Rating: 2 stars
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Private Investigator Mackenzie William’s newest client, Jordan Channing, is everything he is looking for. Jordan is gorgeous, successful, and smells good. There is just a small problem as Jordan is not gay. In fact, Jordan is looking to hire a PI to follow his fiancée, Rachel, who he thinks is cheating.
Mackenzie knows he should just walk away. He is often attracted to the straight guy and ends up getting hurt. He is not even looking for a relationship, but he cannot help being drawn to Jordan.
Jordan tries to deny it, but he cannot resist the urge to spend time with Mackenzie. He has to come to terms that for the first time, a guy is getting under his skin, and he has to decide if he can go against everything he has ever known to be with Mackenzie.
There were several things that first attracted me to this book. First, a PI is a good place to start as far as story lines. Secondly, I really do like an out for you story, where a character changes his life for that undeniable draw to be with another person. This book had these items, but the execution was where it was all lost in the translation.
Let’s start at the beginning. We first meet wise cracking, immature, self deprecating Mackenzie (Mac) and his partner Drew as they sit in the car on a stakeout. We learn a lot about Drew upfront; he is a former Army guy and is described in the stereotypical military manner. Yet he uses terms such as “bobsey twins” and “I’m audi.” We are told the names of several other characters, including insignificant clients, before we ever learn Mac’s name, even though he is our POV character.
From there, we learn that Mac used to be a cop, but due a leg injury had to retire. His leg injury is tied to a parallel story line that runs regarding his ex-boyfriend Nick. We also learn that Mac has a more recent ex-boyfriend, Trevor, who works at the same law firm as Jordan. Trevor left Mac when Trevor did not want to be in a gay relationship anymore. Mac is still trying to recover from that relationship and there is an ongoing dog custody issue as Trevor took their dog when he moved out.
After two brief meetings, Mac asks Jordan if he is hitting on him. Jordan admits that he is not gay, but that Trevor was crazy to have left Mac. Jordan then hires Mac to follow his fiancée whom he suspects is cheating. Mac is often seen blowing off work to go surfing, having casual sex with his surf buddy, and eating take out. There was no feel of a real connection between the men, but things move so quickly that Jordan was suddenly massaging Mac’s neck and sending out all these vibes for a man who has thought himself straight all of his life.
There are secondary characters brought in that did nothing to advance the story. An entire chapter is devoted to Mac fishing with his father, brother, and nephew. Nothing significant to the plot happened during this time; they were fishing for an entire chapter.
So now, one of the true main issues I had with the story was Mac’s dialog and narrative. The man could barely speak without using a pop culture reference. There were references to games, TV shows, and products constantly and excessively mentioned throughout the book. In chapter 11, there were 13 references (yep-I counted) to popular music, TV shows, and products. I kept waiting for the commercial to be over so we could get on with the story. A few times, Mac even broke character and spoke to us directly, kind of like our old pop culture friend, dare I say it, Ferris Bueller.
When Mac and Jordan get together, I tried to take the scene just for what it was. There was attraction, there was heat, and then when Mac compared his own movements to “twerking,” I closed my e-reader. Inevitably, my mind was still there and I was thinking: Jordan hired Mac to follow his fiancée whom he thinks is cheating, and now Jordan is cheating on her. After that, there is some typical back and forth between the relationship and when I could not take it anymore, I did something I have never done before, I started another book without having finished the current one.
When I came back, I was confronted with several things. There is a “twist” involving Rachel that is contrived and never sees resolution at the end of the story. And the dog issue. Well, there is no personal growth from Mac, but there is breaking and entering. Almost at the end of the book, I was confronted with the last piece. While Jordan is telling Mac that he has never wanted anything more than him, including the Huffy bike he asked his parents for 10 times when he was a kid, the only thing Mac gets out of it is that Jordan did not get the bike and asks Jordan if his parents were “Nazis.” Well, as if I wasn’t done already, the idea of that word conjures up a lot more than a boy not getting a bike and now we enter offensive territory.
The good news is that I did finish the book. But there are a lot of books out there to choose from telling well crafted stories, with well written worlds, with characters that connect to each other and the reader. Unfortunately, I cannot suggest you spend your time on this one.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.