Conner Sutherland never thought he’d meet the love of his life in the Afterlife…
Conner Sutherland has been alone for a long time. He can’t remember the last time he even felt the desire to be touched by another man. Sometime before his death, when he’d still been Laine’s lover. But Laine had found Severo years ago, and if any two people were meant for each other it was Laine and Sev. Where that leaves Conner, he doesn’t know, other than feeling lost and out of sorts.
He doesn’t want to think about the way he feels when he sees Ro—Rogelio, Sev’s nephew. Conner’s seen Ro grow from pretty boy into a handsome man, but wanting him is foolish and useless. Ro’s got a life to live, and even if he does things that hurt Conner, that’s not Ro’s fault. He doesn’t know he entranced Conner long ago.
Ro has only ever wanted one man for keeps. It’s a pointless want, though, because Conner Sutherland is dead and too busy pranking Laine and Sev to notice Ro anyway.
While I enjoyed Ascension, it required more of a suspension of reality than the previous installments in the series. After all, we’re looking at a relationship between Conner, who we’ve only known as a spirit, and Sev’s nephew Rogelio. Without spoiling the book for potential readers, this means you are either going to have a relationship between a spirit and a living being OR two spirits if Ro were to pass away during the book. As the blurb intimates of Conner feeling desire for the first time in many, many years, it’s pretty much a given that we’ll be treated to some hot sex regardless of the nature of the pairing. So either way, you should be prepared for even more of a paranormal angle to the story than we’ve seen in previous installments because living or dead, Bradford brings the heat to McKinton.
Ascension takes place quite a few years after What Remains and we’re meeting a 28 year-old Rogelio, who still resides in McKinton with his parents as his mother’s health has been failing over the years and his father can use the help in caring for her. When Alma passes sooner than expected, we are given the first glimpse within the series of what happens to those spirits not bound to the world and it scared the bejeezus out of Conner because he didn’t want to leave Laine, Sev, or even Rogelio behind. Having been close to his mother, Ro took her passing hard and spiraled downward into a depression that had him engaging in some risky behaviors. Ro’s apathy made it easy for him to fall victim to a man whose treatment of him was abusive and even though the author is kind enough not to make the reader watch the man we last knew as a boy be mistreated, there is enough information provided that you have no doubt of what happened to Ro. When one thing leads to another, Conner finds himself claiming the young man he has fallen in love with over the years, surprised to learn that the feelings of affection are returned. And the two men embark upon a relationship that knows no bounds.
Whereas the previous books in the series have had more of a contemporary romance feel with just a little paranormal twist to them, Ascension is a full-fledged paranormal romance. As much as I hated what Ro endured when his mother passed, I liked that he was able to find comfort in Conner and that the two men were finally able to express their feelings for each other. The time frame within the book is hard to pin down, but that seems intentional because Conner’s concept of time is more fluid as a spirit. That combined with the shared history between Conner and Ro kept it from feeling like an insta-love situation when Ro’s psychic ability finally manifested. True to form, Bradford insures that the men are able to consummate their relationship and it is heavenly (pun intended). I was surprised that more didn’t come of the JD angle, especially considering the man approached Ro’s father and Laine found out about it. Ascension was an enjoyable addition to the Southern Spirts series and I’m looking forward to reading Stefan’s story in Whirlwind as the little bit I saw of Stefan at the end of Ascension hints at a rather interesting dynamic.