Jory & Sam. To Mary Calmes fans, those two names hold a world of meaning and years of love, heartache, and mishaps. In the beginning, their story is one of the right person at the wrong time, but eventually it turns into a story of lasting love, trust, and dedication. The internal and external struggles between the men are both wonderful and painful to watch. But it is those struggles that keep readers, like me, glued to the pages.
In her A Matter of Time series, Calmes takes readers on several exciting adventures with Jory, who is a trouble magnet, and Sam, who spends most of his time trying to protect Jory – running from the Columbian drug cartel, hunting a serial killer, and trying to escape drug smugglers and gun-runners. These stories are full of action and adventure,as well as romance and love. There is never a dull moment and plenty humor and excitement.
The relationship between Jory and Sam is the biggest part of all of these books – the ups and downs, twists and turns, break ups and make ups. It’s never boring and absolutely wonderful to watch. Readers fall in love with Jory and Sam, cheer for them when they’re not together, and adore them when they are. They are the perfect match
A Matter of Time, Volume One (Books #1 & #2)
Rating: 3.75 stars
When Jory witnesses a murder and inadvertently stumbles into a narcotics investigation, his life is turned upside down. After refusing protective custody, Jory finds himself with a vice cop babysitter while he’s being stalked by the killers. Detective Sam Kage is everything that Jory could ever dream of – assertive, demanding, strong, and in control. But the seemingly straight man is an enigma. Mixed signals and fear of rejection put Jory in danger of heartbreak. Just when a relationship with Sam looks like it might be possible, things always seem to pull them apart. As the murder mystery plays out, Jory finds himself running for his life more than once and finds out that he may not be able to trust the people he thought most likely to protect him.
Volume One is an introduction to Jory, his life, and the people in his life. Jory is caring, loving, devoted, hilarious, and honest to a fault sometimes. The struggle between Sam and Jory is both fun and heartbreaking to watch play out. I would describe their relationship as a game of tug of war in these first two books – both refusing to give in to the other while fighting to keep their lives from changing. In these installments, Calmes lays out a foundation and a history for Jory. She gives reason behind why Jory acts the way he does. I felt that the many men who are overly attracted to Jory went a little overboard but not enough to make me lose interest in the story. These two books are the basis for what happens in the stories that follow. They are a roller coaster of emotions – ups and downs, twist and turns. The love, heartbreak, protectiveness, betrayal, and fear all build up and create a bond between Sam and Jory that is both strong and fragile. There is no clear definition between the books. It felt kind of like reading a blog story. To me, the two books didn’t even need to be separated. They both contained equal parts love story and mystery, but there was also quite a bit of repetition and explanation of earlier events that wasn’t necessary. Even with the few quibbles I had, I was immediately addicted and couldn’t wait for more of this series.
A Matter of Time ,Volume Two (Books #3 & #4)
Rating: 4.25 stars
In the three years since Sam left, Jory has used many things to fill the Sam-sized hole in his life. From drinking too much, to a long line of hook-ups, to even trying at a relationship with a man that he couldn’t love, Jory did everything in his power to try and forget about Detective Sam Kage. But when Sam shows up wanting another chance, Jory is sure that he would never survive the probability of Sam leaving again. He barely made it out alive last time. But one can only push Sam away for so long before giving in, and for Jory it’s always easier to give in. Almost as soon as Sam and Jory give it another try, they find themselves in the middle of another murder mystery. Only this time a serial killer is on the loose and is targeting Jory. When the killer begins to also target Jory’s loved ones, he makes the choice to do anything to keep Sam safe, even as it tests their still fragile relationship.
This book is more adventurous and action-filled than the first volume. In Volume Two, Jory and Sam’s relationship is more of a cat-and-mouse game. Gone is the back and forth struggle between them – okay, maybe not gone but definitely tamed. It’s a game of chase. And once he catches Jory, Sam will do anything he in his power to keep him. Though the chase doesn’t stop there, Jory gets himself in trouble more times than not in this book and Sam is always there for him, to help him, to save him, and to chase him when need be. This is the story where I really fell in love with Sam. I liked him a lot in the first two books, but here he has grown, learned from his mistakes, and found himself. His persistence, adoration, and dedication to Jory make this story great. The two books had more definition in this volume, which I appreciated. Book Three focused on Jory and Sam’s relationship, and the chase. Book Four more focused on the murder mystery, Jory’s amateur sleuthing, and, of course, the growing relationship between Jory and Sam.
Bulletproof (A Matter of Time # 5)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Three years later, Jory and Sam are still happily married, although Sam has been away for almost four months working undercover on a task force. When Jory saves a young man at a party, he finds himself in an strange situation. The young man’s older brother, Cristo Liron – a dangerous man involved in gun-running and drug smuggling amongst other things – wants to meet Jory. And after their meeting, Jory somehow finds himself in the middle of Sam’s undercover investigation. Long months with no contact and suddenly finding that Sam has been in town the entire time is hard on Jory. He feels somewhat abandoned, but he refuses to destroy Sam’s case. When Jory’s life is threatened by the local mob, he has no choice but to leave town and trust that Sam will keep him safe.
Bulletproof is action packed and exciting. I laugh every time I think about all of the trouble Jory gets into. He doesn’t go out looking for it, it just seems to find him. In this book, we see a new maturity in Jory. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still spastic and high-strung, but he can admit when he’s wrong and instead of running when he’s scared, he sticks around to work things out. Sam is still Jory’s hero, always around to save the day and most importantly love Jory with everything he’s got. And their relationship is stronger than ever – trusting, loyal, and devoted. I loved the action and mystery in this storyline – the mob, the undercover workings, the secrets – it was all very entertaining, and served to bring Jory and Sam even closer if that was possible.
There is also a Jory and Sam “ficlet” titled Just Jory that is another day in the life of the trouble magnet that is Jory Harcourt. Where a simple errand turned hostage situation seems to be par for Jory’s course in life. You can find it here.
Calmes creates characters in this series that are imaginative, fun, and lovable. Each is different and expressive, well-defined and well-developed. Jory Harcourt is one of the greatest characters out there. He’s funny, spastic, impulsive, high-strung, and hard headed. His faults are many, but his quirks make up for them. Detective Sam Kage is the idyllic alpha male – physically strong, domineering, and possessive. His journey is one of self-discovery. He’s strong and possessive, yet caring and tender. And I can’t leave out the secondary cast. Not only does Calmes give life and explosive personalities to Jory and Sam, but she brings to life a full cast of amazing secondary characters. From Dane, the caring and protective big brother with a cold exterior, to Dylan, Jory’s best friend, to Aaron, an ex-boyfriend turned maybe-friend, to Aja, Dane’s loving and independent wife, to all of Sam’s family members – the list is limitless. The secondary cast makes an already good story great and full of entertainment.
I love this series. It’s a definite re-read for me. The stories are full of love, excitement, action, mystery, and more even love. And to be able to have a peek into Jory’s life is an adventure in itself. I highly recommend Mary Calmes’ A Matter of Time series.
The final installment, But For You, was released by Dreamspinner Press on October 12, 2012. My review for that book will be posted tomorrow.