Law Enforcement

Guarding Mr. Fine by Helenkay Dimon

guardingRating: 4 stars
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publication day:
 February 14, 2017
Length: 
240 pages  
Publisher:
 Loveswept

As an agent with the CIA’s special activities division, Seth Lang lives for risk—and yet he’s stuck playing bodyguard to the U.S. consul general in Munich. Although Seth’s last assignment nearly killed him, babysitting some desk jockey in a suit sounds way too easy. But when he lays eyes on the new top man, tactical expert Rick Fine, Seth’s thrilled to see just how hard this job is going to get. Mr. Tall, Dark, and Quiet has a body worth guarding—and he requires hands-on attention day and night.

Dispatched to a German consulate to expose the murder of his predecessor, Rick finds himself in an extremely vulnerable position. He needs a man like Seth—in so many ways. This mission will inevitably plunge them both into jeopardy, but each new threat only brings them closer. Rick just hopes that he can keep his deepest, darkest secret hidden—or else risk imperiling a relationship they’re both fighting for their lives to protect.

My View: Guarding Mr. Fine is a romance with an international political plot line as an important element. It starts with a quick introduction to the main characters, directly into the action. The author didn’t waste time letting us see their personalities and in Seth’s case, his profession.

One of the things I like the most about this story is how comfortable the main characters are in their skin, even when they struggled to connect with a partner. They are so into what works for them, that opening their hearts is more frightening than climbing down a multi-story building.

The romance plot is simple, but the undercover investigation adds to the book flow. Figuring out the good and bad guys isn’t hard, but still enjoyable. There are characters from previous books included but this is definitely a stand-alone book. I love the banter and the quick wits of all the characters, not just Seth and Rick.

There’s a real sense of danger throughout the story and a good sense of place. There are not many changes in settings, but it’s easy to visualize the ones introduced by the author. Overall, this is another good book in the series.

What I liked the most: The chemistry between the main characters.

I wanted more/less: More alone time between Rick and Seth outside the bedroom.

Who should read it: Fans of the series and law enforcement stories.

ARC provided by Loveswept, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Softpaw by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus

SoftpawRate: 3.75 stars
Genre: 
Paranormal – Shifters
Publication day: 
July 14, 2016
Length: 
219 pages  
Publisher: 
Self-Published – Extras

Connor’s life could have been the dream of any cultured werecat. He is spending his days in Paris’ gay quarter with comfortably little real work, playing the piano, surrounded by art, fine food and good friends. It could have been, if not for a feral vampire preying on the prostitutes of ‘his’ quarter, killing the boys of the Marais one by one.

When Connor invites a newly arrived hooker to stay on his houseboat, the last thing he expects is Michel to be a member of the Brigade Criminelle – a troubled, hunky rookie cop sent undercover to explore Connor’s connection to the murders, picked mostly because he had been a boy of the Marais himself, not so long ago.

Hiding their true nature becomes a problem for both when their realize there maybe is more to their inital attraction. But in order to bring down the serial killer and maybe have a chance at making their relationship work out, one of them will have to
take the first, critical leap.

My View: I had said, multiple times, that I have a soft spot for stories with rentboys and escorts. I like seeing how they evolved through the story and what caused those changes. In this case, we see a different side of the equation. And combined with an undercover investigation and a werecat, this story has the bones to be great.

This story got me more interested in the mystery aspect than the romance. Yes, it was nice to see how Connor’s and Michel’s feelings developed, but I see them more like a paranormal version of classic superheroes. They want to do good, and both have their secrets. Unknowingly, they’re working to get the same killer down and perhaps, and earlier alliance may have added to the suspense.

The secondary characters in this story are multi-dimensional and fit the story arc. Everyone has a reason to be and help the story move forward. It’s easy to get attached to them, even those we have only met in passing. The settings are interesting and put together in a way we can see the fictitious areas bloom within the real streets of Paris.

My only complaint about this story is the lack of a strong connection between the reasons for the killer to attack and the end result. Yes, we get to know the police’s assumptions and Connor’s, but we don’t get enough from the killer’s perspective. Plus, some of the encounters between Connor and the killer pushed the “reality” boundaries established by the authors.

There’s a small setup for the next book in the series, but not enough to entice a reader to continue reading; unless you read the extra content at the end of the book. Then, you’ll want to know more about the next installment.

What I liked the most: The amount of detail in the descriptions.

I wanted more: Time between Michel and Connor’s cat.

Who should read it: Fans of werecats and humans couples.

ARC provided by the author as part of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group Don’t Buy My Love Program.

Promises Part 2 by A.E. Via

Promises Part 2Rate: 4 stars
Genre: Contemporary
Publication day: March 20, 2016
Length:  290 pages
Publisher: Via Star Wings Books

Roman “Quick” Webb is one badass bounty hunter on the crime-filled streets of Atlanta. He’s fearless when it comes to carrying out his dangerous job alongside his longtime best friend and business partner, Duke. However, there is one thing that has begun to cause Quick concern and it’s the dreadful thought of living out the rest of his life alone. Seeing his best friend and his son fall in love and sharing the special connection that only true soulmates can, has made him all the more aware of what’s lacking in his life.

Love.

Dr. Cayson Chauncey has been wildly attracted to the big, tattooed hunter for almost a year, ever since he performed the surgery that saved Quick’s best friend’s life. Cayson must’ve mistaken Quick’s gratitude for something more, because the one time he tried to make his desires known, he was harshly rebuffed and left on the man’s doorstep feeling stupid for hitting on an obviously very straight man.

Cayson never dated a man who was willing to come out of hiding and be with him. Now at almost forty, Cayson is intent on no longer being anyone’s dirty secret. Having experienced countless disappointments, and having taken a stand not to fall for any more tricks, Cayson is more than a little skeptical when Quick comes around asking for a second chance to prove himself. The gorgeous man had already made it clear that he was not interested in Cayson… or so he’d thought.

Dr. Chauncey stirred up Quick’s suppressed, most carnal desires from a place deep down inside of him. He’d reacted so badly the first time that now his sexy surgeon wanted nothing to do with him. It was going to take a fair amount of patience and a whole lot of wooing involved as Quick sets out to convince Cayson that he’s worth another chance and that he is the brave lover who Cayson has been looking for.

With a scorned ex and a very dangerous job thrown into the mix, Cayson’s happiness and all of Quick’s promises may not be as easy to keep as they’d hoped.

My View: Promises Part 2 is better than the first book. Perhaps, because we are familiar with the characters and with the exception of one chapter, we don’t get unnecessary POV shifts. Quick’s and Cayson’s personalities are distinctive enough for the first person narrative to work well.

The relationship between the MCs starts with a tentative truce and a slow burn. In the previous book, we get to see how Quick dismisses the doctor and how Cayson finds himself humiliated by it. We also get a peek into Cayson’s toxic relationship with Dr. Joe.

When this story starts, Quick is ready to embrace, not only his bisexuality but his attraction to Cayson. Cayson in the other hand doesn’t believe in Quick’s interest and thinks he’s only trying to play with the gay guy to humiliate him.

It takes time and several dates, for the MCs to get comfortable together. Plus, some poking from Duke and Vaugh. When they decided to start dating, they go all in even when the threat of Dr. Joe, Cayson’s scorned ex is present.

There’s action, love, and much more in this installment. The angst level is minimal even when they are dealing with the jealous ex. The smexy scenes are well balanced with the everyday events, and we can enjoy the novelty of their sexual exploration too.

The author did an excellent job incorporating the characters from the previous story into this book, and the guys from the crossover series, Nothing Special, as well. We get to see their loyalty and the family they represent. And we got a little hint of a possible couple. I hope I’m right in my assumption. Ford needs a little something for taking care of his brother.

What I liked the most: How comfortable Quick was with his sexuality.

I wanted more of: The main reason behind Quick’s rage.

Who should read it: Any fan of Law Enforcement stories.

ARC provided by the author as part of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group Don’t Buy My Love Program.

The Broken H by J.L. Langley

The Broken HRate: 4 stars
Genre: Contemporary, Cowboys
Publication day: September 26, 2007
Length:  132 pages
Publisher: Loose Id

A rocky past that sent Shane fleeing his home and seeking refuge on The Broken H has kept him from the one thing that has always been dear to him.Grayson.

Sheriff Grayson Hunter hasn’t felt like he belonged for a long time. Once he loved The Broken H, his ancestral home, and Shane Cortez with all that he was. Now he tries to stay as far away from the ranch and the man as possible until an accident brings them together.

Gray didn’t count on Shane’s decision to let go of the past…and get a hold of Gray.

Quickie: I started reading the Ranch series as a recommendation, and I can say now, it matched my reading preferences very well. This second installment felt different from the first, more of a connection between the MCs.

It was definitely and quick and easy read. A simple story, perfect for a calm afternoon. The Broken H has the right combination of plot, characters, chemistry, and romance troupes.

What I liked the most: How much the MCs wanted each other. I loved the strength of Shane’s love and how Gray responded to it.

I wanted more of: A chase between the MC before they got together for the first time.

Who should read it: Fans of friends-to-lovers stories.

Love the Sinner by Avril Ashton

Love the SinnerRate: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Contemporary, Law Enforcement
Length: 229 pages
Published: May 9, 2012
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave

Detective Gabriel Ashby has never looked twice at another man, yet the criminal across from him, the man he’s interrogating, isn’t like any other. Gabe can’t deal with the sudden, intense need he has for one of NYPD’s Most Wanted. Everyone close to Angelo Pagan ends up dead, with the smug gang leader standing amid the rubble. Gabe would love nothing more than to bust Angelo’s ass and lock him up. So why is he seeing the bastard in his dreams at night?

Angelo Pagan knows attraction to Gabe is suicide. He’s resolute to ignore the chemistry…until a police raid goes wrong. He critically injures Gabe, changing the trajectory of both their lives. Now the two can’t get close enough. They settle into a forbidden affair threatened by lies and betrayal, living on different sides of the law with no way of breaching the gap between them. With the authorities looking to make an example of Angelo, Gabe has to decide if it’s really worth it to hate the sin but love the sinner.

I read the Run this Town series first, and now I’m moving back to the very beginning with the Brooklyn Sinners. Both series are stand-alone, but all the characters are interconnected. Plus, I’m getting ready to read all the books in-between the two and the ones connecting them to the new series, Loose Ends.

My View: This story is another example of the author’s ability to create characters that steal the reader’s heart. We get happy and suffer with them, for them, without exception.

My main complaint is about the beginning of the story. When the MCs met for the first time, the reader had to assume they knew each other, but then we find out that was their first time talking to each other. Everything they know comes from Angelo’s record and any information he gathers about Gabe. After that, the reader just had to suspend their beliefs about attraction and rights and wrongs. Some areas were a little slow and others too fast, but in the end, a good balance was achieved.

I like this book, and it works well as the first in the series, setting the main couple and the rest of the characters. From the very beginning, I wanted to know more about Pablo, Kane, and Syren. And at some points, it distracted it me from Angelo’s and Gabe’s story. But overall, still another great story by this author.

What I liked the most: The sex scenes, obviously : -D Actually, the depth of the MCs feelings for each other.

I wanted more of: Nothing, really.

Who should read it: Fans of law enforcement stories.