When Lieutenant Connor Morgan’s SWAT team almost gets blown up investigating a tip on a meth lab, he has no idea it is the first step to finding the man of his dreams. Especially because Connor had no idea he was looking for a man at all. Ever since he was a kid, Connor has idealized his father Donal, following in his footsteps on the San Francisco police force and assuming one day he would settle down with a wife and kids just like his father. But from the moment Connor meets Forest Ackerman, something changes.
Forest has had a rough life, being saved from the streets and his abusive mother by Frank Marshall. When Frank is killed in the explosion, Forest is alone once more. What he can’t figure out is why the hot, straight cop keeps hanging around the coffee shop Forest inherited from Frank. Forest is totally hot for Connor, but he knows better than to fall for a straight guy. Yet despite what he says, Connor definitely seems to want to spend time with Forest.
Soon it becomes clear that the explosion in the RV was not an isolated incident. People all around Forest keep getting killed and no one knows who to suspect. Connor is determined not to let anything happen to Forest, especially as he finally accepts he wants more from the man than just friendship. Now that Connor has Forest in his life, he will do whatever it takes to protect him and ensure their future together.
Tequila Mockingbird is the third installment in Rhys Ford’s amazing Sinner’s Gin series. Once again Ford really knocks it out of the park here and this series continues to be sexy, romantic, and incredibly exciting.
As with the rest of the series, this story focuses on both the mystery investigation as well as the developing romance. Ford does an amazing job with both. The relationship between Connor and Forest follows the “out for you” theme, one that is common in m/m romance. What I loved about this story is how Ford really elevates this trope and gives us an interesting spin on it. Connor is not the angsty, hand wringing type. He has two gay (or bi) brothers and he is totally supportive of them. What has Connor is a knot is his vision for himself, particularly in relationship to his father. Now if you have been following this series, you know that Donal Morgan is the kind of man everyone wishes they could have for a father. He is caring and loving, but tough when he needs to be, and his children just adore him. As the oldest, Connor grew up wanting to emulate his father in every way. What Connor has trouble coming to terms with is not that he is gay, but that he will not be following in his father’s footsteps in the way he had always imagined. We can really see how much of Connor’s identity is wrapped up in his image of himself as being a man like his father and it scares him to have that change. But of course, being the man he is, Donal helps Connor accept himself and provides the unconditional love that Connor needs to go forward.
I really enjoyed Connor and Forest together. Forest has had a horrible past, pimped out by his mother at a young age and hooking just to survive. When Frank took him in, things got better for Forest, but he never really had someone show him the love and attention he craves. I loved how even before he accepts his romantic interest in Forest, Connor just can’t stay away from the man. They are drawn together and become friends, but the sexual tension between them really sparks. Connor just yearns for Forest in a way that is so palpable, before he even fully understands his own romantic feelings. Ford keeps the pacing really nice here, so while we get some tension, the relationship does keep moving forward nicely. I adored Connor with his protective nature and his sexy Irish brogue. He wants to take care of Forest, but at the same time, he also understands that Forest needs to be his own man as well.
As always with Ford’s stories, the mystery is exciting and action packed. Someone is killing people in Forest’s life, but it is not clear who or why. The danger is not apparent immediately, but soon it becomes clear that the threat is building and time is running out to figure out who is behind it all. Not only is Forest at risk, but so are the people around him and it is race to solve the crimes before even more people die. I will admit to being a teensy bit unsatisfied with the ultimate ending when we learn who the bad guy/girl is and the motivation behind it. Just seemed a little pat and then over. I also wonder about how every Morgan man seems to fall for a guy who someone wants to murder. And of course, each time it happens, all the boyfriends seem to get pulled in. At this point Miki has well exceeded his nine lives. But I am willing to let that go for the fabulous mysteries that Ford gives us and the chance to see some of my favorite characters again.
Speaking of which, we get a lot of the gang together again in this story. Along with Connor, we spend a lot of time with both his mother and father, whom I adore. They are such a lovely team and as the matriarch and patriarch of the Morgan clan, you can see what makes their children so fabulous. We also see Connor’s sister Kiki in her role as an investigator on the case, and spend some time with his brother Quinn as well. And happily, Miki and Damien are along for the ride as well, befriending Forest and giving him a chance to drum with them. So it is a nice little reunion and I continue to love this family. And as always, Ford leaves us with a little tease for the next book, and assuming I’m reading things right, I am very excited for our future MCs!
Ok, so yep, you guys want to be reading this series. Start with Sinner’s Gin because even though they are stand alone mysteries, the characters overlap and the books do tie together. They are fast-paced and exciting mysteries, filled with fabulous relationships and great romance. Both this book and the series as a whole are highly recommended.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.