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Romance and other things

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ARC review book available february 27.

Single Malt - Layla Reyne

Eight months after the car crash that changed everything, FBI agent Aidan Talley is back at work. New department, new case and a new partner. Smart, athletic and handsome, Jameson Walker is twelve years his junior. Even if Aidan was ready to move on—and he's not—Jamie is off-limits. 

Jamie's lusted after Aidan for three years, and the chance to work with San Francisco's top agent directly is too good to pass up. Aidan is prickly—to put it mildly—but a growing cyber threat soon proves Jamie's skills invaluable.  

Jamie's talents paint a target on his back, and Aidan is determined to protect him. But with hack after hack threatening a high-security biocontainment facility, time is running out to thwart a deadly terrorist attack. They'll have to filter out distractions, on the case and in their partnership, to identify the real enemy, solve the case and save thousands of lives, including their own. 

Review,

Dear Layla Reyne I first started (and finished) reading this book when once again I took a glance at Carina press monthly review query letter which they sent to DA. Your book sounded very tempting – I like romances which feature law enforcement officers, especially if such books also have action packed suspense storylines and this book certainly does that. And I just really liked your writing. I of course bought it afterwards and am looking forward to the next book in the series.

I want to be very clear – this book *was* action packed and suspenseful, but romance storyline was also prominently featured. I need to give you a little bit more information than the blurb gives. Crash that changed everything for Aidan was the crash which killed his husband Gabe and his partner Tom and Aidan was behind the wheel. Of course this left him grieving and blaming himself for not being able to prevent the accident.  He was also in coma for two weeks. The book starts with Aidan being back to work and his FBI boss Melissa Cruz who was also Gabe’s sister trying to make sure that he is indeed ready.  She also tells Aidan that she received certain package by mail (or maybe it was hand delivered to her – that was not clear) that makes her think that what happened eight months ago was no accident. She thinks that because all the encrypted files on the flash drive that she received are dated the date of the accident. Aidan is a little bit relieved that his “conspiracy theories” may turned out to be true and a bit annoyed that his Boss did not share this information with him earlier.

Mel tells him that she would allow him to investigate this off the books and she also gives him a new partner James (Jamie) Walker who is in cyber Crimes division and she wants Aidan to mentor Jamie and see if he is ready to be promoted to the full time field agent.

After initial apprehension I thought Aidan did a nice job assessing Jamie’s talents and I thought that they clicked pretty well together. The main case they were assigned by Melissa Cruz was “a series of hacks at Galveston National Laboratory – was right in Jamie’s wheelhouse and he could not have been happier. The SAC down there, Gary Clark was a friend of Cruz’s and he called in a favor, requesting reinforcements for their overworked cyber teams”.

Of course the case grew into something significantly more complex than our heroes expected and I loved every second of the investigation. It was just fun, I was very entertained. Now, there was a lot of computer security language thrown in there, it did not stop me from enjoying the story, quite the contrary, I just have no knowledge whatsoever to determine whether the author did a solid research (or knows computers well herself), or just made it sound cool. The reason I say is because I read books and saw movies where computer stuff seemed plausible to me, but computer person in the family rolled his eyes multiple times and told me that no, it was all implausible bullshit ( in those other books and  movies, he does not read gay romance). So anyway, computer security folks I don’t know whether to tell you to brace yourself for the worst or not.

What I do know is that as I said above I really enjoyed the ride; I enjoyed multiple interviews they did and enjoyed the action. I pinned the bad guy but definitely not from the very beginning – it is just certain thing he said became a dead giveaway for me.

 I thought romance storyline was very cleverly done. See Aidan is still grieving for his husband but he most definitely notices Jamie and attracted to him. And of course there is no right or wrong time to get involved with somebody after such devastating loss, but I was so worried that at the end of the story Aidan and Jamie would declare their undying love for each other. Not because they were bad together, but because it felt that Aidan may have been ready for something casual, but not for something permanent yet. His grief still felt too raw to me I suppose. I was glad that they decided to keep it casual and fun for now.

I am looking forward to next book but last few pages made me feel very worried – not because they will continue investigating the accident which was not an accident, I am guessing this would be an overarching action storyline for the series, but because it sets up the potential for idiotic miscommunication between the guys and just may go where I really don’t want it to.

Grade B/B+