Rack & RuinRating: 4.25 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Destructive Delta, along with the rest of THIRDS, is continuing to battle the ever increasing violence on the streets.  They are now facing two vigilante groups: the Order of Adrasteia, made up of Therian-hating humans, and the Ikelos Coalition, a group of militant Therians bent on revenge against humans.  The two groups are fighting it out in the streets and innocent people are getting caught in the crossfire.  The problem is that THIRDS doesn’t know who is leading the groups, and the Coalition in particular is very good about hiding who they are.  On top of that, there is a mole leaking information to the Coalition, which means someone from inside THIRDS can not be trusted.

While all this is going on, the Destructive Delta team is also battling personal problems.  Something is definitely off between Calvin and Hobbs. Dex knows about their feelings for each other, but he has no idea what is causing the tension between them.  Cael and Ash are at odds as well.  Where once they were as close as can be, now Ash is surly and pushing Cael away.  The men are all distracted, which is affecting their work.  Things between Sloane and Dex get strained as well as it becomes clear that Dex’s feelings are growing, and Sloane gets skittish about the way their relationship is escalating.

Despite all the issues they are facing, the team must get it together to face these two vigilante groups who are determined to destroy each other and anyone in their path.

Rack & Ruin is the third book in Charlie Cochet’s excellent THIRDS series.  Some time has passed since the end of Blood & Thunder, but coming face to face with his past has left Sloane unsettled.  He keeps having nightmares about when he was locked up and experimented upon as a child. Being with Dex offers some comfort, but it is clear that the case stirred up a lot of emotions for Sloane.  We learn more about what happened to Sloane here, and it really helps give us a better sense of his character and why he is so skittish getting in deeper with Dex.  We can see how much he lost as a child, how wary he is of believing in anything good.  Learning about Sloane’s past also gives us some more insight into Ash, which I found particularly interesting. I really like the way Cochet builds up that backstory and the way it plays out in things that happen between Ash and Sloane later in the book.

This story really has its focus on the relationship end of things, much more than the other two books.  Although the bad guys are out there and up to trouble, the team really only has a few small encounters with them throughout most of the book, with a larger event happening later.  So even though there is still that suspense thread, the investigation and the active police end of things is much more low key here.  I will say I did miss it a bit, as the action and suspense was one of the highlights of the first two books.  I wish we got a little bit more of that here. However, I do see why this approach makes sense, as this story doesn’t really wrap up here.  There is some resolution to the case, but not nearly as much as we are used to in the other books, and there is a cliffhanger ending.  So I think that this book is kind of a place to catch your breath and check in on the guys as we gear up for the resolution of the conflict.

I did enjoy seeing more of Sloane and Dex being all sweet and in love.  We can see how much they have grown as a couple, and how they are taking these little steps forward.  Sloane is still skittish and wary of letting his heart get involved, though it is clear how much he cares about Dex.  We can see that tension as Dex wants to move forward, but is careful and taking baby steps for fear of scaring off Sloane.  He also knows Sloane told him from the beginning he wasn’t going to be able to do emotion, so Dex is forced to protect himself even as he falls harder for Sloane.  Sometimes this conflict can be frustrating in books, when one character is constantly pulling back, but Cochet handles it really well here.  Although we see the tension and get to really understand Sloane, I never felt like things weren’t moving forward between them and I have no doubt that Sloane is coming along.

We also get to spend time with our secondary couples here, which I really loved.  Calvin and Hobbs play a small role, but it is clear there is some sort of conflict going on.  I love this pair and can’t wait to see what develops for them.  Ash and Cael have a much bigger role here and tension between them is major.  Cael so clearly is in love with Ash and Ash keeps pushing him away, and no one understands why.  We learn more about Ash’s past and what is going on with him here, and I am so excited to hear their story. I know it is coming (for both of these couples) but I am not sure what order within the series.  I will admit, I am definitely getting anxious, especially as things are more settled with Dex and Sloane and the conflict is heating up with Cael and Ash. So I hope we don’t have to wait too much longer, but I am really excited to see where this all goes.

So I think Cochet is doing a great job with this series and I am really enjoying it.  It is so cleverly done and she has created a fabulous shifter world here that is so unique.  I love the way this series combines the suspense and thriller aspect, with the creative paranormal elements, and the wonderful romance.  So a great series and one I definitely recommend.

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