Review: Dirty Games by HelenKay Dimon

dirty gamesRating: 3.75 stars
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Justin Miller works in Morocco running part of Drummond Charities. He has noticed supplies missing and shipments diverted and has called in for help. Justin is expecting Alec Drummond, the head of the company, to show up. Instead, Alec sends his younger brother Finn to help investigate what is going on.

Finn may be the younger brother, but he is no less determined to find out what is happening to the shipments. Their mission in Morocco to help refugees is too important to let supplies get stolen. But when Finn shows up at the camp, he is met with immediate hostility from Justin. Justin makes it clear he has no time or patience for Finn, and he insults and argues with him every step of the way. While part of Justin recognizes his own bad behavior, his years long attraction to Justin is coloring his feelings.

Whether they like it or not, the men are forced to work together to figure out who is behind the thefts. As they spend more time together, they act on the attraction they feel for one another. But that still doesn’t mean Justin is ready to open up about his feelings, and working with Finn is still a struggle. Yet as the men continue their investigation and things grow more dangerous, they must learn to trust one another if they are going to make it out with their lives.

Dirty Games is the second book in HelenKay Dimon’s Dirty series, featuring the wealthy and powerful Drummond brothers. We met Finn in the first story, Dirty Deeds, and I quite liked him as the fiesty and somewhat bad boy younger brother to Alec, so I was looking forward to getting his book.

I found the set up and the setting for this one quite interesting, with the move to Morocco. Dimon does a nice job giving us a sense of the political climate and the atmosphere of the country. Their charity works a lot with refugees who are trying to make their way to Europe through Morocco, and they make food, shelter, and medication available. It is important work, but they walk a fine line in terms of keeping within the government’s good graces. There is also danger all around, particular for someone as wealthy and well known as Finn. The mystery of who is behind the stolen shipments is well done and kept me engaged throughout. I think the suspense end of things plays out quite well here and I really enjoyed that aspect of the book.

The relationship side didn’t play quite as well for me. While I really liked Finn in the first book, he came across a little flatter in this one. But the real problem for me here is Justin. He is just grumpy and angry and unpleasant to Finn almost all the time. The idea is that he has had this attraction to Finn for years, but assumed he was straight (Finn is in fact out and bi). Justin figured nothing would ever come of that attraction, so he has been protecting his heart by keeping Finn at a distance. And even once he knows Finn is into men too, Justin then worries about getting his heart broken. So Justin is hot and cold, nasty and rude to Finn one moment, hot and heavy another. I could have dealt with this on a small scale, but it goes on and on and on. Even at the very end of the story when it seems finally Justin has accepted his feelings and wants to move forward with Finn, he is still picking a fight and being nasty. It just got exhausting and liking a guy more than you want to is just not a good enough excuse for being terrible to him. So this really affected my feelings for Justin and the relationship.

Overall though, I found the storyline and the suspense end of this one enough to carry the book and I still enjoyed it. I am liking this series (and really liked the Tough Love series that shares this world) and I am looking forward to more. We get some hints about the third Drummond brother in this story and I definitely am looking forward to his book.

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