Rating: 4.75 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Logan has finally recovered from the brutal beating that destroyed his face and led to its complete reconstruction, as well as to Logan’s public “death.” Now that he is unrecognizable to the Russian mobsters he was investigating as an MI6 agent, Logan is back to work trying to stop the bad guys. This time Logan is assigned to go undercover as a bodyguard for a former rock star, Zak Kochenkov, son of a prominent Russian businessman. Someone seems to be trying to kill Zak, and MI6 hopes that by making the threat clear and showing they can protect him, Zak’s father will agree to come over to their side and share evidence against the Russian mob.
When Logan first meets Zak, all he see is a spoiled, rich kid who has made a mess of his life. Once a handsome, popular, golden boy with a well-known Russian band and international stardom on the horizon, Zak has fallen apart since the death of his mother. Now every last bit of responsibility seems to have escaped him. He dismantled the band, lost weight, drinks heavily and does way too many drugs, and sleeps with anyone who catches his fancy. Zak is clearly strung out and barely functional, yet there is a spirit there that hasn’t died and Logan finds himself attracted to Zak despite his commitment to separating business from pleasure.
When threats to Zak increase, Logan brings him to a remote part of Scotland while he figures out how to best protect him. Along the way the men finally find common ground, attraction, and a strong bond. With Logan’s help, Zak slowly begins to pull himself back together. The men open up to one another, share their troubled pasts, and find a connection neither has experienced with any other. But Logan knows as soon as Zak learns the truth about his undercover assignment, he won’t want anything to do with Logan. And both men have trouble accepting that they are capable of real emotional intimacy with someone else. But just as they are making progress, the threats to both Zak and Logan’s lives amplify, and they must find away to escape the killers if they have hope of a future together.
The blurb for this book grabbed me right away — secret agents, bad boy rock stars, it all sounded right up my alley. But even with that anticipation, I was not prepared for how much I would enjoy this hot and sexy thriller. First off, let’s start with the sexy, shall we? Logan and Zak are crazy hot together and Elsborg writes some amazing sex scenes between them. They two are in lust with each other almost from the first minute, and the banter and sexual tension between them are so great. Here is a passage I loved early on while Zak interviews candidates for the bodyguard job (Logan’s initial answers are in response to questions Zak asked the other candidates):
He forced himself to look at the last guy. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Not a good idea to choose him, but when had he ever done something sensible? Number Five was taller than him, had hair just as dark, and a face that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a magazine advertising aftershave or boxer shorts. His suit looked expensive, but at least he wasn’t wearing a tie.
“How big’s your dick?” Zak blurted.
His father gave a roar of outrage.
“How good’s your dental plan?” asked Number Five.
“You can’t ask that,” his father snapped at his side.
“My favorite composer is Rachmaninov. My last client moved to New Zealand. There’s nothing stuck to my shoe. I had fruit for breakfast and I don’t waste my time worrying. I make sure there’s never anything to worry about.” He walked across the room and put his mouth close to Zak’s ear. “In answer to your last. How responsive’s your gag reflex?”
The guy walked out and left Zak gulping.
The sexual chemistry between them is intense and the love scenes are super steamy. Especially a solo masturbation scene with a bit of voyeurism that about blew me away. Hot.
Elsborg also does a great job creating really interesting layered characters, chock full of emotional baggage. With an absentee father, a clinically depressed mother, and a severely autistic identical twin, most of the household responsibilities fell on Logan as a child. He worked to support his family, sometimes in jobs he wishes he could forget, was almost killed when his cover was blown, and now is forever lost from his brothers since he is officially dead. Logan gets by through maintaining constant control. Anything less and he fears everything he carefully built will come crashing down. The control makes him a great agent, but also not so good at opening himself up in a relationship.
Zak on the other hand wants virtually no responsibility. After a tragic accident (for which Zak blames himself) killed his mother, Zak basically spiraled out of control. He withdrew from the world and stopped caring. He isn’t an addict, but he abuses drugs and alcohol because he doesn’t really care much for himself. He ran from the band, ran from his father, and ran from real life. When we first meet him Zak is strung out, skin and bones, and falling apart. But somehow these two broken men reach each other. Logan pushes Zak until he starts living again, regaining his health and his spirit. He is someone Zak can count on, but also helps Zak figure out how to take care of himself. And Zak is someone Logan can finally open himself up to, someone with whom he can let down his guard and his control and allow himself to be a bit vulnerable. I appreciated how their relationship is a slow build. Yes, there is lust almost right away, but the real feelings for one another develop slowly and naturally. They are a fascinating match, and I think Elsborg really creates some great characters in these guys.
I also loved the suspense part of the story. I wasn’t expecting so many thrills or this much intensity, but from practically the minute Logan takes on the job the men are in constant danger and the story is tense and exciting. The plot is complex, but never felt convoluted. While we know the basics of who is up to no good from fairly early on, Elsborg keeps the twists coming and the story felt fresh and suspenseful.
So I really loved this one and was so thrilled to find such a delightful surprise in a new-to-me author. Sexy, romantic, intense, and exciting. This one pushes all my buttons and I really loved it. Highly recommended.
P.S. Just wanted to mention that although Zak is technically a rock star, that doesn’t really come into play much in the story as he has disbanded his group. Didn’t detract from the book at all for me, but just wanted to mention it because it wasn’t what I was expecting.