Author ~ Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott
Published ~ 27th October 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Lucas Vallois is always in control. He’s building an empire in the glittering city of Cincinnati and created his own family from his three close friends. The self-made millionaire has everything he wants within his tight grasp. But his world starts to crumble after he’s jumped by a trio of thugs late one night after leaving a club. The warning is clear—give up his new property venture or end up dead.
Caving to the demands of his friends, Lucas accepts the help of bodyguard, Andrei Hadeon, as he hunts for the source of this new threat. But as Lucas gets closer to uncovering the danger, he realizes the sexy Romanian bodyguard poses an even bigger risk to his carefully constructed world. Trapped by a need he never expected, Lucas must find a way to deny the shiver of longing he cannot control.
His brother. His warrior. His heart. Four friends. Unbreakable bonds.
I’m in a bit of a conundrum with this book, whilst there were aspects of it I loved, I did after all read it in one sitting, so it certainly kept me turning the pages, in other areas I felt that the authors only touched the surface, possibly because it’s the first in a series?
Lucas, Rowe, Snow and Ian are the heart of this book, and for me it’s what propelled the story forward. From the first chapter the authors did an excellent job of establishing the intimacy of their friendship, a bond so strong they would literally die for each other. They have a past. They are a family. And I felt initially, we are given enough hints to make me believe that closeness, supported by their easy banter, camaraderie, fierce loyalty and trust in each another… Yep, I was engaged and emotionally connected to these four men from start to finish. I love them, and the strengths and weaknesses that hold them together. So along with the easy writing style from the authors, emotive enough to draw me in, I was immediately connected.
The romance part is introduced when we meet Andrei, the bodyguard hired to protect Lucas from those trying to deter him from forging ahead with the Price Hill project. There is an immediate attraction between the bi-curious Andrei and the bi-sexual Lucas. However Lucas, whose love, loyalty and compassion is reserved solely for his friends has no room in his life for distractions, unless of course they are for one night only! And Andrei is employed by Rowe, Lucas’s best friend, so fraternising with the client is definitely against company policy.
So begins a long and tortuous dance of sizzling sexual attraction between two alpha males that are hot, hot, hot for each other. I loved the taunting, flirting and sexual innuendo between these two and the intense passion was actually very powerful with the authors doing a great job of conveying that. The sexual chemistry was just palpable.
But, when I say ‘long and tortuous dance’ I have to say it was a little drawn out for me, I was desperate for these two to get together and delve beneath the surface, they played too long at the new and unfamiliar and I’m all about the emotion, I wanted to delve deeper into the psych of these men, I wanted a little rawness and a few of those wounds we only glimpsed, picked at and not only from Lucas and Andrei but the others too. There was so much potential in this book, the authors strengths are by far their characterisation with great moments of humour and wit, I really do love these men but was frustrated by the lack of depth and emotion I needed.
The background thread of the danger to Lucas’s life, generated a little action, the outcome was predictable and didn’t create great waves of excitement but it kept me interested. I was more excited about getting page time for the rest of the boys.
The ending left me scratching my head a bit, it ends on a HEA but what transpires between Lucas and Andrei just before the end was what? Contrived angst? It didn’t work for me, the danger was over, yes there was guilt, but it felt wrong and emotionally, I kind of felt cheated.
The writing was great and flowed effortlessly. I think these authors writing together is a work in progress. They already have wonderful characters, alpha males with great camaraderie and fabulous wit, who doesn’t love that! And as this is the first in a new series, I’m hoping that what was missing for me in this book will be followed up in the future because in all honesty, I’m excited about what’s to come. I can only hope it includes more backstory, more depth and I want to feel and see the emotion that I know is hidden beneath the surface, especially when it comes to Snow, who absolutely has a story to tell. Oh… and not forgetting Detective Hollis Bannon, who made me laugh, and in a strange way, reminded me of a younger and far more attractive Columbo, could there be something between him and Ian? Mmm… the boys might have something to say about that.
I actually think the majority of readers will love this book and like me fall for the characters, personally I needed a little more to fully engage but I have no qualms in wholeheartedly recommending this book.