Rating: 5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Kick Start by Josh Lanyon picks up the story of Will Brandt and Taylor MacAllister as they begin a new career as global security consultants. As per usual for these two ex-federal agents, life together is hardly smooth and they struggle with the notion of tranquil domestic bliss. The reality is that they are up to their ears in credit card debt, and in desperate need of an office manager. Actually having a real office wouldn’t hurt either. Between worry over financial doom and their increasingly unsavory clientele, Taylor and Will find that most things seem to push them apart, making their tempers flare and their love life practically nonexistent.
After a disastrous meeting that ends with Will covered in trash and their client skipping town without paying, the partners face their toughest case yet—going home to see Will’s father and brother. Will stoically tries to convince himself that he no longer wants to hide his relationship with Taylor, with little success. Despite both men having misgivings that they try to hide from each other, they make their way to Will’s mountain home and are met with a less than warm reception from Will’s brother, Grant. Now with Taylor twisted in knots over a phone call he’s about to make to his stepfather asking for a business loan and the hostility pouring off Grant due to Will’s coming out, both men find themselves even doubting the reason they left the service to pursue a life together. The real question becomes whether they have the goods to make this new domestic partnership work even during the worst of times. Adding to their tension is a new twist that puts them both on high alert. Who’s driving the car that has been tailing them for days? Could one of their former busts be back for a taste of revenge?
When I review a Josh Lanyon novel I am reminded once again of how impeccable his writing is: smart, funny, continually evolving, and, yes, at times even richly poetic. There is a depth in the way in which this author approaches his characterization that places his stories head and shoulders above the pack. I have noted before how I felt there are never wasted moments in a Lanyon novel and that his series are so often the rare creature that consistently produces a solid installment rather than just a tired or trite nod to characters that happen to be popular among his fan base.
So what evidence do I have to assert these accolades? Let’s turn to the writing itself for a moment. I have read many sex scenes since coming to this genre. Some, while admittedly sizzling hot, have been just so-so. Others have been nothing more than the mechanics dressed up with a lot of silly language that was somehow meant to convey the heat of the moment. However, I am certain that I have never read such an incredibly lyrical description of an impending climax that so fully revealed a man’s internal voice such as this before:
He thrust harder, staining to get there, to reach the finish line, stretching out for it. And there it was. The road rising up to meet him and he was home. Homecoming. It was never sweeter.
Lovely. Isn’t that what we all want to be? Home to someone? And therein lies the real genius and leveling effect of a novel by author Josh Lanyon. This author takes something as simple as the act of making love and turns it into the most revealing moment for the men he creates. In those few lines, we see all of Will’s desperate worry that he’ll never be able to connect with Taylor at a level that means there will be a certain future for them. In those few lines, we understand the depth of the love Will has for his partner—that he considers him, profoundly, his home. And, finally, in just a handful of words, we understand why these two men will fight to keep the other in their life. Just a few sentences that are imbued with so much meaning.
Kick Start breathes continued life and a fresh story arc into the Dangerous Ground series, one that was already enjoying a phenomenally successful run. The lives of Will and Taylor march on, keeping the reader fully invested and actively engaged as the relationship between these two men grows and expands, but still, comfortingly, remains the same, strong and uncompromising. I highly recommend Kick Start by Josh Lanyon!