Author ~ Lissa Ford
Published ~ 20th September 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance, Mystery/Suspense
Happily ever after wasn’t supposed to be this complicated.
At last, Jude Anderson and his lover, homicide detective Rowan Muir, are settling into domestic bliss. Or so it seems. Rowan says all the right things, and the sex is still hotter than ever. But something isn’t quite right, and Jude can’t put his finger on what it is.
Then Jude’s sister drops a bombshell that she’s getting married—and guess who gets to throw the bachelor party.
It’s all puppies and rainbows and wedding plans until murder rears its ugly head. The case involves a close friend, old grievances, and conflicts that set Jude and Rowan on a collision course that could tear them apart.
Double Cross is a 66,000 word novel of mystery, romance, banter and sexytimes. It is intended for mature audiences.
After the first two books in the series (you really shouldn’t read this as a standalone) there is little doubt that Jude and Rowan love each other and are better together than apart. The problem is that both of them have a stubborn streak. Rowan is constantly afraid that once he commits and gets comfortable his happiness will be taken away. Jude still hasn’t fully come to grips with the fact that he is no longer in law enforcement. He enjoys running his fishing tour business, but he can’t turn off his investigative instincts and his need to see justice done.
Rowan and Jude have been living together for a few months, but Rowan can’t bring himself to move all the way in with Jude. His clothes and toiletries have all found a place in the home, but the rest of his boxes and personal items haven’t been unpacked. He knows this bothers Jude, but deep down he still fears that Jude will be gone from his life again so why should he bother settling in further. Besides his priority is his physical recovery, which is still ongoing, and getting back to normal at work. Jude can feel Rowan holding things back from him and wonders if he still has one foot out the door.
Rowan is back to work with a new boss who holds a grudge against him and is going to make his life difficult. When their neighbor, Riley, calls Jude about some remains he finds on his property, things start to go bad very quickly. Rowan is tasked with the investigation and his new boss is all over him, especially when Jude is at the crime scene when they show up. Jude believes Riley is going to take the fall for a murder he didn’t commit. No matter how much Rowan tells Jude to stop interfering in the case, how much he explains to Jude that his new boss is looking for something to hang him with, Jude just can’t stop himself.
While the mystery is again well done, this book is all about the emotional side of the romance between Jude and Rowan. This time we get both their points of view so even though they have a difficult time there is no question that they both love each other and want the relationship to work. The problem is that once again, love might not be enough to keep them together and their old demons and habits aren’t easy to break. Jude and Rowan have gotten a bit better at talking, but neither one listens all that well. There are still things being held back and frustrations have them lashing out at each other until they finally break.
If it sounds like all the heavy tension is going to bring the mood down, don’t worry; Jude’s sister Kristy puts an end to that. She has tasked Jude and Rowan with throwing a bachelor party for her groom who lives out of the country and they have never met. The woman gets on my nerves at times, but she has nothing but love for Jude and Rowan and will do what she can to make sure they are as happy as she is.
I absolutely love Rowan and Jude as a couple. It’s only been about five months since they got back together in Doubleback and they have been five difficult months, but they have worked hard to stay together. They have moved forward and though they can’t imagine going back to a life without the other it seemed like it just may have to come to that. They love hard and they fight hard and their passion comes through on the page. Their struggle was emotional and at times and my heart was breaking as I blamed each of them for what was happening (though I blamed Jude a bit more).
While a new avenue of opportunity presents itself to Jude towards the end of this book, there is something else looming that they will have to deal with first. I don’t want to characterize the ending as a cliff hanger, but there is something that comes up that makes for an uncertain future. The men still love and are there for each other, but once again their road seems to be heading uphill.
Lissa Ford’s writing is wonderful. Both the relationship and mystery storylines consistently work well together. I am really hoping that in the next book there is more time for these two to be with each other without being torn apart. They have been put through the wringer since before the first book starts and they definitely deserve their happy ever after.
Doubleback (Book 1)
After a tragic shooting left him wounded and in disgrace, all that remained of former deputy sheriff Jude Anderson’s life was a shattered femur, the standard disability package, and a host of issues. Jude seeks sanctuary in a remote upstate cabin and tries to get his life back on track.
Life has other plans when Jude finds a dead man draped across his front doorstep. The victim is the first hookup Jude’s had in, well, ever. Once Jude processes that shock he gets another when he learns that the homicide detective sent to investigate the murder is Rowan Muir, Jude’s ex. Their split was ugly, and Rowan isn’t the forgiving type.
Now Jude is drawn back into a world he left behind: murder investigations and fighting the undeniable attraction he has for Rowan. Rowan is still holding onto a substantial grudge. But both men need to figure out how to cope with being thrown together again, because it’s becoming increasingly clear that Jude is being targeted by a murderer – one who may have come from Jude’s past for revenge.
Double Down (Book 2)
After surviving a deadly attack by a psychopathic killer, homicide detective Rowan Muir is ready to take his relationship with ex-deputy sheriff and former ex-boyfriend Jude Anderson to the next level. Trouble is, Jude is happy with going slow. As in glacial. And, fair enough, their previous attempt as a couple wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. It took murder and the volcanic attraction between them for both men to set old grievances aside and try once more.
But the past rears its ugly head again when Rowan’s drug-addicted brother goes missing. Rowan is summoned home and is immediately mired in family dysfunction better seen in a rear-view mirror. When Jude agrees to help Rowan investigate his stepbrother’s disappearance, Rowan fears his fragile relationship with Jude won’t survive the stress.
Being back in his hometown dredges up old fears, a lot of baggage, and murder allegations. Soon Rowan has to decide if he is going to double down on his relationship with Jude, or if it’s wiser to pick up his chips and split for good.