Love Thy Brother by Garrett Leigh
Rebel Kings MC #4
LGBTQ+ Contemporary Romance
March 29, 2023 by Fox Love Press
Reviewed by Kate H.
Garrett Leigh’s Rebel Kings MC series is unrelenting in the best of ways, and the fourth and latest installment, Love Thy Brother, is no exception. The recommendation to read it as part of the series and not a standalone is a wise one. For one, Leigh doesn’t do a lot of background at the beginning of the novel to catch you up. For another, no background would do justice to the compelling three novels before this one. You will want to be part of the whole journey, including the scorching hot duet of the first two novels. While all the darkest sides of English motorcycle clubs, and the sketchy alliances they make with other international crime organizations, are on full display in this series, the Rebel Kings MC is on an arc to going legit, and it is two steps forwards, one step back the whole series.
Love Thy Brother includes at least one step forward, and perhaps a half step back. It is the story of River and Rubi. River is the brother of the president of the Rebel Kings, Cam, but he has eschewed his place in the MC, instead running a fully legitimate motorcycle repair shop in a nearby town. River, Rubi, and Cam grew up in the MC, and lost their parents to club business, directly or indirectly. River seems angry, volatile, and anxious. He loves Rubi, despite Rubi remaining in the club, but he is so afraid of loss and abandonment that it takes an extraordinary combination of events that threaten his motorcycle shop and the MC itself to bring them together for long enough for him to see Rubi as he really is. Rubi, through the years, has been taking care of others as he pines for River, the little brother of his best friend, Cam. But a serious head injury has left him with crippling intermittent migraines and a serious disregard for his own safety.
Leigh does such a fantastic job of creating characters that are distinct from one another, and you feel it in their actions, in the way they speak, and when they are narrating, in their POV. It is no different in Love Thy Brother. But the other aspect of this book, and the others in the series, is that though the hurt/comfort theme is there, and there is physical and emotional pain abounding, and, of course, violence, love also manifests as something you can almost tangibly touch as you read. In the end, it is brotherhood, it is family, love of children, care for the community, and of lovers that rise above the struggles of this small band of men.
If I had one complaint about Love Thy Brother, it would be that the addiction thread in it seemed like it was tied up too neatly. Without giving up too much, River has a problem. We get to see him face the issue head-on in the novel. And thankfully, that doesn’t magically resolve it – River does speak to a professional. I would have liked a little more discussion at the end, particularly between River and Rubi, because it almost seemed like an afterthought.
CW: violence, addiction, grief, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, child porn
I’ve really enjoyed the Rebel Kings series. Yes, there is violence—not just from other MCs and “bad guys” but also in flashbacks to abusive situations in the past. But the level of angst is off the charts—and I’m totally there for it! Highly recommended if you do not find the violence upsetting.