Buy Link: Mexican Heat
Authors: Laura Baumbach and Josh Lanyon
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Mexican Heat follows San Francisco PD detective Gabriel Sandalini as he works undercover to investigate drug trafficer Ricco Botteli and his pending partnership with drug lord Don Jesus Sanchez. Gabriel has managed to make his way into Botteli’s inner circle and is working up to a large bust that should take down both crime families.
One night after unsuccessfully meeting with an informant at a club, Gabriel meets a hot guy and they have equally hot sex. But despite the other man’s interest in getting together again, Gabriel knows his lifestyle is only conducive to one night stands. Gabriel is shocked, however, to find out the next day that the man is Sanchez’s second in command, Miguel Ortega. Despite Gabriel’s best intentions, he finds himself drawn to Miguel and the man’s ability to provide the control and dominance in bed that he craves. Yet he knows that ultimately his pending drug bust will lead to Miguel’s arrest along with the other drug dealers.
This first part of the story is told from Gabriel’s POV and focuses on the time leading up to the drug bust. There is a lot of excitement and tension as Gabriel balances getting the information he needs and maintaining his own safety. Things are complicated further when Sanchez’s fiance (who is also Botteli’s sister) takes and interest in him and does a poor job hiding it, putting Gabriel in both men’s crosshairs. However, about 2/3 of the way through things take a dramatic twist and Part II moves to Miguel’s POV. I can’t explain much more about what happens without spoiling the book, but the second half of the story focuses on how the men are able to be together and how their relationship builds into love and an HEA. It is a slower pace and has a very different focus than the first half.
Only a few small niggles. Lots of reference is made to Gabriel’s age but we never actually find out how old he is. It just seems strange because it came up enough to catch my attention so I wished at some point it was actually clarified. Also, I would have liked to see more of the relationship development in the second half of the book. I felt things ended a bit abruptly, not from the suspense side of things, but in terms of of how things were ending up with the two men.
A few quick notes. According to Lanyon’s site, this story was originally published in 2008 as a paperback by MLR Press and then released in 2009 as an ebook by Samhain. Although it has the series name on the cover, Lanyon lists this as a standalone on his web site leading me to believe that a sequel is not forthcoming (at least at this time).
Cover Grade: B
The cover is hot and modern despite suffering from the common “headless torso syndrome.” However, no real effort to make the cover models match the guys. Miguel is frequently described as having lots of curly dark chest hair and Gabriel is smaller with shoulder length black hair.
Bottom line: This was a great book filled with hot sex, suspense, and a surprising plot twist. I thought the POV switch was a really interesting way to get Miguel’s side of things without constantly switching back and forth. Especially because it allowed Miguel to be more front and center at the time when he became the more dominant partner. I really enjoyed both parts of the book despite their differences. Definitely a recommended read.
P.S. This book has a major spoiler which I have left out but keep that in mind as you read other reviews