Reviewed by JustJen & Susan65
Title: Bad Influence
Author: K.A. Mitchell
Series: Bad in Baltimore #4
Heroes: Jordan Barnett (Silver) and Zebediah Harris
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 298 Pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Available at: Samhain Publishing, Amazon & Barnes and Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads & Booklikes
Blurb: To remake their future, they’ll have to use pieces of their broken past.
The young man the world knew as Jordan Barnett is dead, killed as much by the rejection of his first love at his moment of greatest need, as by his ultra-conservative parents’ effort to deprogram the gay away.
In his place is Silver, a streetwise survivor who’s spent the last three years learning to become untouchable…unless you’re willing to pay for the privilege. He shies away from anything that might hold him down long enough for betrayal to find him again.
Zebediah Harris spent time overseas, trying to outrun the guilt of turning his back on the young man he loved. Now, almost the moment he sets foot back in Baltimore, he discovers Silver on a street corner in a bad part of town. His effort to make amends lands them both in jail.
Trapped together in a cell, Silver sits on his mountain of secrets and plans a seductive form of revenge, but finds that using a heart as a stepping stone is no way to move past the one man he can’t forgive, let alone forget.
Warning: Contains a surly hero. May cause angst. A prolonged delay in sexual situations may cause frustration. Author recommends a steady dose of familiar friends and characters to alleviate those symptoms. No actual teenagers were used during the construction of the back story.
Susan: I live just outside Baltimore and feel like jumping into my car and finding all the guys from this series; especially Silver and Eli. I know this book is about Silver and Zeb, but the friendship between Eli and Silver was the real winner in this book for me. Could be that Eli’s book was my favorite and so I was beside myself having another healthy dose of my favorite Bad in Baltimore series character. Oh Eli…sigh.
Jen: I fell in love with Eli as well, but I’ve really been waiting for Silver’s story. I liked him from the very beginning, before really even knowing what he’d been through. I just knew there were good reasons for him behavior, and I love that Eli always sees through that and continues to tuck Silver under his wing.
Susan: Silver, Silver, Silver. We met him as Eli’s friend in Bad Boyfriend and he really needed to have his story told. The poor guy had it rough…and it’s no wonder he ran when he saw Zeb, I would have run too. Silver was raised by wealthy religious zealots who kicked his rear end to a camp to “cure” him of his gayness. How sick is that? The abuse he found in that camp was horrendous, and it’s no wonder he chose life on the streets instead. Seriously, his options were choosing the lesser of two evils…and all the crap that comes with it.
Jen: I loved learning about Silver’s past and what led him to where he is today. He really does try to do the right thing, though that doesn’t always happen. I absolutely love these kinds of characters, so I was drawn to his story and wanted every detail I could get. He has certainly been dealt a lot of crap hands in his life, and it was really a joy to see his friends (which he finally realizes he has and what that means) really pull through and help him get past his issues.
The story: Zeb loved Jordan. Jordan was everything to him…even though he realized he was young. Of course Jordan lied about his age, and Zeb was only 22 years old himself, but still, Zeb is a teacher not a pedophile (though he has struggled to believe this himself). So when Jordan escapes from the camp and runs straight to his lover for help, Zeb closes the door in his face.
In the meantime, Jordan gave up his real name and kept the moniker of Silver given to him by a druggie he befriended on the streets. He wasn’t Jordan anymore and he never would be. He was now simply Silver. But Silver was fortunate to have met Eli during his time on the streets. Having Eli look out for him and become his best friend saved Silver in many ways. And once Eli finds his own sugar daddy in Quinn and moves to the suburbs, Eli stays his friend and tries to help Silver any way he can. See why we love the feisty little firecracker Eli? Seriously, we adore that man.
However, Zeb is back, and even though he is still tied to his religion, he is also still in love with Jordan and wants to find him. He has lived with the guilt of tossing him away, and once he learns what Silver had to do to survive on the streets, his guilt sky rockets, especially when he learns that he’s now also HIV positive. How can Zeb ever forgive himself and how can his Jordie, now Silver, ever forgive or trust him again?
Final thoughts: Needless to say, this is a romance and one with a happy ending, but the road there isn’t easy. There are a lot of hurt feelings, trips to visit parents that don’t deserve to be parents, all starting with a side trip to the Baltimore City jail. But the main focus was friends being really, really good friends. We see friends stepping up to the plate when you have no one else to stand beside you. And best of all, we have a full reunion from all the guys from the previous Bad in Baltimore books making multiple appearances and reminding us of why we loved them all so much. As for us, that was Eli and Silver. Our two favorite characters who beat the odds and made it.
Overall Impression: We really liked it
*We received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*