Hell and Gone by Tal Bauer

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Five out of Five Stars

The Summary

Two vanished cowboys.
Three hundred missing cattle.
The Crazy Mountains are devouring everything they see.

Everett Dawson, Montana’s newest Stock Detective, has been sent from Helena down to the Crazy Mountains. Cattle are going missing in the Crazies and Everett is charged with finding these modern-day rustlers and bringing them in.

When he arrives, he finds a hanged cowboy and a heap of questions. Was it suicide or was it murder? Why are cowboys fleeing the Crazies? Far from a simple investigation, Everett’s case plunges deep into the mountains’ dark past.

Lawrence Jackson, the bad boy who runs the Lazy Twenty Two, was the last man to see the dead cowboy alive. There’s a whole forest fire of smoke swirling around Lawrence, and where there’s smoke, there’s flame… and maybe even murder.

But Everett is drawn to Lawrence, and if he takes the risk Lawrence offers, will Everett find what he craves, or will the Crazies claim their next victim

The Review

Tall Bauer has created another picturesque, gritty and thrilling western set in Montana. Everette is fresh out of the military and headed right into the Crazy Mountains were cattle have gone missing, and ranch hands are slowly starting to disappear.  Lawrence Jackson is beyond frustrated with the lack of investigation happening and doesn’t believe a green Stock Detective, Everett Dawson, is going to make much headway in the investigation.

Let me talk about Lawrence and Everette for a moment. Both men distrust each other from the beginning, but as time passes that distrust develops into trust. Everett recognized that frustration in Lawrence and after hearing everything, his mind starts connecting the dots. Once they start working to trust each other, the chemistry between them ignites.

Everette has flashes of PTSD and they felt genuine. There were subtle triggers that put him back in the desert and deep in his memories. The void that had been in him since his military tours, was finally being filled by one hell of a stubborn cowboy, Lawrence Jackson. I loved that stubborn, take no shit attitude that Lawrence had. He was a modern cowboy, who worked hard and loved harder.

I grit my teeth, felt the frustration that Lawrence had, connected the dots just as Everette did, and melted into satisfaction.

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The Rising by Morgan Brice

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary:  A big storm is brewing, there’s a killer on the loose, and the ghosts of Myrtle Beach are restless. Psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his sexy cop boyfriend, homicide detective Vic D’Amato have their hands full helping the Grand Strand brace for rough surf, driving rain, and high winds as a winter storm roars toward shore.

Everyone’s on edge, and rumors are rampant about sightings of Blackcoat Benny, a ghostly omen of danger, and worse, the Gallows Nine, the spirits of nine infamous criminals hanged back in the 1700s, a harbinger of disaster. Rough tides wash the wreck of an old pirate ship into shallow waters, high winds threaten to damage an old mansion with a dark past, and the citizens of the beach town hunker down to ride out the storm.

As the skies grow dark and the sea turns wild, several men from prominent local families end up dead under suspicious circumstances. Simon’s premonition confirms Vic’s gut feeling—the killing is just getting started. As Simon tries to reach out to the spirits of the murdered men to help the investigation, he’s attacked by malicious ghosts that don’t want anyone getting in the way of their long-overdue vengeance.

With the storm hammering the coast, and new victims piling up, Simon is certain that the sins and secrets of the past are coming due, and that the murders have a supernatural link. Vic and Simon race to stop the murders against an unholy deadline, but as they battle rising tides and risen ghosts, can they save the intended victims without getting trapped themselves?

The Review

A storm washes in more than then skeleton of past pirate ships a shore. As the storm approaches suspicious deaths start occurring of men of from local families that don’t quite make sense. Homicide detective Vic D’Amato brings in his psychic medium boyfriend Simon Kincaide in to see if he can pick up on why these men are dying. At the same time Simon is trying to make historical Socastee Manor safe from vicious spirits for the crew that is working to bring it back to its former glory.

What I loved about the second book in the Bandlands series? The pirate lore and the connections that linked past and present. It was fun seeing how events of the past were coming to effect the present. I still have moments where I got that chill running up and down my spine and made me want to look over my shoulder (even though I was reading in bed and my bed is against a wall). The Socastee Manor scenes were the shining star for me. The descriptions were rich, the spirits were so different to each other that it didn’t feel like the same ole’ same ole’. It felt fresh and slightly chilling. I was there in the manor watching and feeling all the terror that the characters were feeling.

Vic and Simon were just as delicious in this book as they were in the first book. Vic had a hard time balancing being a cop and being a significant other in regards to Simon and that struggle was realistic. I think it if had been glossed over like it is in so many books, I might have given it an eye roll, because that’s not how Simon and Vic are. Their feelings towards each other are intense, still fresh, and they do their best to protect each other.

I’m looking forward to what this couple will be facing next.

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Christmas Angel by Eli Easton

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary: When John Trent, a dedicated member of the new Bow Street Runners, finds an exquisite carved angel floating in the Thames, he can’t stop thinking about it. He tracks down its creator, a sad and quiet young sculptor. But neither the angel nor the sculptor is done with John just yet. The blasted angel refuses to leave him be, behaving not at all like an inanimate object should.

Alec Allston is resigned to the fact that his love will ever be a river that flows out and never flows in. All he wanted to do was create a special gift so that a small part of himself could be with his unattainable and noble beloved, always. But when the gift keeps showing back up at his shop in the hands of a windblown and rugged thief-taker, Alec will need to reconsider his conviction that love is destined to remain an aethereal ideal.

The Review

Whenever I see any kind of historical M/M book, I snatch up the chance to read them. Add Eli Easton into that mix and that just sweetens the deal. Elia Easton has written their first book in the series of holiday-based romances that are all connected by the Christmas Angel that connects Alec Allston and John Trent.

Allston is a sculptor who has had his heart broken and dedicates his life to his art. That is, until John Trent appears in his shop holding an angel that had been tossed into the Thames. John is a Bow Street Runner on the hunt for justice and wants to return the angel to its owner/creator.  The connection between the two men is obvious and only intensifies the more they see each other.

I’m a stickler for accuracy in historical novels and this one fit the bill. Even the interactions between Allston and Trent were accurate. Oh John Trent, he could sweep any man off his feet. He was kind and took the time to woo Allston with little gifts, walks and talks at his shop.

I absolutely loved the house of misfits that Trent lived in. I think by introducing Allston to his housemates, it gave Allston the courage to go after what he wanted. They’re romance scenes weren’t overdone. Their kisses were sweet and then steamy.

The detail used throughout put you in the time period. I could see the clothes, the expressions and the city around Allston and Trent as the story progressed. My only complaint was I needed more!, especially between Allston and Trent in certain aspects.

Will I be reading and recommending this one out to friends? Oh yes. Go read it now!

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Breaking In by Ashton Cade

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Five out of Five Stars

The Summary:

Ryan:  After my divorce to Barb, my life has been just me, my little boy and my job. Some people might call me overprotective, but as the Sheriff of Umberland, I know a lot more than they do about what can happen when you let down your guard. When my high school best friend Christian comes to visit, sure, I remember experimenting with him as teenagers, but what I can’t ignore is the fierce attraction that still burns between us.
What’s even more, Christian makes me feel safe and protected—something I do for everyone else.
I’ve never been attracted to a man since Christian… but as soon as I lay my eyes on him, I don’t think I’ll be attracted to anyone else ever again.

Christian:

I knew I was gay forever, it seems. But my first love was the one that stuck with me all these years: Ryan Rainier. He’s a big deal in the police department now, and as a man in uniform, he’s every bit as gorgeous as he was in those young years.
But Ryan’s straight, right? So why does he keep looking at me that way, with hunger in his eyes?
Am I just seeing what I want to see? And can I risk losing a lifelong friend for a shot at love?

 

 

The Review

Ryan is a small town cop how wants the best for his son, Troy. He isn’t actively searching for romance. His ex-wife burned him pretty badly when she cheated and left him for a terrible excuse for a man (he’s a jerk in the politest terms possible).When his former best friend, Christian, is back in town and the attraction they shared as teenagers reignites. They hadn’t gotten past teenage fumbling but it’s clear that they both want much more this go around.

I enjoyed book two in this series a lot more than book one. That’s a rarity for me but there was something about Ryan, his son Troy, and Christian that compelled me to keep reading and rooting for them. I loved how sure Ryan was about Christian. The chemistry between the two of them, oh boy, it was juicy.

Their relationship started to rebuild while Christian slept on the couch and progressed from there. Christian also gave Troy time and attention. Ryan and Troy were a package deal and Christian fell in love with them both. He was so sweet to Troy. He was kind, understanding and willing to step back if it meant Ryan would be happy.

I swear I got heart eyes way too many times while reading this but Ryan going to look for Christian? Oh I melted into a puddle of happiness. I absolutely loved Ryan and Christian and that epilogue? *wistful sigh*

This is a definite must read and one I’ll probably revisit when I need a feel-good, pick me up.

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Dead Reckoning by Pandora Pine

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: When the spirit of a young male prostitute comes to psychic Tennyson Grimm asking him to find the john who brutally murdered him, Tennyson can’t say no. Only able to communicate through the use of images, rather than words, getting any information out of the young man is frustrating and slow going.

Cold Case Detective Ronan O’Mara has been on a roll solving cases since he and Tennyson last teamed up to solve the Michael Frye case. Unfortunately, the red-hot romance that had blossomed between them during that investigation is now off in a ditch, thanks to Ronan’s self-confessed pigheadedness.

Agreeing to work together despite the rift in their relationship, Tennyson and Ronan discover they are in for more than they bargained for when more victims start to reveal themselves to Tennyson.

Realizing they might have a serial killer on their hands, the two men work tirelessly to stop this madman from killing again, but when the killer targets the son of a prominent member of the Boston Police Department, can Ronan and Tennyson save him before it’s too late?

The Review

Detective Ronan O’Mara and psychic Tennyson Grimm are back and things aren’t all rainbows, kittens and butterflies for the couple. Since the conclusion of their last case they’ve spent their time apart and angry with each other. Tennyson gave Ronan the ultimatum, get help from a therapist or they’re done. It takes a case to bring the two back together and a level of understanding between the two of them.

There’s a serial killer out there torturing and murdering teenage boys who have taken to the street to survive. They’ve resorted to this life style because they came out and were not accepted by their families. As Ronan and Tennyson work their way through this case, they find each other and a family that they didn’t know they had in their friends.

All the men in this series are emotional, be it angry, happy, sad, loving. The entire range of emotions is explored over all the characters. One of the reasons this didn’t get a full five stars was how overly masculine Ronan is and how dramatic Tennyson can get. I get that it’s their personalities. That’s how it was in the first book. But it’s gotten more intense, if that makes any sense?

Then I figured out who the killer was really early on. I was still invested though.  I needed Ronan and Tennyson to be okay, to care for each other and be part of each other’s lives.  Then the Captain and Greeley? OMG, my heart broke into a million pieces and then slowly rebuilt. I love the Cap. He’s one of the secondary characters the jumps out at you and is like, ‘helloooo, I’m here and important’. He is important and wonderful and I want someone like him in my life.

I enjoyed this, even though I nitpick about little things (like the overuse of the word cock). Am I going to pick up the next one to read, review and feature on here? Yep. I just hope we get a little more flirty, seductive moments between Ronan and Tennyson. Perhaps a little more complexity?

 

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It’s a Sin by Steve Burford

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: “He is a talented and very promising young policeman. Make no mistakes, he deserves the promotion.”

But when gay Detective Sergeant Dave Lyon is assigned to Detective Inspector Claire Summerskill’s team as part of the Service’s ‘positive discrimination policy’, no-one at Foregate Street Station is happy. And that includes Summerskill and Lyon.

Mutual suspicion and mistrust must be shelved however, when a young man’s beaten body is found on a canal tow path, and a dead-end case of ‘happy slapping’ unexpectedly turns into a murder investigation.

Why would someone want to kill middle class arts student Jonathan Williams? And how is his death linked to that of rent boy and would be ‘adult’ film star Sean?

As Summerskill and Lyon’s investigations proceed, the newly-promoted detectives begin to untangle a web of connections, false assumptions and sheer prejudices that force them both to question closely not just their relationship with each other but with the rest of their colleagues at Foregate Street Station and with the Police Service as a whole.

The Review

It’s a Sin by Steve Burford is the first book in the Summerskill and Lyon series. I really enjoyed this one. I read it over the course of two nights while in bed. Cause that’s how I like my murder mysteries. What you get in book one of this series is an introduction into who Summerskill, Lyon, the inner workings of the Foregate Street Police Station, and the communities surround them. I feel like at this point you should know there isn’t much romance in this. It’s more focused on developing the characters and solving the crime. I’d love to get to see some steamy scenes with Sergeant Dave Lyon though. I have a feeling he’s a bit of a stunner.

Detective Inspector Claire Summerskill has just been promoted, but she doesn’t get to have the Sergeant she was expecting. Instead she gets Dave Lyon, who is completely new to the area and openly gay (Which I was super excited about and cackled at some of the things he did). You don’t get many cop novels with openly gay characters who don’t need to be saved or coddled. Sergeant Lyon didn’t need coddling.

Their first assignment was ‘happy slapping’ – which I had no idea what that meant but figured it out pretty quick. A random person/persons jumps another and then goes on about their way. What was supposed to be an easy case turned into something much more difficult, multiple murders of gay men along a canal.

What I liked about Claire and Dave was the fact that neither of them were perfect. They had their moments of anger, frustration and misunderstanding. But they pushed each other to figure out what was really happening.  I’m on a bit of a mystery kick and just enjoying what I’ve read so I didn’t quite figure out who the killer was until the last minute. It was unexpected and it was kind of neat that I was kept guess the entire time.

I’m looking forward to getting to know more about Claire and Dave. My inner romance reader is hoping for Dave to get some action but I liked this enough that I don’t have to have that.

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Dead Speak by Pandora Pine

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Four out of Five Stars

Audio Book Review

The Summary: Demoted to the cold case squad after shooting a suspect in the line of duty, Detective Ronan O’Mara knows that his career with the Boston Police Department is hanging by a thread. His first assignment is the case of Michael Frye, a five-year-old boy who has been missing for seven years. With no new leads or witnesses to interview, Ronan has to start from scratch to solve this mystery. When he sees a handsome local psychic on television, Ronan figures he’s got nothing to lose in enlisting the man’s help to find Michael.

Psychic Tennyson Grimm is riding high after helping South Shore cops find a missing child. He’s even being courted by the Reality Show Network about a program showcasing his abilities. He has no idea that his midday appointment with a customer, who instead turns out to be a police detective, is going to change the course of his life and his career.

With the blessing of the BPD, which badly needs an image make-over, Ronan is allowed to bring Tennyson in to assist with the Frye case. Being thrown together in front of cameras is never easy, but add in an emotional missing person’s investigation, a tight-lipped spirit, and a cop who’s a skeptic, and it definitely puts a strain on both men and their working relationship.

When the child’s body is found, the work to identify his killer begins. As Ronan and Tennyson get closer to solving the case, the initial attraction they feel for one another explodes into a passion neither man can contain.

Will working together to bring Michael’s killer to justice seal their fledgling bond, or will unexpected revelations in the case tear them apart forever?

The Review

Dead Speak by Pandora Pine was narrated by Michael Pauley. I’ve heard only the best about his narrations so when I got the opportunity to listen to his work, I jumped at it. He is very distinct and brings more personality to each character. Ronan was alpha male one hundred percent and it came through. There was a roughness to his chapters that fit so well. Tennyson was more delicate. His part, it was one I wasn’t the biggest fan of because he sounded overly feminine and I didn’t picture him that way. The secondary characters all have their own tones, textures and distinct Boston accents.  It brought me further into the world and over all I will look forward to listening to more of Michael Pauley’s work.

Paranormal/Mystery romances are some of my favorites. I grew up on stealing mystery novels off of my mom’s bookshelf (Entirely inappropriate for my age at the time lol). It’s been hard for me to find a M/M mystery novel or series that was able to suck me into that universe entirely. Usually there isn’t enough mystery to satisfy me.

This was an entirely different case. I was still trying to figure it out nearly all the way to the end of the book. I did get an inkling towards the end and I was right, but it took nearly the entire story for me to get there.

It was a heartbreaking case and the details weren’t glossed over. Michael Frye was a five year old boy who disappeared from his front yard. Ronan is assigned to work cold cases and he’s at a loss as to what could have happened to Michael. So he goes to Tennyson Grimm, psychic, with the hopes that maybe he’ll get some clue.

Ronan is extremely skeptical of Tennyson’s gift. He thinks it’s a crock of shit and he isn’t afraid of telling Tennyson that to his face. There were a few times I just wanted to pop Ronan over the back of the head for being such a dick. Then there were times I was all heart eyes at how he and Tennyson were together. They were just sweet. And hot. Very, very hot.

Their romance scenes, definitely not something you would want to be caught listening to while you were at work. Which is exactly where I listened to this (Because I’m that person, you all know someone like me, don’t deny it). I also drove around longer than necessary because I didn’t want to get out of my car and go into the house. I did not want to stop listening.

Give this a read if you like cop procedural and some white hot romance and drama with it.

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Take A Chance by D. Jackson Leigh

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3.5 Stars out of 5

The Summary:   A Pine Cone Romance

Veterinarian Trip Beaumont likes being a big fish in a small pond. There’s hardly an animal she can’t heal or a woman she can’t charm within fifty miles of Pine Cone, Georgia—except for the irritating and elusive new cop who keeps leaving parking tickets on her truck.

Officer Jamie Grant has never liked rule breakers, but she’s especially incensed when she discovers Trip owns the truck that is constantly parked illegally. She’s searched carefully for a quiet, eclectic community to settle down with her drug-sniffing—albeit gastric-challenged—canine partner, Petunia. Instead, she finds herself on a collision course with the woman who stole her college girlfriend and broke her heart after an ill-conceived threesome.

The Review

Interesting fact about the Pine Cone Romance series, each book is written by a different author.  I didn’t know that coming into reading this and now I kind of want to go back and read the first installment to see what I missed. Saying that, these are stand-alone books so don’t worry if you haven’t read the first book in the series. You won’t be lost.

Trip Beaumont definitely has the golden touch when it comes to charming the ladies of Georgia.  She’s managed to charm everyone but the new cop in town who keeps writing tickets every time she parks illegally. She’s pretty much funding the police department with home many fines she’s going to have to pay. Little does Trip know that the cop causing her so much trouble is former college friend, Jamie Grant. Jamie has changed a lot sing Trip last saw her. She joined the army after the attacks on 9/11, ended up getting a job in law enforcement and has a trained drug dog with quite a heart breaking medical history.

At first, Jamie doesn’t want to have anything to do with Trip. Having her heart broken in college and then run the risk of it happening again? No thank you. But slowly they’re drawn together.  Trip is an amazing veterinarian with access to treatment options for Petunia.

Their romance was well paced. They didn’t immediately jump into bed together. If they would have after the backstory we got, I would have been more than a little annoyed. They spent time together and started to understand each other as adults.

There were bits that bothered me. Like how is a town that small full of that many LGBT people? I’d love to find a place like that in real life, especially in the deep south. So please, tell me this secret! There were a lot of clichés and I felt that it added to the bleh factor.  That’s kind of why the rating dropped from a four star to a three-point-five star rating.

It was an easy, quick and decent escape from what my week has been. I’d give it a try if I were you. I’m definitely going back to read the first book in the series to see if it lives up to everyone’s reviews.

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Hers to Protect by Nicole Disney

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Three out of Five Stars

The Summary: Kaia Sorano is a police officer in the dangerous and gang dominated streets of Chicago. She thinks she’s prepared for anything, but when she responds to a bloody domestic violence call, only to find her high school sweetheart is the victim, she knows she has to find a way to help.

When Adrienne Contreras’s mother moved her to the south side of Chicago at seventeen, she quickly saw her safe life and idealistic love with Kaia replaced with poverty, crime, and violence. Now twenty-seven, Adrienne is dating Gianna, a high-ranking member of a brutal gang. She has the streets figured out, but the first rule is to never talk to cops, even one she used to be in love with.

As their attraction grows into love, Adrienne and Kaia struggle to see past the changes in each other and escape Gianna and the gang, who have threatened both their lives.

The Review

Hers to Protect is a hard book for me to review. There are two sides to every story and seeing it told from a cops point of view and then from a gang member’s point of view was something I hadn’t seen done before. I liked that we were getting to see Kaia, Adrienne, Gianna and Anna’s story unfold but there was such a disconnect between the two main characters, it was hard to read.

I love a cop story, the violence, the gore, the gritty gang life? None of that bothered me. It was a part of this story and if it had been left out, I don’t think it would have worked at all. But if you’ve ever been a friend with a cop, if you’ve ever had cops in your family, the things Kaia did for ‘love’ they wouldn’t have done. There’s a set of values, morals and care that cops have. Kaia abandoned all of that. Does it happen in real life? Oh, no doubt that it does. But how easily she drifted over the line from lawful to unlawful because of Adrienne, it made me angry. Sure in the end Adrienne realized that not all cops were corrupt but the whole thing irked me.

Due to the above, I found their rekindled romance unbelievable. I read some pretty crazy things, like men getting pregnant crazy, but this left a bad taste in my mouth. Sure they were teenagers in love, separated by parents and tragedy but it didn’t feel real. Like maybe more internal thought? More talk between the two? I don’t know. They were missing something vital for me.

Do I think that was the over all attention and to grab your attention to make you think? I do. Disney wanted us to see the allure of gang life, how far they would go for each other and how that influenced even those not initiated into the gang yet. She showed up that cops are both good and bad. That anyone can be tempted for the right reasons.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of her romance scenes. It was super fun reading about dancing tongues every time they kissed. It was a bit of an instant replay every time they got together.  (I’m sorry, that sounds really bitchy and it could be the fact I had a procedure done on my neck this morning) But seriously, give us a little more variety.

Do I believe that Nicole Disney will become an amazing author? Oh yes. She has skill and can craft a scene well but there were bits and pieces that tricked a nerve for me. Maybe this one wasn’t my cup of tea and perhaps it’ll be yours.

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The Fireman and the Cop by RJ Scott

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This book is the first in RJ Scott’s Ellery Mountain Series

Four out of Five Stars

Summary: Rescuing a cop from a burning precinct is in Max’s job description; falling in love was never part of the deal.

Max Harrison moved from the city to take up a role as assistant to the mayor, while also a volunteer firefighter. When he meets Finn Ryan in Ellery, he falls in lust that burns as hot as the fires an arsonist is setting in town.

Finn Ryan is a cop, and somehow he’s attracted trouble. Going back into a fire to rescue the town drunk is just the start. Now he has to rely on the man he’s falling for to make sure it doesn’t end with him dying.

The Review*

The Fireman and the Cop by RJ Scott takes place in the quiet, quaint town of Ellery with a backdrop of mountains, streams and wildlife. Finn Ryan is a local cop who hasn’t seen much in the way of crime other than a fireworks prank gone bad. Max Harrison has made the move from the city to a small town in search of a new start as both assistant to the mayor and a volunteer firefights.

A cop and a firefighter, how yummy can this get?

Their attraction to each other was instantaneous and white hot. Even dealing with smoke inhalation and getting loaded onto an ambulance, Finn hits on Max and it’s hilarious. It had me laughing. I have personally said embarrassing things while in pain and under the influence of medication so I could relate to that so well. So believe it, it really does happen. I think I even told a nurse after surgery she was beautiful and the world needed to appreciate that.

Even though poor Finn took a beating and ended up in a terrible situation, Max was there for him through and through. I liked that Max didn’t get scared off with everything happening in Ellery and so soon after his arrival!

Do I wish this was longer? Yes. But I always hope for a never ending book by RJ Scott. I love everything she writes. I read this in one sitting and it left me happy and in a much better mood than I had been when I first started reading it. So if you’re looking for a light, quick read, definitely give this a go!

*I read the May 10, 2017 version which had been re-edited and had additional scenes added to it.  The original publication date was in February 2013

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