Uncharted by Alli Temple

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Five out of Five Stars

Summary

In a world of arrogant nobles and their punishing laws, Georgina will be hanged if anyone discovers she is a spy. But when the wicked prince proposes marriage, Georgina must accept. Refusing would expose the secrets she has delivered to a hidden resistance and forfeit her life. With her wedding day looming ever closer, salvation comes from an unlikely source.

Pirate Captain Cinder is a terror on the open sea, striking fear into hearts wherever she sails. Now she has a new target. The vulnerable Princess Georgina should be an easy mark in Cinder’s kidnapping plot. But the legend of Captain Cinder is more intertwined with Georgina’s own history than either of them expect.

Treacherous storms. A mysterious pirate king. The prince’s unrelenting pursuit. Georgina and Cinder can only escape by following the uncharted course of their hearts. But just as a future together is within their grasp, Cinder’s past threatens to drag them both to the deep.

Review

Georgina, “George” is doing her part in resisting the rule of kingdom. She sneaks messages in the skirts of her dress. It isn’t much, but she’s trying her best to help. Never would she have expected to be married off to the King by her brother. It’s a whirlwind of having new clothes made, jewelry, learning how to be a royal, and a handmaid named Rosie, Georgina thinks she’s lost any chance of having the life she wishes for.

Pirate Captain Cinder’s tales are what parents use to scare their children into acting right. Redheaded and willing to do whatever it takes to man her ship and find her riches.

In an explosion, Georgina is swept from the kingdom and onto a pirate ship. Rosie, devoted to Georgina, sneaks onto the ship. It all comes to a screaming stop when Georgina recognizes Captain Cinder and then finds out all she heard of Captain Cinder may not have been true.

What did I love about this book? Everything!!

Royalty, pirates, and an epic race to keep George out of the king’s hands kept me reading page after page. Cinder was everything a pirate should be. She was hard, powerful, and smart. Everyone on her ship served a purpose. The details of certain jobs on the ship and why they were done, like scouring the deck daily, my inner historian did a happy dance. I felt like I was there on the ship with Cinder and George.

The cast of characters were extremely diverse (which I expect on a pirate ship in my mind). There are lesbian pirates, non-binary pirates, and an island they visit is full of LGBTQ+ residents. Maro, Rosie, and Ender were so much fun. For such a big guy, Ender sure was gentle and kind to Rosie. Maro was a hard first mate, but they were kind to George and Rosie.

Rosie was such a spitfire. She is exactly who you want to be by your side. George got in trouble and she was right there with her. George needed to scheme. Rosie was scheming with her. They were quite the pair and I enjoyed every scene with the two of them.

The chemistry between George and Cinder had and ebb and flow that just felt right. The small jealousy moments and all the times they tried to stay away from each other just made their romance sweeter.

If you are a fan of a fast paced adventure, you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of this one.

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Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

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Three out of Five Stars

Summary

Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He’s short, he’s fast, he’s got a ton of potential—and he’s the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.

Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn’t need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.

But Neil’s not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil’s new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can’t walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he’s finally found someone and something worth fighting for.

Review

If you haven’t read this series, and you’re a fan of sports, college-aged, organized crime, then you’ll probably want to grab a copy. I had avoided reading this because I was afraid that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. So many people fell in love with this series, I didn’t want to be the person who didn’t. I read this in four hours, then proceeded to buy the next two books in the series so I could read those too and figure out what the heck was going to happen. I have some mixed feelings about this series.

Neil has lived his life on the run. He gave himself one thing to enjoy, Exy. Exy is a combination of hockey and lacrosse. He plays well and enjoys the sport. When he’s scouted to play in college, even if it’s for the PSU Foxes, he isn’t sure if he should say yes or no. He has a history with the star player, Kevin, even if Kevin doesn’t recognize him.

Throughout the summer and the beginning of the fall semester, there are a lot of growing pains for the Foxes. Trust doesn’t come easily, for any of the players. They all have their trauma and their ways of coping. Neil definitely didn’t know what he was getting into accepting the scholarship.

This is a character driven story and there isn’t any romance in this book. The entire book is setting you up for a big reveal and it leaves you on a cliffhanger. I had a fondness for Andrew, I don’t know why, but I did. He and Neil, had this chemistry even when they detested each other in the beginning.

I’m hoping that in the next installment I’m able to connect a little more with the characters and I get some answers!

Get your copy here!

Wolfsong by T.J. Klune

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Five out of Five Stars

Summary:

Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

The Review

As soon as I finished Wolfsong, I immediately purchased the next books in the series. I found a werewolf novel that was just like what I loved growing up. There was pack, found families, danger, discovery, and love. While there is the alpha, beta, omega dynamics explored it isn’t sex here. It was the hierarchy in the pack. This is the werewolf story that I freaking love (and secretly want to write one day)!

Ox was sixteen when he met Joe. He had never met anyone like Joe. Slowly, he was pulled into the Bennett’s family and into a life he didn’t know was possible to exist. Werewolves exist and he’s found himself part of a pack. He and his mother become part of their pack, taking on the danger that comes with being associated with the Bennetts.

I had so much love for Ox. He’s an outcast, but there’s something about him that I was able to connect with and understand entirely. He’s damaged goods, but with the help of Bennetts he’s learning that he’s better than what his father said to him. He’s strong, important, and perhaps the person they need in their lives.

Joe, there were times I wanted to hug him and then times I just wanted to shake him. How could he do this to Ox? Didn’t he see that his pack needed him home? But I understood his need to do what he did. I still hated it.

I think I fell a little bit in love with each character in this novel. They were each vital to pushing the plot forward, they were each important for every dangerous situation that the Bennett pack came across. I loved Gordo and the body shop guys. They cracked me up. You could tell they had worked together for years and considered themselves to be brother.

Ox and Joe’s relationship *wistful sigh* it grew from childhood to adulthood so naturally. You could feel their bond. Once they both (Joe is younger by a few years) reached adulthood, their flirting was so goooood. Then they had to relearn each other and their spot in the pack.

There’s so many good things I could say about Wolfsong, but I feel like I would give the book away. If you haven’t had the chance to read this, go grab a copy and read it.

Get your copy here

A Vigil in the Mourning by Hailey Turner

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary:

Special Agent Patrick Collins is dispatched to Chicago, chasing a lead on the Morrígan’s staff for the joint task force. Needing a cover for his presence in the Windy City, Patrick is ordered to investigate a politician running for mayor. In the lead up to election day, not everything is what it seems in a city where playing to win means appeasing the gods first and the electorate second.

But Chicago brings its own set of problems outside the case: a stand-offish local god pack, a missing immortal, and Patrick’s twin sister. Fighting Hannah and the Dominion Sect provides Patrick with a sinister reminder that some blood ties can never be cut.

Left behind in New York City, Jonothon de Vere finds himself targeted by hunters who will go through anyone to kill him—including the packs under his protection. With a bounty on his head, Jono is forced to make a choice that Patrick would never approve of. Doing so risks breaking the trust he’s built with the man he loves, but not acting will give the rival New York City god pack leverage Jono can’t afford to give up.

When Patrick and Jono reunite in Chicago, Patrick must confront the fraying of a relationship he’s come to rely on for his own sanity. But fixing their personal problems will have to wait—because Niflheim is clawing at the shores of Lake Michigan and the dead are hungry.

The Review

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Hailey Turner’s novels. No matter what the book is, I have to grab it as soon as I can to read it. Vigil in the Mourning wasn’t any different. It was full of action, adventure, Wade’s snack shenanigans, Jono and the pack, and ultimately Patrick and Jono finding home with each other.

This novel separated Patrick and Jono apart for a bit of time. Patrick was in Chicago while Jono remained in New York. That was one thing I missed, Patrick and Jono’s intimacy that we got in the previous books. He had no moment of quiet with Jono and after everything they went through, I desperately wanted that for them. That’s my only complaint.

We did get a better insight into Jono, which I loved. He has such strength as an individual but when he is with his pack. He’s unstoppable. I feel like we were teased a bit with this aspect of the storyline. There’s more what happened in New York while Patrick was in Chicago. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for more to happen.

If you are a fan of Norse mythology, you will thoroughly enjoy this. I loved the portrayal of the Valkyrie with a modern day twist. Thor, Odin, and a plethora of other Gods worm their way into Patrick’s life and case, and they make his life even more complicated. Each of these gods were portrayed as warriors, harsh, cunning, and willing to push the boundaries.

It was a good addition to the series. I do feel like this book set up so many different avenues for the plot to continue on. I wonder what the next book in the series will bring. At this time of this posting, Hailey Turner mentioned being 50K into the next book, so hopefully we won’t be waiting too long for answers.

Get your copy here

Straight as a Wheel by K.A. Merikan, Narrated by Wyatt Baker

Audiobook Review

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary:

“Your secret’s safe with me, Leo Heller. Whatever happens here, nobody will know. Ever. Do you understand?”

Zolt. Gay. Player. Predator. Fetish: Straight guys
Leo. Straight. Biker. Prey. Fetish: True love

Zolt knows what he wants from life–cold hard cash so that he can enjoy an early retirement in the Carribean as rent boys serve him drinks on the beach. Meanwhile, he’s got his pawn shop as a front for illegal operations, and a baseball bat to deal with troublemakers.

When it comes to men, Zolt loves the chase, and his favorite, most elusive prey is curious straight guys. He goes out of his way to seduce and devour them. If he can be their first, all the better.

His next mark? A biker. And not just any. An outlaw, Leo Heller.

Leo’s got his future all figured out. A wife, two to four kids, maybe a dog. If love was as easy as others make it seem, Leo would have been married already.

A string of failed relationships leads him to the one person he shouldn’t be crushing on, shouldn’t be admiring, and most definitely shouldn’t be touching. Because a man like Zolt Andorai won’t give Leo the family he wants. Hell, Zolt doesn’t even do boyfriends. But what Zolt does offer is no-strings-attached experimentation, and Leo is only human.

After all, if no one ever finds out Leo’s secret, it’s as if it doesn’t exist.

One kiss leads to another, lines blur, and before Leo knows it, he’s in over his head.

In love.

Helpless.

The Review

First, I’m going to talk about Wyatt Baker, the narrator. This is the first audiobook I’ve listened to that he has narrated and he’s now on my list of must listen narrators. He has a very masculine, authoritative voice that fits the characters in the Sex & Mayhem series. He kept me in the story with the characters and in the action. He was a believable narrator for such a gritty, violent story. Baker brought Leo to life and made me love Leo.

On to the story!

This one I was hesitant about reading, mainly because of Zolt’s character, but I ended up liking him as the book went on. Leo, I loved him. No matter how angry he got, I still wanted, no needed, things to work out in his favor.

Zolt loves the hunt of hooking up with men who are straight, but curious. Leo, is a hopeless romantic, wrapped up in the shape of a biker. The Smoke Valley MC has to hide some merch and Zolt’s pawn shop is the perfect place for it to be stored. The only catch? They need one of their men watching the product. Leo volunteers, and he sure didn’t know what he was in for when he agree to live at Zolt’s until enough time has passed and they can bring the product back to Smoke Valley MC land.

Leo, I had so much secondhand embarrassment for him in the beginning of his story, I knew he was bound to have something amazing happen. The chemistry between he and Zolt was palpable, hot, and perfectly drawn out. Some of the scenes between he and Zolt, well, I couldn’t keep listening to it at work like I had been doing.

I liked that Leo and Zolt’s relationship was as complicated as the situation that they were put in. It wasn’t easy and they both had a lot of reflecting to do about what they wanted in life.

The grit of this story was excellent. I could see the fights, the conflict playing out in front of me. It was a little bit of everything that I didn’t know I needed in my life.

If you’re looking for something to spice up your TBR list, grab this series up when you can. It’s an exciting read.

Get your copy here

Stalked by Shadows by Lissa Kasey

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary:

A missing girl, ritual murders, and a shadow stalking every footstep.

Alexis Caine survived an attack in the deserts of Afghanistan. An attack the government denied and discharged him for, leaving him broken and in a mental institution. What Alex saw that day in the desert continues to haunts him.

When a new job working as a bodyguard for a New Orleans ghost tour guide, Micah Richards, opens Alex’s eyes to a world of paranormal possibilities, he’s not sure he can believe his eyes. What if he’s not crazy after all? When a ritual murder in which two fellow tour guides die and a tourist vanishes, Alex wonders if he brought a curse down upon them all.

A shadow from the desert rears its nightmarish head offering Alex something he wants more than anything, but at what cost?

The Review

I loved Stalked by Shadows! I’m picky when it comes to any book set in New Orleans, like notoriously picky (I’ll drop my rating dramatically because of it kind of picky), and this felt like Lissa has lived in New Orleans since her childhood.  I was in New Orleans (both literally and while reading the novel).

Alex isn’t doing all that well, returning from Afghanistan and a stint in a mental facility. Who would after all that he saw there? What he saw when his unit was destroyed, couldn’t have been real. It didn’t make sense. His twin brother, Lukas, took him in and found people that understood his trauma, didn’t judge him for his PTSD, and brought him back to life.

Micah was probably my absolute favorite part of this book. He felt like New Orleans, even if he wasn’t born there. He knew the history, understood that there was more to the world than most people are willing to acknowledge, and was entirely himself. There was an aspect of his character, I was expecting more development of, because it was such a big deal in the beginning, but honestly? It didn’t bother me.

The chemistry between Micah and Alex was intense. They saw past each other’s walls and supported each other. They flirted, teased each other, and found a partner in each other. When they were intimate with each other, it was like my breath caught in my chest. They connected, understood and trusted each other.

Now, there is the paranormal element, Hoodoo, Voodoo, the violence and the disappearances. Like I’m ready for more of the series because I need answers. There were times I felt Alex’s panic, the fear rising in his throat, and his desperation to make it through the situation. The detail was vivid and helped put me in his memories, in the in between (that’s what I’m going to call it) and around New Orleans.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and you should do yourself a favor and grab a copy now.

Get it Here 

Flesh and Gold by Ann Aptaker

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary:

Havana, 1952, a city throbbing with pleasure and danger, where the Mob peddles glamour to the tourists and there’s plenty of sex for sale. In the swanky hotels and casinos, and the steamy, secretive Red Light district of the Colon, Cantor Gold, dapper art thief and smuggler, searches the streets and brothels for her kidnapped love, Sophie de la Luna y Sol. Cantor races against time while trying to outrun the deadly schemes of American mobsters and the gunsights of murderous local gangs.

The Review

Flesh and Gold was much more than I expected. Cantor Gold, a thief and smuggler, arrives in Havana searching for the love of her life, Sophia, but trouble follows Cantor wherever she goes.

Now, the first thing you need to know is that this is not a romance (like my usual reads). It is the ultimate love story though, seeing the lengths that Cantor was willing to go to find Sophia.

This is very much a crime noir, think mobsters and dens of ill repute (I don’t know how else to say it). Every time I thought I had a line on who was playing who, everything flipped upside down. It’s the best kind of mystery to read.

I like the fact that everything and everybody felt important to the storyline. The detail was rich enough that I could feel the balmy humidity of Havana. I could feel the way passersby stared at Cantor and her suits and masculine attire. The attitudes, language, and buildings placed me in 1950s Havana. There was a bit of violence, some of it a little unbelievable, but Cantor does live on the darker and more dangerous side of the life.

If you enjoy crime noire, this is definitely a series you’ll want to pick up and read.

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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.

Get your copy here

Hush by Tal Bauer

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Five out of Five Stars

The Summary:

A federal judge running from the truth.
A U.S. marshal running from his past.
A trial that can plunge the world into war. 

Federal Judge Tom Brewer is finally putting the pieces of his life back together. In the closet for twenty-five long years, he’s climbing out slowly, and, with the hope of finding a special relationship with the stunning Mike Lucciano, U.S. Marshal assigned to his DC courthouse. He wants to be out and proud, but he can’t erase his own past, and the lessons he learned long ago.

But a devastating terrorist attack in the heart of DC, and the subsequent capture and arrest of the terrorist, leads to a trial that threatens to expose the dark underbelly of America’s national security.

As Russia beats the drums of war, intent on seeking revenge, and the United States struggles to contain the storm before it races out of control, secrets and lies, past and present, collide in Judge Tom Brewer’s courtroom. With the world’s attention fixed on Tom and this case, he suddenly discovers he may be the only person who can put everything together in time to stop the spark of a new world war.

The Review

I don’t think I have read anything by Tal Bauer that I haven’t loved. Hush was no different. It is a political thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out what was really going on all the while I was melting from the heat and romance between Tom and Mike. This is definitely a book that I want a physical copy to have on my shelf.

Federal Tom Brewer has been in the closet for twenty-five years and Mike Lucciano, the U.S. Marshal assigned to him, is the first man who has made him want to take a chance on and to step out of the closet. As their relationship grows, a terrorist attack in Washington DC and arrest of said terrorist, makes it difficult for Tom to be the man he wants to be when he’s thrust into the spot light. All eyes are on him as he sits as judge for the trial and being with Mike is harder than ever.

Mike and Tom are real. Mike is very active in the LGBT community, participates in a volleyball league and slowly pulls Tom away from his fear and teaches him that its okay to be who you are. Mike’s friends never pressured Tom to do more than what he was ready for. They didn’t make a big deal of the fact that he was a federal judge and that served to make Tom comfortable.

Tom was a bit shy, but once his affections were earned, he was so sweet. I loved that they held hands, cuddled, shared soft kisses throughout the entirety of the novel. That affection didn’t disappear after they had bone melting sex. There was a heat to their touches and conversations. They were a gorgeous couple.

So besides the heat factor (which I’m going to rate 10 out of 10), the political thriller plot held my attention as much as Tom and Mike’s growing relationship. It was something that (sadly) you could see happen in today’s political atmosphere. It felt real. The stress, fear, anxiety, anger – all of it was fitting and true.

Do yourself a favor and give this one a read.

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Enemies of the State by Tal Bauer

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Five out of Five Stars

The Summary: Newly elected President Jack Spiers’s presidency is rocked from the very beginning, and he’s working furiously to keep the world from falling apart. Between terrorism attacks ripping apart Europe, Russia’s constant posturing and aggression, and the quagmire of the Middle East, Jack is struggling to keep his campaign promise—to work toward a better, safer world.

For Special Agent Ethan Reichenbach, Jack is just another president, the third in twelve years. With Jack’s election, he’s been promoted, and now he’s running the presidential detail, which puts him side by side with Jack daily. He’s expecting another stuffed suit and an arrogant DC politician, but Jack shocks him with his humor and humanity.

There are rules against a Secret Service agent and one of their protectees developing a friendship—big rules. Besides, Jack is a widower, and Ethan has always avoided falling for straight men. Ethan keeps his distance, but Jack draws him in, like gas to a naked flame, and it’s a lure he isn’t strong enough to turn away from.

As the two men collide, rules are shattered and the world teeters on the verge of war, and a rogue Black Ops unit bent on destruction sets Jack in their deadly crosshairs. Ethan must put everything on the line in order to save the man he’s come to love, Jack’s presidency, and the world.

The Review

Ya’ll, I don’t know how I managed to NOT read any of Tal Bauer’s work until now. I devoured this book overnight and promptly bought everything else of Bauer’s that I could find. I have always looked for books like Enemies of the State in the M/M romance genre and I could never find them. Political thrillers.

President Jack Spiers has a lot riding on his presidency. He promised to make a better, safe world for the citizens worldwide. But he’s been fighting terrorist attacks in Europe, Russian trying to be the bigger world power and the trouble in the Middle East. It’s a lot to handle without the support of a First Lady/Gentleman. He leans on his Secret Service Detail and one agent in particular, openly gay Ethan Reichenbach. Through this, Ethan gets to see a side of the president that pushes him to break every rule he has when it comes to who he is protecting.

As time passes and they get to know each other better, it’s hard to stay away. Ethan can’t help but blur the lines of professionalism for a man like Jack Spiers. But as the world edges closer to another war, things go disastrously wrong.

This is a President/Secret Service romance, and the chemistry between Jack and Ethan was so good. It was drawn out in actions that could be seen as playful flirting, but at the same time it could have just been Jack’s personality. Every way that Ethan fell for Jack was a way any of us could have fallen for our partners. The romance between them burned slowly and they discovered each other together.

Some of my favorite scenes were when they were together in the residence or at Camp David late at night. They focused entirely on each other as if that was their only world at the time. I can’t tell you how many times they made me smile or wish that one of them would hurry up and make a move! Then there was one moment that utterly crushed my heart. I got teary eyed while reading it and there was no way I could stop reading at that point. I needed to see everything better.

The political thriller aspect was weaved well throughout. It was easy to keep track of because we got chapters centered on that part of the storyline, and then bits and pieces in Jack’s political career that explained it further. It was just as present as their developing romance and I was all about it. I needed to figure out what the heck was being plotted and how they were going to stop it.

This was such a good read I was telling my friends about it who don’t read M/M romance. (Normally I don’t even say a word about my reads to them because they give me that look – you know the one lol). Go read this book! I’m sure everyone has already read it, perhaps more than once, but I can’t stop myself from telling you to read it.

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