be if he doesn’t take out Jack. This is at 4%: “Mad. Mad like a hornet’s nest gets stepped on. Mad like a fuckin’ hurricane, and that’s about how strong they’d come after him. Not him…them.”
My first highlight in the story came when Jack and D are discussing what’s going to happen with Jack, when D is trying to make Jack understand his world and the rules he lives by.
D starts (he sure does like to curse – beware!):
Those fuckers are gonna come after me fer not killin’ you, and they’re gonna come after you fer not bein’ dead yet, and no one can protect you from them! No one, ya hear? Not the Marshals, not the police, not the goddamned Neighborhood Watch! Yer only shot is ta stick with me!
Jack’s reaction to all of that:
Jack blinked, not sure if he was hearing what he thought he was hearing. “What, you’re saying that… now you want to protect me?”
I feel like now that I know the story, I can appreciate all the intricacies in the writing, all the little hints Ms. Seville drops along the way. I don’t know if she planned them all or if they just happened, but they make for an incredible, emotional story!! Quite frankly, I don’t think I can say enough good things about this story.
After witnessing a mob hit, surgeon Jack Francisco is put into protective custody to keep him safe until he can testify. A hitman known only as D is blackmailed into killing Jack, but when he tracks him down, his weary conscience won’t allow him to murder an innocent man. Finding in each other an unlikely ally, Jack and D are soon on the run from shadowy enemies. Forced to work together to survive, the two men forge a bond that ripens into unexpected passion. Jack sees the wounded soul beneath D’s cold, detached exterior, and D finds in Jack the person who can help him reclaim the man he once was. As the day of Jack’s testimony approaches, he and D find themselves not only fighting for their lives… but also fighting for their future. A future together.
Ms. Seville can be found at http://www.janesevillebooks.com/
5+ out of 5 stars!