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Publisher's Summary

Gael Peterson has spent years hiding behind the enhanced abilities he wears like a mask, even though he is an important, confident member of the FBI’s exclusive H.E.R.O. team. The hurt and betrayal of his mom’s abandonment and his father’s fists are secrets buried deep beneath the ugly scars on his face, and he doesn’t trust Jake, his new, regular human partner, with any of them. In a world where those with special abilities like Gael’s are regarded as freaks and monsters, it won’t be easy for him to rely on Jake to have his back, especially when the abilities of a vulnerable, nonspeaking, enhanced child make that child a murder suspect.

Tempers rise, and loyalties are challenged, and when the serial killer targeting the enhanced finally sets his sights on Gael, not only will Gael have to trust Jake with his secrets, he might have to trust him to save his life.

©2018 Victoria Sue (P)2018 Dreamspinner Press

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome book!

I love this series and the latest book was well worth the wait. Nick Russo is an extremely talented narrator who adds another layer of awesomeness to thus story. Victoria Sue’s characters always feel real with talents and flaws.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 Stars

The Enhanced series keeps kicking it up a notch and is definitely getting better with each installment and what makes them even better, for me, is how much I love Nick J. Russo's narration of the characters. I love how well Nick J. Russo brings the story and characters to life. His character voices are great and consistent, his tone and pitch are good, and his pacing is terrific.

Told from a dual POV, Beneath This Mask has a fantastic plot, a lot of action, some of which is pretty intense, and some sexy times interspersed between crises.

What Gael goes through in this story...*shudders* Victoria Sue put him through the ringer and not just in the will-they-won't-they-get-their-stuff-together relationship with Jake. There's a lot of information that comes out in this installment, and you should make sure to read the first two books before starting Beneath This Mask, because even though this has a different character set's POV, it is not (in my opinion) a standalone.

This series is sexy as hell, super entertaining, and a great listen with awesome narration.

Recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Heartwarming!!

This is the third installment of the Enhanced series and this one almost did me in. We once again are submerged into a world where bigotry takes on a whole new meaning. Our FBI team of H.E.R.O.’s continue to grow and another enhanced member Gael, gets assigned his regular human partner Jake. This pairing was especially important because Gael was the only member of the team that had both internal and external scars as a result of his transformation when he was a kid. And up till now we have seen Gael as Talon’s, the teams leader, second in command and best friend. We learn that behind all that confidence Gael is hiding secrets and years of pain.

Jake comes to the team as a former member of SWAT and the dreaded ENu team. He is excited to be a part of the team but knows he will have to earn their trust especially Gael’s. This book was a more difficult read than the others. The hate towards the enhanced whether they were young kids or adults was hard to read. They were treated like untrustworthy freaks. But overall it was Gaels pain that left me feeling raw. I love every minute of it though. And Nic Russo’s portrayals of the characters was seriously good.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

the feels just keep on coming

I skipped the second in this series. I can't remember why but now I feel like I missed something. I remembered Gael as being sort of happy go lucky and outgoing but in this book he comes across more reserved, introverted, shy even. I still heart him but I'm thinking a backtrack is in order.

He's partnered with Jake because there is a killer on the loose who is targeting the enhanced. The whole team is put on the case but Jake and Gael don't exactly hit it off right away. Expect a dibble of enemies to lovers and a dabble of hurt comfort. Let's just say the scar on Gael's face runs deeper than his face and he needs someone to really see him, to love him.

The thriller aspects are fairly evenly matched with the romantic elements making this a true romantic suspense. Through a series of events a little autistic boy, Derrick, who was born with FAS is blamed for a death. He's also enhanced and Gael connects with him immediately. Pretty much all the events surrounding Derrick and his detention hit WAY TOO close to home and the recent immigration issue/separation of families/stripping of rights which had a me more than a little verklempt. Often. Thankfully, he has some people on his side who are vocal and the way this storyline evolved gave me a serious case of the warm fuzzies.

Gael and Jake's relationship evolved quickly and I kind of wish it was given more time to breathe, but I do understand how relationships can evolve quickly in intense situations. However, by the end of the story I was on board with Jake and Gael being truly committed to each other as partners in work and life.

There isn't an abundance of sex but there is a big guy bottoming! 🙌

There are also some torture scenes that could potentially be triggering for some, so exercise caution. However, this segued into an awesome finish. Beneath This Mask finished strong! Country strong!

Nick J. Russo did a terrific job with the voices. He differentiated them well so I never had to really pay attention to who was talking because all the voices were distinct and he emoted well.

Recommend to fans of paranormal, sci-fi and action adventure stories.

p.s. ZOMG!!!!!!!!!!! I CANNOT WAIT FOR VANCE'S BOOK!!!!!!!!! Eli is going to climb him like a tree. And it is going to epic. EPIC!

#LGBTQ #hurtcomfort #paranormal #romanticsuspense

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful story

The story is interesting, the mystery is thrilling, the suspense lasts until the very end. Well worth the read. The narrator does a very nice job. I really enjoyed everything.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Russo's narration broke me!

Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted my AUDIO copy of this book.

This is book three in the Enhanced Series. I wouldn't say it was necessary for you to have read books one and two, but it might give you a better reading experience. It would also give you a a better experience of these men, and just what being Enhanced means.

Gael doesn't want a regular human partner, especially not one from the task force they have all come to hate. But Jake is different, he's not got that inbuilt hatred the others seem to have. When Jake and Gael come across a non-verbal Enhanced child, who later becomes a murder suspect, Gael has to put his feelings aside, even if they threaten to be his very undoing.

Oh Gael, Gael, Gael! My heart bled for this man, it really did! He's in a whole lotta pain, and he hides it from the others in his team, who are his family too. But Jake?? Jake sees, really SEES Gael, and Gael isn't entirely sure he wants to be seen.

While there is the murders of the Enhanced as the back story, what I particularly loved about this one, was the emotions involved between Gael and Jake. With the emotions involved with turning, and the aftemath of that. Gael's history wasn't the best before that point, but it became a whole lot worse after. Jake has his own demons, and when Gael finds out what that is, he lashes out, quite LITERALLY. But he does come around, once the awful truth becomes clear.

It's not as explicit as books one and two, but it doesn't need to be. I did find it a little more graphic, though, but I think that really IS needed.

When Gael is caught by the one doing the murders ( I knew! I knew when that person first showed up, I KNEW they were no good, that something bad would happen!) his feeling for Jake, his own abilities are used against him, and Gael has to trust the guys find him in time. And after that, when Gael pulls away from Jake?? That boy pulls out all the stops to make Gael SEE Jake, he really does. That Jake wants a family with Gael, and all who come along too. And I cried then, great heart wrecking sobs, because it's such a beautiful scene!

We are introduced to Sam, AKA Angel, who pushes ALL of Vance's buttons and then some! Can't wait for their story, really can't. But I'll wait for the audio, don't wanna flip between reading and listening.

Again, Nick J Russo narrates. This above mentioned scene? When Jake makes Gael SEE Jake?? I have no doubts, none at all, that it's the way that scene was deliver by Russo, his NARRATION, that wrecked me! Reading would not have had the same impact, not for me, anyway. Russo KILLS it, he absolutely does.

His voices are clear and consistent across all three books, he has a way of getting so much emotions across, that really is beyond compare. I love his narration, so please keep them coming!

5 stars for the book
5 stars for the narration
5 stars overall

**same worded review will appear elsewhere**

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Very Good - Worth My Credit!

This series keeps getting better. The author's writing was tight, the mystery/action plot was tense and the romance was well done. The Big Bad in this one... shudder! Gael just about broke my heart and I was glad he got his HEA. More than the earlier entries (which I also really enjoyed)... Oh the feels! As always, Nick Russo does a really good job bringing this ensemble cast to life. And he really excelled this time, in ramping up the suspense as well as bringing the tender moments to life.

Definitely worth a credit! And I'm looking forward to the next book in the series - hoping it is snarky Sawyer! Or guarded Eli! Or cuddly Vance! LOL, ok, any of the fellas!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Series, Nick J. Russo is perfect

Ah, the sweet anticipation. Good news for fans of Victoria Sue’s Enhanced series, our patience has paid off. Beneath This Mask is out in audio, narrated by the sensational Nick J. Russo, and it is worth the wait! This is Gael’s tale in the continuing story of the agents in the FBI’s H.E.R.O. team, and the series must be read in order.

One of my favorite aspects of the Enhanced series, aside from the sweetly smutty sex, is how well developed the plot lines are. Victoria Sue pulls out another excellent story with Beneath This Mask. There are some heavy subjects covered in this one, and this wonderful author works her magic to tug on your heartstrings. The delicate topics are important aspects to the continuing story arc, but if you’re sensitive please check the tags.

From the very beginning of this series Gael has intrigued me. Between his unusual abilities, his stoic demeanor, and his incredibly heartbreaking backstory, this hunky enhanced agent has quite a fan club! I know I’m not alone in wishing for him to find a little romance. As soon as Jake was introduced at the end of the second book, I knew he’d be the perfect man for Gael.

Between his scars and his history of past abuse, Gael can’t imagine anyone being attracted to him. Jake sees beyond the physical when he looks at Gael, and he’s got it bad! Gael does everything he can to avoid the handsome former ENu agent, but Jake isn’t giving up - and his persistence pays off. These two are adorable together, and when they finally work it out, oh boy the sparks start flying.

It feels as though the bigotry and prejudice toward enhanced humans is just getting worse. Not only are folks going out of their way to avoid the enhanced, they’re also rushing to accuse them of every crime that occurs. This unjust behavior reaches a new low in Beneath This Mask when the suspect is an enhanced child with special needs.It’s no surprise Gael would reach out to this child, but also that he’d become a champion for him. Just another example of what an amazing guy he is, selfless and brave. A true hero.

I’ve been waiting a long time now for my man to get his happy ending, and it feels like this book was over way too soon. I’ve got my fingers crossed we’ll get another installment in Gael and Jake’s story, after all Gael still has a lot of trauma to work through and their journey is a good one.

Beneath This Mask is another excellent episode in the Enhanced series and if you haven’t given this one a go, I urge you to start with Five Minutes Longer. This isn’t your typical Sci-Fi Romance, and Nick J. Russo’s creative and upbeat narration is the perfect compliment to Victoria Sue’s fantastic story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Spidey Senses Confirmed

Very good job giving hints that something isn't quite right but not actually giving anything away. I did not see that coming until it was too late. Wow. I cannot wait for the next installation if this series. Excellent read.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story, great narration.

I read this book when it was first published and now I was able to enjoy it all over again when I listened to the great audio performance by Nick Russo. My husband and I actually listened to this one together. He has become a big fan of Victoria Sue's Enhanced Series and we plan to listen to the next one together when it is released.

Below is a copy of my original review.

Broke me up in places but put me back together again. I loved it!

I love the Enhanced series so much. The characters are interesting; the fact that each character's ability is so different from the others is fascinating. I don't know how Victoria Sue comes up with her story ideas but, as a reader, I'm grateful that her brain works the way it does. 😊 She writes in several different genres and I have loved all of them.

Beneath This Mask is a fantastic story but there are scenes that made me want to run and hide. I don't mean that as a bad thing at all. It's just that parts of the story are so intense that I wanted to scream and cry at what was happening.

The blurb tells us that Gael was abandoned by his mother and abused by his father; the extent of this abuse is horrifying and yet it helped to shape him into the caring person that he is now. There are twists and turns to this story and things happen that I didn't see coming.

I won't lie, there are scenes of torture in this book that made me shudder. However, I didn't feel that they were there just for the shock value. They were necessary for us to know just how horrible the psycho-bad-person really is. I don't want to give the impression that this story contains only dark things; there are many light-hearted places filled with bantering among the team members that I loved.

I guess I should say a little about the romance between Gael and Jake because this is also a significant part of the story . The two of them don't get off to a good start when they are partnered up but later on there's a spark that can't be denied. When these two guys finally give in and get together the fireworks really go off.

I really don't feel like I can say much more without giving things away. I do think that this can be read as a standalone but your enjoyment would be enhanced (no pun intended) if you read books one and two first.