Rating: 4.75 stars
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Corruption is the third book in Eden Winters’ fabulous Diversion series and reunites us with Southeastern Narcotics Bureau agents Bo Schollenberger and Simon “Lucky” Harrison. The guys have been together about a year now, although they are still keeping their relationship quiet at work. Things have been busy for the guys, and working different cases means their time together is often limited. But it is clear that Bo is interested in moving things forward with Lucky and thinking about a long-term future together. But while Lucky loves Bo and can’t imagine his life without him, he is still freaked out at that kind of commitment, sure that he is not worthy of Bo.
When a new instructor is brought in to train the SNB folks on undercover operations, Lucky is pretty sure this guy has nothing to teach him. After all, he has been undercover many times, not to mention lived a life as a drug runner and criminal. But Lucky is surprised to find that he has a lot to learn from the instructor. And even more surprised to see how well Bo takes to the training. Somehow he sweet, vegetarian, wouldn’t hurt a fly boyfriend is able to transform into a tough, hardened man, assuming a persona flawlessly.
When the SNB takes on a new case to root out the source of a highly dangerous street drug, Bo is sent in undercover to infiltrate the motor cycle gang believed to be running the drugs. This is his first real undercover assignment without Lucky, and a dangerous one at that. Bo’s survival depends on his ability to adopt his alter ego, Cyrus Cooper, and make the bikers believe him. At the same time, he must retain the good person he is inside. And Bo and Lucky are facing a long-term separation, as Bo will be deep undercover for months. As the investigation heats up, things become even more dangerous and Bo and Lucky must work together to bring down the drug dealers and to keep themselves alive.
So I just love this series and think Corruption is the best installment yet. It combines everything that I love in a good cop thriller and romance: an exciting, well-developed case; fabulous heroes; danger and excitement; and hot and sexy romance. First off, the investigation is once again really well done here. While the first two books focused on pharmaceutical trafficking, this one brings us back to the more traditional sales of drugs on the streets. Lucky witnesses first hand how dangerous this new drug is and its distribution is growing quickly. The SNB must infiltrate a biker gang at the U.S. end of the pipeline and figure out where all these drugs are coming from. The investigation is complex enough to stay interesting without being overwhelming. I also found the focus on undercover operations fascinating, especially the training sessions these guys go through. Winters does so well giving us great details that make it all just really come alive.
Bo and Lucky are total favorites of mine and I am becoming more attached as the books go on. I love how they are so different in many ways, yet there is such an underlying connection between them. On the surface, Lucky is all bad boy, a former felon who got the job at SNB as part of his parole. He is snarky and stubborn and always breaking the rules. But at the same time, he is dedicated to his job, devoted to his boss Walter, and deeply in love with Bo. I liked how here we see him gain a little humility as he realizes that he has something to learn from this trainer. Lucky continues to struggle with commitment to Bo, not so much because he doesn’t want to be with him, but because he has such a lack of self-worth underneath all of his bravado. I am enjoying seeing him slowly accept how much Bo cares for him and how worthy he is to be with Bo.
The stories are all told from Lucky’s POV, and while Bo plays a major role in both of the investigations in the first two books, I still felt like they were Lucky’s stories. Here for the first time we really see Bo come into his own. He just blossoms with undercover work and has the ability to transform himself into a totally different person. Winters does a really nice job here of tying all this in with the past with know of Bo. While he is amazing at undercover work, it also haunts him. We saw in the previous book how hard a time Bo has separating himself emotionally from his cases, and it comes into play here as well. And becoming Cyrus, this ruthless, cruel man, takes a toll on him, and at times it is difficult for him to separate these two personas. Winters really plays with this duality and the idea that we all have hidden parts of ourselves. It is really well done and gives us a great insight into Bo’s character.
And can we talk about biker Bo on his Harley and in his leather chaps? (These chaps have been featured in many of Lucky’s fantasies!). These guys are so hot and sexy together and Winters puts together some wonderful scenes that are both scorching hot, but that also showcase the love and affection these guys have for one another.
What I really love most about this series is the way Winters is keeping it so fresh and exciting. The investigations are unique and well developed. There are some great side characters and folks we are getting to know across the series. Bo and Lucky are growing and developing in their relationship at a nice pace. And each new book draws and builds upon previous ones. As I said, I think this is my favorite so far of this series and I can’t wait for more. If you are not reading this fabulous series, I definitely urge you to pick it up. It is exciting, sexy, romantic, and a lot of fun.