Author ~ Layla Reyne
Publisher ~ Carina Press
Published ~ 1st May 2017
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
The heart’s a resilient beast…
Professionally, the FBI team of Aidan "Irish" Talley and Jameson "Whiskey" Walker is as good as it gets, closing cases faster than any team at the Bureau. Personally, it's a different story. Aidan's feelings for Jamie scare the hell out of him: he won't risk losing another love no matter how heart-tripping the intimacy between them. And loss is a grim reality with the terrorist Renaud still on their trail, leaving a pile of bodies in his wake.
Going undercover on a new case gets them out of town and off the killer's radar. They're assigned to investigate an identity theft ring involving a college basketball team in Jamie's home state, where Jamie's past makes him perfect for the role of coach. But returning to the court brings more than old memories.
As secrets and shocking betrayals abound, none may be more dangerous than the one Jamie's been keeping: a secret about the death of Aidan's husband that could blow his partner's world apart and destroy forever the fragile bonds of trust and love building between them.
I did a little wuhoo when this book came through to my inbox. Cask Strength is book 2 in the Irish & Whiskey series. Be warned though, read book one before opening a page of this one - otherwise, you’ll be confused to hell. On the good side, both books are bloody great.
In Cask Strength, I got to revisit the world of FBI Agents Jameson ‘Whiskey’ Walker and Aidan ‘Irish’ Talley. Two strong-willed, talented, and totally hot men who’s weakness and strength is each other. For more than one reason, a fan may need to be present while reading.
I’ll apologise in advance if this review seems a touch disjointed. But, I enjoyed the story so much that I forgot to make notes as I read. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the pages. The story is full on from start to end. And there’s the final book to follow….
Anyhow, back to some sanity and my attempt at a review.
The opening scenes are hot and heavy immediately satisfying any reader’s need for hard bodies and something to gulp at. Jamie and Aiden are partners with benefits; mainly because after Aiden’s husband Gabe was murdered (see book 1 for more details), Aiden doesn’t want to get hurt again. But, Jamie wants more – enter one of the several sources of friction. Until he can get more, he hides his feelings and takes what he can even though he knows they aren’t exclusive. Well, Aiden isn’t acting exclusive. Aiden knows his Casanova tendencies, and mentions of other men are hurting Jamie, but he can’t risk getting close. He believes he’s doing what is best for both of them.
Master criminal, Renaud, is still on the loose and causing havoc. The investigation into Gabe’s murder is heating up, and the boys need to get out of town. They are sent undercover to a place Jamie has a history. It’s a place and life he left years ago, and for a good reason. OMG, what an investigation they have there. The plot involves basketball, betting and so much more. I’ll admit, I didn’t understand any of the basketball terminologies, but it was negligible to the bigger story.
So, there are two investigations on the go, secrets being kept that can destroy, and some secrets being blown wide open. And, action – oh yes, there’s action.
Technically, nothing irked me, and I loved some of the phrasings. This author has a style that I adore.
From the off, I felt for Jamie, and as such, in this book, he is the character in the limelight. The to-and-fro heartache between Aiden and Jamie is palpable. Yet, through the case, they support each other and have their share of spats too – especially when Jamie’s ex makes a move on him.
It was also great to see Cam return in short but memorable bursts.
The thing I like about this series is that there are conclusions, leaving no ;throw the book up the wall’ cliffies. However, there is the prime investigation of Renaud to conclude, and the hook for that remains, with an extra worm on the end.
In short – I loved it and can’t wait for the final book in the series.
Meet Layla Reyne
2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist, Layla Reyne, was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.