blood and thunderRating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: 
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Length: Novel

It has been four months since Isaac Pearce kidnapped and tortured THIRDS agent Sloane Brodie, taking out his hatred of all Therians on the man who used to date his brother.  While the team hoped Isaac had been killed in the explosion that accompanied Sloane’s rescue, Isaac is in fact still alive and well and continuing to cause trouble with his band of anti-Therian terrorists.  Team Destructive Delta, along with the rest of THIRDS, keeps thinking they are closing in, but Isaac is leading them in circles. No one can quite figure out what his goals are, and as a result, he seems to be keeping one step ahead of them.

On the personal front, things are still complicated for Sloane and his team partner, Dex Daley.  The physical relationship between the two men continues to be super hot and they spend most of their nights together.  Clearly the sex is going great, but the rest of the relationship is not as smooth sailing. First off, the guys must keep their relationship completely hidden or else one of them will be reassigned from their team, something neither wants to happen.  In addition, Sloane is just still not ready for anything serious with Dex.  After Gabe’s death, he doesn’t want to get emotionally involved with someone again.  He is giving all he can to Dex, but he also knows Dex wants and deserves more, and Sloane is not sure how much longer Dex is willing to stay with him without some commitment from Sloane.

Things are further complicated when it looks like part of Sloane’s past may come to light. Sloane has always been secretive about his life before becoming a THIRDS agent, but now his past may be coming out whether he is ready or not.  And his history is just a piece of a larger scandal that could totally destroy the THIRDS organization.  Now the men not only must stop Isaac and his terrorism, they must do it before he can disclose the dark truth THIRDS wants hidden.  Not to mention that Isaac seems to hold a special grudge against Sloane and a determination to steal Dex away.  Dex, Sloane, and their team must work to find Isaac before he can harm more innocent people and destroy the organization that is fighting to protect so many lives.

Blood & Thunder is the follow up to Charlie Cochet’s fabulous Hell & High Water, the first in her new paranormal military series, THIRDS.  I was so totally captivated by the first book, I couldn’t wait to pick up this second in the series. I am happy to say this second story is a great follow up and a wonderful extension of the series.

What really drew me in with the first book is the fabulous world Cochet has created.  The backstory on the Therians, the THIRDS organization, and the individual shifters themselves are all creative and well developed. It is such a unique world and it is clear that Cochet has thought through all the little details to make it feel real and full of life.  While this story doesn’t have quite as much world building as the first, since much of the set up is already done, it still retains that fascinating edge of cool technology, interesting backstories, and a creative world.

Blood & Thunder continues the suspense plot started in the first book, though this time we know the bad guy we are dealing with.  Isaac is causing death and destruction all over the city, but his moves leave the THIRDS team very confused.  Nothing he is doing seems to make sense, which makes them constantly a step behind.  Over the course of the book, we slowly start to see the pieces come together as they figure out his true motives.  The story nicely combines the larger suspense elements with the personal, as Isaac’s moves have a direct affect on Sloane, and potentially his relationship with Dex as well. Cochet does a nice job making the big picture and the more personal end fit together.  I did feel the middle here was a bit meandering for me, I think primarily because things are a little scattered as the team figures out what is going on. So some of the urgency from early and late in the book is missing through the middle.

I continue to like Dex and Sloane together.  Dex is playful and silly and adds some comic relief to both the book and their relationship. I love that he has this irreverent side, but at the same time he is 100% dedicated to his job and his team.  It is an interesting mix because on one hand he is so strong and tough, but he is also so sweet and vulnerable.  It is not just that he is less experienced and physically smaller than his Therian teammates, it is that he is so caring and dedicated that he always puts others before himself. I find Dex a really fascinating and unique character, and for me, he really drives the series.  Sloane holds himself back more and so he is harder to know, though here we see him really accept both his relationship with Dex and his need to open up more. I expect as the series continues, we will get to know more about the team leader.

This story nicely ties up both the larger plot line with Isaac and his terrorists and some of the personal issues between Dex and Sloane. At the same time, we know that peace in the world is short-lived and there is already a very clear new threat for the team.  I would definitely recommend reading this book after Hell & High Water because the suspense plot does start there, along with the fabulous world building.

I am so excited to see where the author continues to take this series. It looks like there are more books featuring Dex and Sloane and then some planned with other couples (and I have some ideas of who they might be and can not wait!).  So another great installment in what is turning out to be a fabulous series.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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