Category Archives: Crime

Books based on the commission and/or investigation of wrongdoing.

Alpha’s War by Zoe Perdita

Alpha's WarAlpha’s War by Zoe Perdita
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Eccentric Erotica
Novel:  60,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Sebastian knows criminals. He was raised in a family of thieves. But nothing could prepare him for the charming and dangerous gang leader and alpha wolf, Ian Black.

Since Seb isn’t strong enough to protect himself, he seeks aid from the Black Wolves – the most infamous shifter gang in the city. While the alpha promises to protect Seb, Ian wants something in return. Seb has to pretend to be Ian’s sex slave in public.

Only problem is Seb’s straight – or he thought he was. Ian’s insistence tests his resolve at every turn.

As violence explodes throughout the city, desire sizzles between the cat and wolf. But giving into passion is difficult for Seb who spent his entire life pushing other people away.

Can these two broken men find love in the midst of chaos?

Warning: Contains graphic gay sex scenes.

 Excerpt

This is the fourth in the Haven series and second in the Black Wolves series.  Seb is Fisk’s twin.  He is the sick one who was relegated to information gathering for the thieving brothers.  Seb is very smart and has a cunning intelligence.  He is the perfect fit for Ian, alpha of the Black Wolves if only he weren’t straight.  Ian is the fierce leader of the Black Wolves.  He works hard to get his gang to appear a tough and vicious gang in order to rid the Flats of the criminal element that killed his parents.  Now with Seb in the picture he wonders if that is as important to him as it once was.

I think the author is a wonderful writer.  The descriptions were well done and the “world” she has created gets a little more filled in all the time.  I do think that at times her descriptions are a little much but she does a good job of giving the mood and ambiance to the scene being played out.

The characters are better detailed I feel in this one than the previous book.  Ian is more understandable in some of his actions at least now.  I feel we did get to know these two a little more and understand a little of why they act as they do.

The plot was a bit predictable.  It was still entertaining.  I wouldn’t necessarily say it was exciting though.  It seemed more drawn out than the last book.  The strange thing is the ending almost felt…cut short.  We really didn’t see much after the two men really declared themselves and committed to one another.  The end just felt a little wanting for more details.

This was a nice read.  It wasn’t anything wonderful but it was solid and entertaining.  I enjoyed it but was hoping for a little something more.

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Thief by Zoe Perdita

ThiefThief by Zoe Perdita
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Eccentric Erotica
Novel:  63,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Roses:  3
 

The universe is a bitch.

When Fisk, a cat shifter and thief, is sold into sex slavery, the most dangerous shifter gang in Haven City buys him: the Black Wolves. Problem is, Fisk stole from them three years before, and it cost the wolf gang precious territory. When they find out, they force Fisk to work off his debt. A debt to the tune of half a million dollars.

The universe has a plan.

Ian Black, the gang’s leader and alpha wolf, has plans for Fisk. It’s up to Breaker, the beta, to follow the boss’s orders. Breaker doesn’t expect to fall for the alluring feline with the bad attitude. He’s been nothing but loyal to his alpha and their pack his entire life. But Fisk wakes a desire Breaker’s never known. Only Fisk strikes Ian’s fancy too, and a beta can’t cross an alpha.

The universe has a sick sense of humor.

Fisk finds himself torn between two very different men – Ian, the sexy alpha and Breaker, the stoic enforcer. One of the wolves is his mate, but Fisk isn’t sure how to handle it. Sex is one thing – love is something else.

As passion sizzles between the three men, Breaker feels the truth – Fisk is his mate. How can he choose between loyalty to his alpha and loyalty to his heart?

Contains graphic m/m love scenes.

 Excerpt

This wasn’t a book that I expected.  The blurb is quite clear but I really thought it wouldn’t get to the point the story did.  This lost me for romance.  I really didn’t enjoy the whole sex three way thing.  It wasn’t sexy or romantic or the like.  It felt like a betrayal by Fisk and neither man later made any sort of deal out of it.  I just can’t buy that there wouldn’t have been some fall out.  I am trying to put it in “human” perspective but it still isn’t working for me.

The writing was good.  The author made it dramatic and interesting.  True I didn’t like the love triangle thing but the writing was well done.  The characters draw you in and hold you.  The thing with the writing was actually the relationships.  Other than that the plot works.  The descriptions are detailed and color the world well.  I enjoyed that part of the book.  The author does a good job with this world that was created.

As I have said relationships in the story weren’t done very well.  I just didn’t feel that connection with the characters.  The two that end up together, there just wasn’t that connection to fall in love.  If I believe the mate thing is fate and they are supposed to know their mate then why did Fisk sleep with both men?  If I believe that they don’t right away know their mate then how do they figure it out?  Like humans do?  Then I don’t see that they were together enough for love to develop.

Overall, I loved the regular plot of the book but the relationship aspect failed for me.  So I will give it a medium rating. (Please keep in mind even if this is stated as the first in the Black Wolves series it is also third in the Haven City series.  It helps with the world building to read the first two in the Haven City series.)

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Rogue Wolf by Zoe Perdita

Rogue WolfRogue Wolf by Zoe Perdita
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Eccentric Erotica
Novel:  114,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Roses:  4
 

Contains the first two books in the Haven City Series:

Shadow Scars (Rogue Wolf Book One)

Conner, a rogue wolf and murder detective, isn’t looking for a lover when he moves to Haven City. He wants to solve crimes and keep to himself – unable to trust anyone since his pack betrayed him six years before.

But Seth Alwen, his new partner, is different. He excites the wolf’s animal instincts – waking up the passion Conner buried long ago. Seth’s not only beautiful and alluring; he’s also haunted by the death of his former partner. And despite his better judgment, Conner aches to relieve the man of his guilt.

Seth’s a seer, but ever since his old partner died his powers have been on the fritz.

Enter Conner Sharp, Seth’s sexy and mysterious new partner. While the dark-haired stranger ignites Seth’s desire, he also awakens the seer’s power with every touch. Seth sees their future together – a future rich with lust and danger – but is it a future the enigmatic Conner wants?

As the two men solve a series of murders, their sizzling attraction overflows into the bedroom. Is the overwhelming passion just a fling or is it forever?

Contains graphic m/m sex scenes.

Alpha’s Shadow (Rogue Wolf Book Two)
Conner Sharp, a rogue wolf and murder detective, was supposed to be an alpha – until his pack betrayed him and left him for dead. Then he met Seth Alwen, his new partner, and things started looking up. The beautiful seer lusts after him – even if he keeps an infuriating number of secrets.

But something dangerous is stirring inside Conner. The urges of an alpha wolf he buried years ago are rising to the surface. Whenever Seth is near, the beast threatens to unleash itself on the man Conner cares for the most – the man who might be his long lost mate.

Seth never thought he’d shack up with a shifter, but Conner’s allure is impossible to deny. How will his boyfriend feel about Seth’s carefully guarded past, and the secrets that could rip their relationship apart?

Can Seth deal with the new alpha side of his lover while confiding in Conner what their future holds?

While the two men grapple with desire and trust in their relationship, a new murder threatens Haven City and all her shadow folk. A murder that brings Seth and Conner front and center to a dangerous necromancer and the one group of people the seer wants to avoid more than anything: his own family.

Contains graphic m/m sex scenes

NOTE: This is a previously published work. The title, author, and/or publisher may have changed.

Excerpt

I am use to using other reviews to bounce around ideas with but this one just doesn’t have many out there.  In the story we have two injured souls, I really feel they were both betrayed by family.  I could see how they could connect with this between them.

Seth is recovering from losing his best friend and partner to a on the job shooting that he had forseen and didn’t tell her about.  He is plagued by guilt that is added by his family that he didn’t save her.  Connor is Seth’s new partner.  Connor is a rogue wolf, made that way by his own family that ambushed him and left him for dead.  He feels something for Seth right away but it isn’t what a mate is suppose to feel like and Connor is rogue so believes he CAN’T have a mate.  Connor also hates lies…he knows his partner is lying to him so how can he be falling for the man.

I liked the plot line.  It was paced well with an interesting premise to it.  The crime and the mystery around it are interesting.  I admire the author’s ability to weave together several storylines and connect them throughout the book.  The trouble I had was the wording.  I think it was a little over the top, especially during sex scenes.  Sometimes a little is better than a lot.  There also was one word that kept bugging me…”buckle”.  I always have seen this as “My hips buck into my palm” not “My hips buckle into my palm”.  I know this is small but it REALLY bothered me.

The characters were very well drawn.  I felt like they could be real.  They fell into their character lines and grew appropriately within them.  The author really does have flair for creating characters.

I enjoyed this story overall.  I did wish the descriptive verse used by the author was toned down just a bit, other than that it was a captivating story with amazingly realistic characters.  I will be looking to read more in this world.

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Love the Sinner by Arvil Ashton

Love the SinnerLove the Sinner by Avril Ashton
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
Novel:  69,594 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  2
 

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.

Excerpt

Interesting book but very hard to rate.  Gabe is a cop who interviews Angelo the local gang leader after Angelo’s sister is killed.  There is instant lust/love when they meet.  Gabe is straight and has never looked at a man that way when you add to that Angelo being the leader of a gang that Gabe is on a task force for you have some problems.  Gabe is then shot but Angelo during a raid.

There is an overload of sex in this book.  I’ll be honest…I don’t get the relationship.  They should have never got together and then it seems that sex is all they have.  They are constantly fighting about the relationship or getting jealous over others because they have to hide.

The writing is good.  The author does a great job with descriptions and details.  Unfortunately the sex is a bit repetitive.  It is hot at times and rather rough, which I like but it gets a bit too much.  The characters are likable, even Angelo who kills during the book is likable.  The author really did a good job trying to portray Angelo in a good light.  I have my doubts about how realistic he is but he does end up being likable.

Overall this is an enjoyable read but it does come off as a little too much porn without plot.  Also the plot is very unrealistic and the attraction between characters unbelievable.

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Spook Squad by Jordan Castillo Price

Spook SquadSpook Squad by Jordan Castillo Price
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  JCP Books LLC
Novel:  107,800 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Everyone enjoys peace and tranquility, and Victor Bayne is no exception. He goes to great lengths to maintain a harmonious home with his partner, Jacob. Although the cannery is huge, it’s grown difficult to avoid the elephant in the room…the elephant with the letters FPMP scrawled on its hide.

Once Jacob surrendered his PsyCop badge, he infiltrated the Federal Psychic Monitoring Program. In his typical restrained fashion, he hasn’t been sharing much about what he actually does behind its vigilantly guarded doors. And true to form, Vic hasn’t asked. In fact, he would prefer not to think about the FPMP at all, since he’s owed Director Dreyfuss an exorcism since their private flight to PsyTrain.

While Vic has successfully avoided FPMP entanglement for several months, now his debt has finally come due.

 Excerpt

I have liked the series though Vic’s attitude is starting to grate.  This is the seventh book in the series.  There was quite a wait for this one.  I’m lucky I waited until later to start the series so I didn’t have to wait so long.

I must admit to big disappointment with this book.  The plot is slow.  It takes a while to really get into the book.  Jacob isn’t in the book very much and when he is it is fairly superficial.  There is one scene near the end that Jacob is important but not much else.  There are glimpses of Crash, who the author has said will be getting his own book.  Lisa is bigger in this story but even her character is shallow.  I had a feeling that this book was more about bridging Vic’s old and new lives.

I did enjoy the mystery and story.  The ending really is much better and fun.  The writing is excellent.  I have always enjoyed the author’s use of description.  It is different from many other books I have read.  This difference makes for a much more realistic and interesting read.  The characters, for this book, aren’t as well rounded.  They appear much more shallow and unreadable.  They tend to read flat.  The relationship between Lisa and “?” moves really fast.  Vic seems to not struggle much with the relationship at all.  This doesn’t seem very realistic considering who this man is to Vic.  I seem to remember Vic trying to stay clean but he appears still very much the addict in this book.  It even drives some of his actions.

Overall, this read just isn’t up to this author’s usual standards.  It was still good just not as good as I thought it would be.  Between the lack in the characters and the slow plot development the read really dragged for me.  I really hope to see the next book be more typical of this author’s writing.

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Out-Foxed by Haley Walsh

Out-FoxedOut-Foxed by Haley Walsh
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  MLR Press, LLC
Novel:  81,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Skyler breaks it off with Keith, a teacher is murdered and a student might be involved through some twisted football initiation; Just another week at James Polk High.

Distraught at being outed, Skyler breaks it off with Keith, but they’ve got other problems. Protesters have gathered at the school and the school board has called a special disciplinary hearing. And as if that weren’t bad enough, Alex is getting into fights and skipping class. Might he be responsible for the murder of a teacher? Did Coach Carson send the boy to do the dirty work out of some twisted football initiation? Skyler knows it all has to stop, and he and his friends are on the trail to find a murderer and discover once and for all what is happening at James Polk High.

Excerpt

This is the third and finally book in this story arc.  There will be other books in the series but this finished the story arc that began the series.  Skyler is still an immure guy.  He doesn’t ever listen to those he should, even when he KNOWS what could happen he actually drags his friends into trouble.   Personally Keith should have dumped him!

So the writing was good.  I love the humor that the author infuses into the story.  The descriptions are fairly good.  I do think that Skyler finds a little too much evidence for real life.  Also I think the author really downplays cops and their roles.  Skyler, who is quite the obvious kind of guy, finds stuff out before the cops in situations where it really doesn’t strike me as happening.  The little book…yeah, I don’t think so.  So realism isn’t real high for me in this book.  The uproar over Skyler’s outing seemed a bit over the top too but I guess I can say I’ve never seen one come out that way.

The characters are fun in the story line though.  The humor and snark is great.  Keith, again not very realistic, was a shallow character; especially given he is a main character.  I think the author did a much better job with even the side characters than with Keith.

I think the story contain within this book ends a bit abruptly.  It feels weak.  The whole situation with the relationship between the two main characters really didn’t give me any satisfaction.  Skyler doesn’t redeem himself in the relationship to me, and Keith just stays on the same track with Skyler that he always seems to be on.  It just doesn’t seem to match the rest of the book.  Skyler produces drama yet that is lacking.  It could be a ploy that the author uses to show the difference in this relationship compared to others Skyler has had but it just didn’t work for me.

The side characters are great.  They seem to really be brought out in this book.  The author seems to have set this up for some good books in the future of the series.  I look forward to them.

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Past Tense by Ethan Stone

Past TensePast Tense by Ethan Stone
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Wilde City Press
Novella:  45,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  4
 

Jason Holt was a young man when he lost everything; his family, his boyfriend, and his safety. He’s been on the run since, hiding from an evil man bent on revenge. Las Vegas was supposed to just be another pit stop in his travels but when he learns the very man he’s hiding from is in Sin City Jason decides it’s time to stop hiding.

Private detective Quinn Reynolds lost the man he loved several years ago and since then he has been hiding from life. He can’t move on and is obsessed with making the man responsible for his lover’s death pay for the crime.

When Jason comes to Quinn for help, Quinn finds a reason to move on. The dangerous situation around them quickly escalates and together they face an unimaginable evil. Can they survive the darkness and make it through to the light on the other side?

Excerpt

Jason is on the run from a former friend that blames him for his father’s death.  Quinn is a PI that Jason hires in an attempt to escape from his past by faking his death.  Quinn has his own past with Jason’s ex-friend; he killed Quinn’s partner and lover.

This had a bit of a feel of two separate story lines, one intense crime thriller and the other paranormal.  The beginning seems more crime thriller but it does hint that there will be a paranormal aspect to it.  The crime thriller is a very interesting plot.  In some ways I think it would have stood very well on its own with no paranormal aspect to it.  To see how Jason confronts his former friend would have made a very interesting ending.  The paranormal changed up the story a lot.  It made it more about fighting evil or “monsters” instead of just humans.  I admit I have seen plenty of paranormal stories and would have enjoyed the thriller more but this was still a very well written and good read.

Jason and Quinn were interesting characters.  Jason didn’t make much sense to me.  Quinn I could get.  He is a romantic but he was saved by his first love and taken in by that man’s family.  Though Quinn lost Liam he had the set up for the perfect love.  Jason, Adian betrayed him in the end or at least we are lead to believe he has.  What I don’t understand is Jason from all appearances had a loving home.  His parents were wonderful examples.  Yes, he had them taken tragically and had to do things to survive but I just don’t see how he would have totally thrown that out.  Also if changing his name and identity didn’t work before I’m not sure how he thought it would work this time either.  On top of that the plan is quickly thrown out and never really discussed again.  These are some plot points I don’t quite understand.

I would love to see more of these two.  I really think there is a lot these have yet to tell us.

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Melting Ice by D.J. Manly

Melting Ice ManlyMelting Ice by D.J. Manly
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Mojocastle Press
Short Story:  27,677 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Nobel
Roses:  2
 

A young cop, in the closet and isolated, is transferred to the bikers squad, where he is betrayed by a higher ranking officer. When Brian Fuller finds himself in the middle of a field surrounded by a group of notorious outlaw bikers, he is in for the fight of his life.
He wakes up battered and bruised, only to discover that he is the hostage of the gang’s leader, the infamous, brutally handsome Ice. At first, Brian doesn’t understand why he is still alive. It turns out that the man who murdered Ice’s family, is the same one who left Brian for dead… and Ice intends on trading Brian’s life to get him as soon as Brian is strong enough. In the meantime, while Ice waits for Brian to heal, a raging sexual heat between them begins to fuel.
Melting Ice is a story of great passion, sizzling sex, and above all, a love story laced with the unexpected.

Excerpt

Hmmm….Well, this is a short story that is kinda sweet.  I enjoyed the interaction of the characters.  The plot was a little common and predictable.  I usually enjoy these types of stories; this one was just off for me.  The plot was just really, really obvious.  I didn’t buy how the love story developed between the characters.  And finally the near insta-love was just a little much.  I do think if the characters were fleshed out a bit and a the two characters interaction was longer and more involved I could like this story a whole lot more even with an obvious plot.

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Parting Shot by Mary Calmes

Parting Shot MaryParting Shot by Mary Calmes
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  69,966 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  4
 

A Matter of Time Story 

Life has never been easy for Duncan Stiel. His childhood was the stuff of nightmares, and his day job as an undercover police officer forces him to hide his true self and occasionally lands him in the hospital. So when he finally meets the perfect man, it comes as no surprise that everything falls apart around him. What Duncan doesn’t expect is that the hardest hurdle to get over before he can make a life with Aaron Sutter is the one inside himself.

Everyone thinks Aaron has it all—looks, money, fame, and success beyond measure. Everyone, that is, except Aaron. At the end of the day, the cameras stop flashing, friends go back to their own lives, company business is handled, and Aaron is always alone. The moment he meets Duncan Stiel, Aaron knows he’ll do anything to hold onto the larger-than-life detective. But when he realizes money won’t buy him the ultimate happiness, Aaron needs to find the strength to give Duncan something much more important—his heart.

Excerpt

This is the seventh book in a series that until this one has focused on Jory and Sam.  Aaron and Duncan are friends of Jory and Sam.  Jory and Aaron dated for a while but it never worked.  Aaron and Duncan meet and sparks fly.  Both men are in the closet.  Duncan decides quickly that he is willing to come out of the closet for Aaron but the two men are separated by Duncan’s undercover work and then by Aaron’s brother.  When the two manage to get back together again it is sizzling hot.

 

Mary Calmes has a certain style to her main characters.  They are interesting and gentle.  Now Duncan may seem like a different type but he isn’t.  Duncan just wants to help people and doing that is why he is injured a lot.  I really enjoy her characters.  There is always a lot of love.

 

The writing was good.  The story is a bit choppy in points but smooths out quickly.  The characters are interesting and kinda fun.  There isn’t a lot of true conflict between the couple.  There is the short separation of the two but they get past that very quickly.  I am disappointed by the fact that there really isn’t development in the relationship.  It truly is insta-love.  I had some hope of a little conflict between the couple.  It was just a sweet little love story.

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A Reason to Believe by Diana Copland

A Reason to Believe by CoplandA Reason to Believe by Diana Copland
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Carina Press
Novel:  81,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  4

Detective Matthew Bennett doesn’t believe in ghosts. So when the spirit of a murdered child leads him to her body, he’s shaken to the core–and taken off the case. Unable to explain his vision, or to let go of the investigation, Matthew turns to renowned medium Kiernan Fitzpatrick. Though he has doubts about Kiernan’s claims to communicate with the dead, Matt is nevertheless drawn to the handsome psychic, who awakens feelings he thought were long-buried.

Haunted by the lingering spirit of the little girl, Kiernan is compelled to aid in the search for her killer. The chance to get closer to the enigmatic Matt is an unexpected bonus. Although Kiernan’s been betrayed by people who turned out to be more interested in his fame than in himself, with Matt he’s willing to risk his heart. As the two men grow closer, Kiernan helps Matt rediscover that life offers no guarantees–but love offers a reason to believe…

Excerpt

This is a story about one man’s making his way back from a horrible abyss after his partner and lover die.  Matt is a man who has lived every person’s worst nightmare, his partner and lover was coming home and stopped at a convenience store for beer for a bar-b-que and was shot and killed.  Now he is finally dealing with his first case since then and he ends up having a little girl’s spirit lead him to her body.  Needless to say the department doesn’t not only not believe him but they tell him to “take a vacation”.

Matt is a man mired in his grief.  He can’t let go and live again.  It’s in this state and now on a forced vacation that Matt is dragged by his sister-in-law, it was wonderful to have such strong female characters in this book, to a reading by renowned psychic Kiernan Fitzpatrick.  He is very surprised by what he finds there.

Since Matt is the “voice” of the story there isn’t that personal insight, but what we do see is a man who is full of energy and animation.  He has a wicked sense of humor, which is shown by his enormous t-shirt collection, and has a big sense of responsibility.  Kiernan didn’t have an easy childhood but hasn’t let it stop him.  He seems like just the fresh air to wake up Matt and make him want to live again.

These two men are in for a fast, hard courtship.  I know many would say everything between them happens too fast but I know it can go that way sometimes from personal experience so it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

The storyline captured me more than the romance portion of the story.  The mystery was good and the way the author set it up made me keep turning the pages.  I think the character descriptions and the setting were perfect for the story.  I was a little disappointed that Matt seemed to cave so fast after he had fought off any response in a year and a half.  I would have thought there would have been a little more internal turmoil.  It may have been a little more believable for me if he had had some sexually contact between his ex’s death and Keirnan.  Since there wasn’t and this was supposedly the first time he had felt real desire for another man since his loss I thought it seemed a little quick.

Overall I think the writing was excellent.  I think the character development was good but would have like to see a little more of about Keirnan.  I also think that they could have been a little more integrated to the story.  I really didn’t feel as into the romance part of the story as I thought a read should if it is labeled as a romance.  Still I think it was an excellent read.  I almost hope the author will revisit these two since I would love to see more of them.

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