Author ~ Lissa Kasey
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 7th October 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Sequel to Model Citizen
Haven Investigations: Book Two
Things are going well for androgynous model Ollie Petroskovic, ex-Marine Kade Alme, and their business, Haven Investigations, until rock star Jacob Elias shows up in need of their services… and trouble follows.
Jacob is a playboy with a serious penchant for kink, slaves, and sex toys. He’s also Ollie’s ex—and all that implies. With the media exploiting his personal life, a stalker sending blood-soaked “gifts,” a bumbling security team, and a family he can’t trust as far as he could throw them, Jacob is in desperate need of a bodyguard for his latest tour, and Kade can’t refuse.
While Kade deals with new doubts about his partnership with Ollie and struggles with reminders of his war injuries, Jacob’s stalker escalates from blackmail and threats to murder. As Kade and Ollie work to keep Jacob safe and find the culprit behind the attack, a web of family secrets, lies, and abuse slowly emerges, leading up to a final confrontation that they might not walk away from—and that will have lasting repercussions for Kade and his relationship with Ollie.
I read the first book of the Haven Investigations series, Model Citizen, a little while ago and loved it. I don’t know if the idea of a genderfluid, androgynous model pairing up with a scarred veteran is wholly unique, but I haven’t come across it anywhere else. I loved the premise and I absolutely adored the book.
Ollie is no wilting flower, and whilst he does have a penchant for getting into trouble and needing rescuing, he’s definitely no damsel in distress. I love his sassy, independent attitude which covers a lot of broken bits. I also loved Kade, former marine invalided out after a serious injury, who was best friends with Ollie’s deceased brother, Nathan. Through Nathan, Kade watched Ollie grow and blossom, and fell in love with him a long time ago, through Nathan’s letters and photographs. He hasn’t approached because Nathan didn’t feel he was good enough for Ollie, but when Nathan finally gave the green light, just before he died, Kade is ready to sweep Ollie off his high-heels.
I came into this book with a lot of expectations, and overall, I wasn’t disappointed. However, there were some flaws, which I will expand on later, once I’ve told you why you should definitely read this book, and this series. Most are minor and some would probably only be noticed by a grammar purist (with no clue as to punctuation) like me – the incorrect use of awhile is one of my bugbears.
The core stories are fairly generic. First is the rock star being stalked and needing a bodyguard who investigates and solves the mystery, and second the new boyfriend dealing with the ex being back on the scene bearing dark secrets from the past. However, the way these core stories are dealt with and interwoven – with themselves and other side stories – are anything but generic. I found the book, and the series so far, fresh and exciting in the way they re-seed old ground. Many characters skate close to stereotypes but all have definite twists toward the extraordinary.
There are elements of BDSM that weren’t there in the first book, but they’re very subtle and, for the most part, in the background. There’s a nice comparison between fairly hardcore BDSM done badly (and very much in the background) and elements brought thoughtfully and creatively in to spice up a fairly vanilla relationship.
This leads nicely on to the sex scenes. I’m not one for reading sex very much and I often skim over it. However, I have to say that the sex in this book was integral to story, bringing out subtleties that make the overall experience richer, and I skimmed very little, if at all. There are only so many ways you can describe sex which is why I value all the little details around the act itself that gives it texture and flavour.
The book is not perfect, none are, because it’s impossible to please all the people all the time and reading is so subjective there will always be something someone doesn’t like. For me the flaws are relatively small and did not detract from the pleasure of reading the story. They do, however, need to be mentioned.
The first book ended on a slight cliff-hanger, and this one on a bigger one. I don’t have problems with that per se, especially as it’s a series but – and this is not going to be an issue for those who read this as a standalone – I was slightly peeved that as far as the first cliff-hanger is concerned we’re a whole book on and still dangling in exactly the same position. In fact, the situation was barely mentioned. I would have liked just a little more discussion about that particular issue as it felt odd and wrong that it had just been completely dropped, especially as it made such an impact on everyone involved.
Another thing that irked me slightly was that the author seemed intent on bringing in as many different LGBT+ characters as she could – trans, bi, asexual, aromantic, genderqueer, genderfluid, gay – and it got to a point when it seemed forced.
This book is in no way froth. It is an easy read, but it deals sensitively with some weighty issues, such as mental health problems, suicide, eating disorders, trauma and PTSD. Some things I initially thought might be flaws later made perfect sense. For example, I thought initially that there was a little too much focus on Ollie being so beautiful. It was mentioned all the time and I didn’t think it was needed – until I came to realise what was going on inside. Then, it made perfect sense. There was one very touching scene:
He didn’t see what I saw. I knew that. Both his therapist and his nutritionist reminded me of that often. Always when I complimented his beauty, I was to talk about things in a more abstract or general view than anything solid. A focussed comment like loving the way his ass was so round and firm could send him into a compulsion over the body part. Even small bits like his lashes or lips would have him searching out the nearest mirror, looking for flaws that were all in his head.
There were some places in the plot where I thought things were blown out of proportion and others where they were a little too underplayed. That being said, this is the case with most books because they are generally matters of personal taste.
On the whole, I couldn’t find much to complain about in a book that was fresh and complex but not to the point of confusion. I was able to keep the cast and plot clear in my mind from the start and there were enough surprises to keep me on the edge of my seat. Others might see the ending coming, but to me it was a big shock and very well done.
I heartily recommend this book, and this series to anyone who likes quirky characters, a lot of emotional depth and an intriguing story with only a smattering of extremely well written sex.
Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey
Amazon –> http://bit.ly/1GjAJ6F
Oliver “Ollie” Petroskovic’s life as an international supermodel was heading in the right direction. He worked part-time for his brother at his detective agency—Petroskovic Haven Investigations—and had just bought his dream house. But all that changed when he found his brother dead, a victim of PTSD-induced suicide.
Almost a year later, Ollie is trying to keep his brother’s business afloat, but can’t get his PI license. Then his brother’s best friend, Kade Alme, shows up, fresh from the battlefield after a close brush with death. Kade is looking for a new life, in more ways than one, and with PI license in hand, he’s exactly what Ollie needs to keep PHI running.
When one of Ollie's childhood friends gets in trouble, Ollie feels he has to help. Kade insists on investigating if only to keep Ollie safe. Neither realizes the danger they’re in as someone tries to tear them apart before they can find solid ground together.