Rating: 4 stars
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Things are finally good for Miki St. John. He is living with his boyfriend Kane and has his best friend Damien back in his life. He still considers himself pretty messed up, but he is settled and happy, despite his fears that he may not deserve it all. But Miki is thrown into a tailspin when it is Valentine’s Day and he sees that Damien and his boyfriend Sionn have bought each other elaborate gifts. Miki is worried that his gift for Kane is a bad choice and that he has no idea how to really function in a relationship. It takes some reassurances from Kane’s dad, as well as from Kane himself, to help Miki see that he is doing just fine after all.
The Devil’s Brew is a novella set between the second and third stories in Rhys Ford’s fabulous Sinner’s Gin series. I love this series and adore Miki and Kane, so I was thrilled to get this little peek into their lives while we wait for the release of Tequila Mockingbird next month. The story opens focused on Miki and Damien as they shop for Sionn’s gift and then spend some time hanging out and sort of reflecting on their past and how much their lives have changed. Both men are happily in relationships and settled in ways they never expected, especially after their traumatic pasts. But while Damien seems to have adapted well to his new life, Miki still has a lot of uncertainty about whether he really knows how to be a good partner to Kane and son to Kane’s parents. He is still easily overwhelmed by people and anxious when they want a connection with him. And both Damien and Miki miss their bandmates and performing, and start tentative conversations about maybe playing again.
Talking to Damien sort of works Miki up and by the time he is alone and preparing for his evening with Kane, he is kind of a mess. When Kane’s father Donal calls, Miki is pretty much in a panic so Donal comes over and helps him out. I have always loved the relationship between these two men and found it very rewarding to see how their connection has deepened. Donal is kind of the grounding force in his overwhelming family, with the many loud kids and Kane’s dominating mother. Miki often reaches a place where he just can’t handle it anymore and Donal sort of takes him under his wing and looks out for him. Donal has really become a surrogate father to Miki and I loved the bonding we see them do here and how important their relationship is to both of them.
This really isn’t a book that advances the series too much; it is mostly a snippet in time where we can check in on the guys. We see that for as much as Miki is settled, he still doesn’t fully have himself together emotionally yet. We also get some hints about his future and where things might be going. But mostly it is a chance to hang out with our guys, see them happy and romantic together, and give us a some time to enjoy them before the next book. So a nice story and one series fans should really enjoy. And now bring on Tequila Mockingbird!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.