Each book in this series is better than the last. I really liked Randy and I felt like Priest was one of the more "realistic" mates. I actually kind of like that he was drawn to Randy but didn't feel an overwhelming pull towards him from the beginning. Even though they still went at warp speed (which is expected when using the mate trope) it felt more organic b/c there was a progression there.
I have to say I usually cringe when authors in this genre use abuse (or rape) as a "plot point" b/c rarely is it treated with the weight and sensitivity it deserves. There's usually a whole lot of healing cock and very little mention of the long term effects and things like counseling and therapy. One thing I do like about this story is that not only does Randy get counseling but Priest does as well.
One more note: I've noticed several reviews stating how they don't find it believable that the abuser was who they were. As someone who works at a DV shelter let me say this: There is no such thing as a "typical" abuser and quite often I get men, women and children in my office who are being abused by someone that "everybody" loves and who no one would ever suspect of beating their partner and/or children. I've also seen cases where abusers have worked the system to their advantage-playing the cops, judges, family court...making it appear that the victim is making things up or lying...until something tragic happens and by then, it's the damage has been done. So if you're of the mindset that it's "unbelievable" for someone to keep their abusive behavior under the radar successfully and appear to be the picture of civility and familial concern or you can't understand why Randy didn't simply tell the truth...you might want to volunteer at a shelter, talk to victims, volunteer at a crisis line or do some research. Gain some understanding and some knowledge and I guarantee you'll change your mind.