DOUBLE OR NOTHING is yet another great romantic suspense novel from writing duo LA Witt and Cari Z! The stakes are high, the story is fast-paced, and the romance earns an A+.
With a Mafia soldier turned against the organization, and entrusting himself and information in the hands of law enforcement, it’s almost guaranteed to be a wild ride, and the action in this book is nonstop from the very first chapter. When they attacked during a witness transfer, the two main characters–Rich and Leo–are forced to go on the run together, trusting next to no one along the way as decades of corruption is exposed in the race to kill or capture Leo. At every turn, they’re faced with new sets of complications and must find ways to work together and survive. Witt and Z do an excellent job of keeping the action consistently high stakes while also interspersing moments of quiet and downtime, moments where the heroes are able to connect, communicate, and form a relationship.
They were extremely successful in creating an environment and narrative where I could absolutely believe that Leo and Rich would come to trust only each other and take advantage of their feelings for each other when they could. There no gratuitous sex scenes–nothing to make you wonder why they think this particular moment is appropriate–and the affection and care they have for each other are developed in such subtle ways as to be impressive.
Though the book contains lots of violence, and sometimes fairly graphic descriptions, there was really only one scene that made me uncomfortable, due to the power dynamics at play. While they’re on the run, at one point, Leo and Rich find a building they assume to be abandoned, but when they enter, a black man and a white man confront the two, saying it’s their squat and to leave. In response, Rich pulls a gun on them and says they aren’t leaving yet. And while nothing comes of it, you can’t ignore the fact that white law enforcement officials frequently pull weapons on black people, more often than not resulting in dire consequences. As Rich doesn’t have his badge at that point, thus the man doesn’t know he’s law enforcement, you have to acknowledge the power imbalance and unease, or even fear, black readers may experience in this moment, brief though it may be.
Overall, the story was enjoyable and a fun ride! Fans of Witt and Z’s previously published BAD BEHAVIOR series and/or Layla Reyne’s AGENTS IRISH AND WHISKEY series will very likely enjoy this novel.