Rating: 4.25 stars
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It is the year 2070 in what was formerly the United States. After the world pretty much fell apart due to environmental destruction, the Company took over control with rigid rules and requirements for both monogamy and heterosexuality to help rebuild the population. Those living outside the Company control are Freelanders, groups who live off the land in communes and are working to break up the Company rule and allow people to live in freedom. The Freelanders have been working for years to take down the Company, and recent rebel actions have led to new battles between the two factions.
Hawke is part of the Freelander militia, determined to fight for his people. When he is captured by a Company soldier and led away, Hawke is sure this will be the end for him. The people in the Territories hate the Freelanders and will do anything to destroy their rebellion. Much to Hawke’s shock, however, the soldier seems more attracted than repulsed by him, an attraction Hawke shares despite the dire circumstances. What at first seemed certain death turns into a hot hookup between them men, and even more shockingly, a determination to see each other once again.
Mayce never thought he would be attracted to a Freelander, let alone a male one. Like others in the Territories, Mayce has been taught to hate the Freelanders, and homosexuals in particular. Mayce had been trained since childhood to be a soldier and finds himself surprised by his interest in Hawke. But that doesn’t mean he can stop himself from wanting the man.
Hawke and Mayce continue their liaisons, sneaking away to be with each other whenever they can. Their feelings for one another continue to grow, even as they live in fear of discovery, or worse, that one of them will be killed in the ever escalating battles. The two men have become unlikely lovers, pitted against one another on opposites sides of the war. Hawke and Mayce hope for a future together, but first they must make it out of the war alive.
In His Sights is a spin off novella from Warren’s Don’t Tell series, set in the same world and featuring two new characters in Mayce and Hawke. I haven’t read the other books in the series and had no problem following along here. Warren gives some nice set up at the start of the book, both in the Preface and the early pages, so we can easily jump into this world she has created. I did wish for a little more developed world building though. We do get plenty of set up, but with some exceptions, this story could really take place at almost any time. I would have loved to see things developed a little more to show us what life is like 55 years in the future under this strict regime.
I really enjoyed the setup for this story, two men on opposite sides of the battle, enemies who end up falling for one another. It gives a constant sense of tension to the their relationship, knowing that even as they grow to care for one another, they are risking their lives. Warren does a nice job making Mayce sympathetic, even as he is on the “wrong” side of the war. We know that he has been taught from a young age to hate the Freelanders and he is a product of his upbringing. So I could let go the fact that he was fighting for the Company; he never really had any other choice. As the book continues, Mayce comes to fairly quickly recognize the error of his ways and to change his role in the battle. I could feel for these men as they struggled to find a way to be with one another, always with the fear hanging over their heads that their lover could be killed by their own side.
I liked Mayce and Hawke together quite a bit. They are big, strong guys who are also super sexy and romantic. This book has a lot of hot sex scenes, especially given its novella length. You do have to suspend a little disbelief here, both at the speed with which these guys fall for one another and even that they get together at all. They are enemies at war, Mayce has captured Hawke, and suddenly they are having sex. It seems incredibly unlikely, especially given the fact that Mayce has never even been with a man (something he accepts shockingly quickly given he has been taught to hate homosexuals all his life). After only two interactions, both of which are just quick sexual encounters, there are already declarations of love. I had trouble believing these guys would even trust one another after the way they met, let alone be in love at this point. But honestly, for this story to work you just need to go with it and despite my disbelief at some of the details, I was able to move past it to enjoy the book.
So I found this one a nice bit of sexy fun. Hawke and Mayce are super hot and really likable together. I liked the enemies to lovers, soldiers on the opposite sides of battle element a lot. While I wished for a bit more of world building, overall I found this one really enjoyable.