When his vicious cousin Alejandro makes a violent late-night visit, San Diego homicide detective Ray Delgado gets a brutal reminder of why he left his family behind. Alejandro wants Ray to find his sister, Sophia, who disappeared from the UC San Diego campus, before the FBI digs too deep into his business.
Special Agent Elliot Belkamp spent his entire life jumping from one place to another, but his new assignment assisting a FBI task force offers him a chance to settle down. When Elliot catches a missing person's case as his first assignment, the last person he expects to find poking around the victim's dorm room is Ray, a one-time hookup he's more inclined to punch in the face than kiss hello. After discovering Sophia's disappearance is linked to a massive computer-based theft that has two powerful crime families ready to declare war, Elliot focuses on his investigation and tries to ignore Ray. As the search for Sophia turns dangerous, Elliot and Ray discover that tackling organized crime might be easier than resisting the urge to tackle each other.
©2014 A. J. Thomas (P)2015 Dreamspinner Press
From the blurb you see that both men are in a similar line of work. They hooked up once, but it didn’t take. Ray is a player and not interested in permanence – yet?
Most of the story revolves around a dizzying array of crime investigations ranging from a missing person to murder to crime families. This is really the meat of the story. There is some sexual tension, a bit of fulfillment, some “why am I so attracted to you when you’re so wrong for me” and at the end some “absolution”.
I never really bonded with either MC, though I did find the fight scene to be particularly hot. (Elliot taking a Judo class while Ray watched and wanted.)
I didn’t read book one, though I think this is a good stand-alone.
When I read the blurb I was thinking it was going to be a hot and heavy enemies to lovers – and it is – but the mystery/crime absolutely takes precedence.
Jeff Gelder is hit or miss for me. In this case he didn’t do the story any favors. Sometimes, the way his voice lilts at the end can be distracting. Like everything is kind of a question. He didn’t do a lot with the voices or the emotion, so it didn’t add too much to my overall impression of the story. I’d have loved some sexy accents and growly sex scenes, but it was pretty tame.
Overall, if you are interested in crime novels with a romance sub-plot this is your book. I think if you liked book one you’d find this as good.
The writing was good, the editing fine, just not my type of romance.
Love the cover though!
I enjoyed this one even more than book 1 because it was much more developed and the characters had great chemistry. I also enjoyed the narration of the book by Jeff Gelder. He was able to keep the dialogue engaging as the story developed.
I liked the constant change in POV because it gave the characters equal voice in their ongoing narrative. Each one got to tell their story while it was clear that Ray was the author’s main focus. There was a good mix of action, plot and sex to make this book very interesting.
What I enjoyed most about this sequel was how Elliott challenged Ray’s rigid stance on love and relationships especially in the Hispanic culture. Ray desperate wanted to keep his family’s approval and didn’t believe that he would have it once they found out that he was bisexual. Ray’s figured that as long as he never bottomed, he cannot be considered gay. When he voiced this opinions to Elliott during their fling, Elliott felt that Ray look down on to those who do bottom. While initially Elliott didn’t want to bother with Ray, there was a pull there for both of them. Elliott already lived openly as a gay man encouraged Ray to leave freely. In their journey together, we find that both Ray and Elliott had some unrealistic expectations of love and fear kept them for truly being free.
During the course of their investigation as their attraction depended, both men began opening up to each other about their fears and desires for the future. That vulnerability allowed both men to grow and embrace what they were feeling for each other.
I am glad that I listened to this one because I got to see Ray in a different light and really enjoyed him as a character. The last scene of the book was one of the best endings I have listened to it a while. This series is definitely a keeper for me.
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