Author ~ Thianna Durston
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 4th January 2017
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance, Mystery/Suspense
Special-ops-turned-professional-killer Vespar McKauley is hired to take out Marcolm Rogers, son of his employer’s worst enemy. But Marc isn’t like any hit he’s ever done. He’s just twenty-one, he goes to a private university studying English Lit, and for fun, he plays computer games with his friends. No drugs, no partying, no crime. The day Vespar bumps into Marc and looks into his azure eyes, the world drops out from under him.
With his father in the Chicago crime syndicate, Marc and his mom have stayed out of the limelight, hiding from those who might harm them. He figures he’s safe at a small liberal arts university, all the way across the country. But midway through his senior year, he feels eyes on him and the shadows encroaching. Just as he’s about to run, he meets Vespar and experiences an instant attraction. When Vespar tells him he’s in danger and offers to protect him, Marc wants to believe him. But he’s been hunted before, and this time he isn’t sure he’ll get away. Especially when he finds out he is Vespar’s target.
Vespar is another installment in the series, Order Of The Black Knights and thus has a similar theme. Man gets wronged and is offered revenge from a chap called Moriel. However, the offer comes at a price. The wronged will live many lifetimes inflicting retaliation. The only way to break the contract is to forgive the perpetrator.
Centuries ago, Vespar became a Black Knight after being knocked over in the street. Personally, I think this is a bit of a flimsy reason for vengeance. But, each to his own. The action, albeit minor, was probably the last straw and years of pent up frustration flooded out.
Having read the other books in the series, so far, the ending is kind of a given, but it’s the adventure getting there that’s the fun part. Each book can be read as a standalone and is different in every way except the basic formula.
In this book, our Black Knight is Vespar, a contract killer with an army background. His plans go awry when he finds himself attracted to his mark, Marcolm, a college student, and son of a Mafia leader. The initial lure is mutual, though they don’t jump straight into bed. Vespar soon realizes that Marcolm gives him an inner peace he’s not experienced before and can’t kill him. Instead, Vespar protects Marcolm from anyone else that is sent to complete the contract.
What follows is a ride of inner enlightenment that sees Vespar display a side of himself that he didn’t know existed. Marcolm too has a journey to complete – one of trust. The men have lived very different lives and doubts about surviving the present and what lies in their future are all part of the story. Can they exist in the same world, and is one good enough for the other?
Although I expected some scenes to happen, it was fun to see how they developed. To that end, I had a couple of yippee moments. I particularly liked the honesty in the practical self-defence lessons.
From my perspective, I felt a couple of parts were a little drawn out. Then again, the action was probably right for the story. When one is playing cat and mouse with another assassin, an opportune moment doesn’t come along without patience. I fear that it was my own impatience that was at fault – I like the adrenaline filled parts. When the action did come, I wasn’t disappointed. As for the heat rating, it ranges from temperate to scorching.
I enjoyed the characters and storyline. The ending was cleverly done, too. If you enjoy a book that is high on the protection scale, with some love and drama, but without lots of blood and gore, then this is one to read.
Gideon by Ashe Barker
Gideon Maybury enjoys a life of wealth and privilege, not to mention the advantages his position offers him in his career as a merchant banker and his less public life as a high-class, skilled, and very well-paid assassin for Her Majesty’s government. When his brother dies unexpectedly, he becomes the Duke of Westmoreland.
Michael Mathison has hated Gideon since they were at university together. He’s convinced Gideon had a hand in the death of Michael’s college lover, Christopher, and that he had something to do with the death of his own brother. So he gets a job as Gideon’s driver, enabling him to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of the elder Maybury sibling. At first his suspicions seem to be confirmed, but clues emerge that suggest all is not as it appears at Maybury Hall.
As the mystery deepens, so does the attraction between the two implacable enemies, as does the feeling that they have met before—under dark and terrible circumstances. Each has reasons not to trust the other, but neither is averse to a bit of kinky play. Gideon and Michael end up owing each other their lives, and it results in consequences neither could have imagined.
Order of the Black Knights Book 2
Matthias by Alexis Duran
From Louisiana swamp rat to revivalist huckster to skilled con artist, Matthias Krall clawed his way out of poverty using his natural gifts of grift and manipulation to become the leader of an exclusive retreat center. Exploiting the guise of spiritual guru, Matthias seduces the rich and powerful into turning over their lives and fortunes to his control. But wealth and a small cadre of loyal followers can’t protect Matthias from the betrayal he knows is imminent. Everyone wants what Matthias has, except for one man who wants to destroy it. Dylan Connelly is a reporter who’s determined to prove the charismatic recluse is not only a fraud but a murderer.
Irresistibly drawn to Dylan despite the warnings in his gut, Matthias lures Dylan to his island retreat, determined to destroy his enemy once and for all.