Webster is never in the direct path of danger, despite being the computer geek for Elite Protection Services, a company that provides, among other things, bodyguards who tend to fall in love with their charges. Sometimes that line of work gets a bit hairy, but not for Webster; he merely provides information. Just standard stuff until one of his own pet projects lands him in a maximum security prison face to face with Jonah, the very man he put away some twenty years before.
In an indirect way, some might call them brothers as Webster’s mother did marry Jonah’s father, but since neither were ever legally adopted, they are not in any way really connected unless you count the attraction they have for each other. Webster fears Jonah will hate him, as it was his testimony when six years old that landed Jonah in jail for the killing of his father—something that was not his doing, but that didn’t seem to matter. But rather than hate Webster, Jonah finds himself in the role of protective guardian in a prison population deliberately designed to eat Webster alive—something that whoever placed the man behind bars wants to have happen quite desperately.
With Linc and other members of Elite Protection working to free Webster, and Jonah doing his best to protect him, it’s up to Webster to come up with the leverage to not only get free, but also set right the many, many cases of false incarceration that were done in the past to minority juveniles in order to feed the monetary goals of prisons across the country. It is a race against time and, ultimately, his own death and possibly Jonah’s as well that pushes Webster to figure out just how far up the chain the corruption goes before it’s too late.
Onley James has begun the new Time Served series, and Endangered Species is the first installment. This is a spinoff of the Elite Protection Services series and any reader would be well served if they read that series before delving into this new one, as it features some of the Elite team, beginning with their computer guy, Webster. However, I will assure you that this review of Endangered Species contains no spoilers from other novels. It is a well-written and cohesive story and, for those who love a good action adventure book, this one is sure to please.
It is no secret that this author is at the top of my auto-buy list and for good reason. Onley James writes stories in this genre so very well, seamlessly weaving fast-paced, gripping action adventure stories of crime with typically kinky romance. In this case, Jonah and Webster share a past that has nearly destroyed them both and forged the beginning of a life-long desire to protect each other that needs just a small spark to ignite an attraction that burns hot instantaneously. Being thrown together in a cell in a dangerous maximum security prison unleashes an emotional explosion for both of them. In some ways, this story is rather brutal, between the events of the past, particularly in Webster’s case, and the constant reality of potential gang-rape and brutal beatings in prison. There are some scenes that are not for the faint of heart. Be aware that this novel is rife with potential triggers for those who suffer from past abuse in their lives, but also know that every retelling or actual scene is present in the story in order to move along the plot and not gratuitous in any way whatsoever.
Jonah is perhaps the most sincere hero that Onley James has written to date. He is just an ordinary black teen who has been incarcerated due to no fault of his own, a part of a corrupt prison system that still threatens lives in our society today. What sets him apart from other abused characters James creates is the idea that he is more of a common guy, nothing special in terms of wealth (there is none) or status. He could be anyone’s brother, cousin, or friend and that makes him more of an amazing human than anything else, for he holds on to his humanity in a place where others give into their warped and evil inclinations. It is apparent why Webster falls in love with Jonah and that makes this story all the more real and intense. I find that I tend to root for the underdog, but in this case doubly so for my heart stayed firmly in my throat until the very end of this novel, unsure as to just how Webster is going to get Jonah out alive.
I truly admire this author and thoroughly enjoy their work. Endangered Species is a great start for a series I will definitely pursue with each new installment. I highly recommend this wonderful novel to you.