Rating: 4.25 stars
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Part of a secret team of security and recovery specialists, Jeff Taylor has just come off an undercover assignment that lasted a little over a year. He has been home less than twenty-four hours when he gets the call to work an urgent job – a skin-job. His target is Alan Fletcher, the son of a possible suspect, and the last thing Peter expects is to actually fall for the man. His job is to seduce Alan with the purpose of getting Alan to take Jeff home to England to meet his parents, who may be suspects in a metal detectorist scam. Without the proper time to create a cover identity, Jeff will be playing the role of himself, but Jeff is not even convinced that he knows who that is anymore.
Alan Fletcher split with his cheating boyfriend several months back and is not looking for any type of commitment, but when Jeff proposes a no strings attached, friends with benefits arrangement, Alan is happy to agree. Jeff is beautiful, sincere, and somehow it feels like Alan has known him forever. Even sex with Jeff is a different than Alan has experienced in the past with other partners, more intimate.
Somewhere early on, Jeff realizes that this job is not a normal job, and in seducing Alan, Jeff finds himself falling for the man knowing that it will end badly. He blames it on too little time between cases and a lack of preparation on his company’s part. Now Jeff has to find a way to do his job, protect Alan, and maybe salvage some sort of relationship with Alan that has been doomed from the beginning.
Finders, Keepers is a love story and spy novel all rolled into one. I really liked this story with secrets, necessary lies, crazy ex-boyfriends, meddling friends and family, mystery, adventure, drama, steamy sex, angst, and love it has a little something for everyone.
I adored both characters, especially Jeff. I think his story is the most intriguing because he comes to realize that doing the right thing is not always the right thing, and doesn’t always end well. He starts off doing a job that is difficult to begin with. A skin job means at some point Jeff has to seduce a male mark in order to complete a case. He suffers an inner struggle throughout the entire story. He is good at what he does professionally, but the job and his conscience weighs heavy on him. Jeff struggles with finding himself after a particularly tough undercover job and on the verge of burn out. The nightmares that haunt Jeff from his previous case bring understanding of what he’s going through in this story. He has a hard time betraying Alan. And most of all, he hates knowing that in the end Alan is going to be hurt by his deception. At the end of a case, Jeff seems to suffer through his own deception.
Alan was the more innocent of the two characters, although unsuspecting may be a better term. He is a good guy that has been burned by a past relationship with a married man. He is wary of any type of commitment with Jeff, but finds himself wanting to spend time with Jeff. He trusts Jeff from the beginning, which I found a little odd since he had been betrayed in another relationship. The “friends with benefits” concept is perfect in theory, but neither man has the ability to keep their relationship from becoming more personal and intimate.
The spy drama part of the plot was very well thought out and a little adventurous. The love story is sweet. And when the two halves of the story collide the story becomes even better – mystery, secrets, and lies come pouring out. The story is very well written with several ups and downs, heartache, and angst. I was very pleased with the whole story. I only wish the ending would have continued on a few more scenes or maybe and epilogue would have been great to see what would be in store for Jeff and Alan.
Sometimes I felt a little lost in translation. I had some trouble with a few of the British words and phrases, which is not the first time. I have made some embarrassing US/British English faux pas. That has more to do with me than with the author or the work. I still have no idea what a “lumbering also-ran” is.
My only real quibble – and it is more a personal peeve than anything – was with the use of the words “Sugar Daddy,” “Daddy,” and “Sugar Dad.” Jeff used these nicknames when he was talking to his handler, Nate. I felt they were a little overused. It was cute the first few times, but it became annoying after the first three or four times.
All in all, I really enjoyed this Finders, Keepers by Chris Quinton. The characters were great and the plot was a good one with a little adventure, as well as a sweet love story. I recommend it to fans of spy stories and lovers of sweet romance as well.