Rating: 3.75 stars
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Detective Kieran Fox is one of the best narcotics detectives in Vancouver – complete with numerous arrests and commendations as well as bragging rights as the best shot in Canada. He was blindsided when he discovered the man he was in love with was the head of the Chinese drug organization in Vancouver. As hurt and confused as he was, that didn’t stop Kieran from turning the man in, but it did take a toll on his career and his pride. Fear of retaliation from the Chinese mob and fear of opening himself up again keep Kieran locked in his condo with several bottles of alcohol. When Sheriff Dillon Depriest shows up and offers Kieran a job in Texas, of all places, Kieran’s first reaction is to tell the man no. But the more he listens to Dillon, the more Kieran realizes that he can’t live the rest of his life cowering in fear. He needs a new start and what the sheriff is offering sounds like the right move. As a deputy in Lone Trail, Kieran is being brought in to clean up the streets and take out the Mexican drug cartel with the help of the U.S. Marshals in the area.
Jubilee Mason grew up in Lone Trail and fled from the small town the first chance he got. Working as a U.S. Marshal, Jubilee spent years in Dallas where he was free to be himself. But when his sister called to tell him that her husband was killed in Afghanistan, Jubilee moved back to Lone Trail to help raise his nephews. Life in a small southern town is not an easy life for a gay man, so Jubilee would rather remain in the closet. As a Marshal, Jubilee is working to get rid of the drug problem in his home town, and he takes delight in taunting the local small town sheriff. Some of the sheriff’s ways are old and outdated, so Jubilee is intrigued and slightly impressed when he finds out that the sheriff is bringing in the hot shot narcotics detective.
Attraction sparks between Kieran and Jubilee when they first meet, although Kieran’s fear of commitment and Jubilee’s closeted lifestyle keep the pair from acting on the attraction. A case involving a possible cross dressing Cher impersonator, a man-eating alligator, a federal mole, and Mexican cartel hit men bring Kieran and Jubilee together professionally and the heat between the two men is difficult for either of them to ignore.
This book is the first in A.J. Llewellyn and D.J. Manly’s Orgasmic Texas Dawn series. Although I find the title to be silly and have absolutely nothing to do with the story, Orgasmic Texas Dawn was a very entertaining read complete with action, mystery, a small-town-feel of “everybody knows everybody,” twists and turns, ups and downs, and the beginning of what could be a great love story.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Both Kieran and Jubilee were very likeable, headstrong characters. The first several chapters are mainly character building and plot introduction, but the real excitement of the story comes when these two begin working together to solve a case. Individually, each of the main characters are strong-willed, strong-minded, and confident. They are both sarcastic and snarky, yet their wits complement one another. Together, each of their confusions and insecurities also make themselves known. They each have a reason not to start any sort of relationship with the other, but no matter what happens a relationship always seems to be inevitable between the two.
The cast of secondary characters make this story even better; and I don’t think I can talk about them without talking about the setting. These authors bring small town Texas to life. Most of the inhabitants of Lone Trail, Texas were born and raised there, including the bad seeds. There was a Hatfields and McCoys reference made referring to the two prominent families in Lone Trail, the Masons and the Keens. Whereas, a “family feud” was not hit upon in this story, it may come up in the future. There were lots of secondary characters in this book from Jubilee’s sister (whom I have mixed feeling about) and his nephews (whom I adore), to Dillon Depriest and his wife, Elsie, who are the typical down home southern couple, to Jesse-Belle. Even the “bad seeds” held my interest. Charlie Turner and his dense, pathetic self was a well-written character. Elsie is a favorite of mine, taking Kieran in and treating him like family. She is a heart-warming southern belle and a perfect mother figure. Jesse-Belle is Elsie’s niece and is recently divorced and on the hunt. I tended to pronounce her name as Jezebel because, really, she was a piece of work. But her character always left me smiling and shaking my head.
The story as a whole worked for me, but there were a few inconsistencies throughout the book that showed lack of attention by the authors. Both main characters were said to be six-two, yet every time Jubilee looked at Kieran, he looked down. I know it’s a slight detail, but it is a pet peeve of mine when I’m mentally picturing the characters as I’m reading. Also, I believe Jed Tanner (one of the drug dealers) to be the father of the Tanners, yet there was a point where Charlie Tanner makes a statement about Jed and Pa making it sound like Jed is a brother. It was a little confusing. Jesse-Belle is Elsie’s niece, but there is a line where she is mentioned as Elsie’s cousin. Again, it’s just a lack of attention to detail, but it took away a little from the story and added unnecessary confusion.
Aside from the minor details that were overlooked, the storyline was well thought out and well executed. It was written in the first person POV of both characters. In other stories, I’ve found that both characters speaking in first person can be confusing, but not in this book. The authors did a great job “naming” the character speaking at the beginning of each chapter in a way that wasn’t too obvious and worked very well with the feel of the story. The storyline was fairly fast paced with the timeline only lasting two or three days. There is a lot of excitement and action packed into that small amount of time, but time is made for a little bit of humor, flirtation, and a budding relationship. There are several plot lines left open-ended and unanswered, but I hold back my disappointment with the knowledge that there will be sequels to this story. I really enjoyed the story and got caught up in these characters lives.
The following section may contain what are considered to be spoilers:[spoiler]My complaint with the storyline centers on the final chapter. When Jubilee’s nephew is kidnapped and it’s discovered that Kieran’s ex-boyfriend is the suspect, Jubilee focuses more on his jealousy of Kieran’s relationship with his ex than he does on his missing nephew. Not only that, I would expect Jubilee and his sister to be upset that Kieran brought this crazy man into their lives, but that’s never an issue. Even the declaration of love feels oddly misplaced and forced. I felt that after such an exciting book, the ending didn’t match up to the rest of the story. [/spoiler]
In the end, I think the good outweighed the bad in Orgasmic Texas Dawn. The characters, the setting, the upbeat storyline, action, adventure and mystery, as well as the romance all added to the story. Yet, the odd title, lack of attention to detail, and disappointing final chapter were too much to overlook. But I still enjoyed the story and hope to read more in the future.
Another beautiful cover by Resse Dante displaying not only the main characters but the national flags representing Kieran as Canadian-American and Jubilee as American set against a small country town.