rise & fallRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

Dex is frantic after his boyfriend Sloane was seriously injured in an explosion planned by some Therian militants seeking retribution.  It is clear this group is not going to stop until they have exacted their revenge, both on a human group that fought them years ago, as well as on the THIRDS agents who are trying to stop them.

Dex is determined to find the leaders of the militants before they have a chance to harm anyone else he cares about.  But his plans are thwarted when Destructive Delta is taken off the case.  They are too close to things, and with two members injured, his Lieutenant feels it is better to pass the case along to another team.  But there is no way Dex can sit back while people are hunting him and his loved ones.  Things with Sloane were too close a call and he can not risk losing him again.  So Dex decides he will conduct his own off the books investigation, even though he knows it could cost him his job.

Although Sloane will recover from his injuries, they are serious and it will be slow going. He agrees to move in with Dex while he heals since he still needs a lot of help. It is a big step for the guys, and Sloane worries how they will handle living together. But as it turns out, Dex is hardly ever around. It doesn’t take long for Sloane to figure out what is going on, but he is frustrated that Dex is keeping secrets and very worried for his partner’s safety. Sloane’s inner beast isn’t so happy about the danger Dex faces either, and Sloane finds he is having a harder time keeping it under control.

The deeper into the case Dex gets, the harder it is for him to keep perspective. He is losing himself in his need for retaliation against the militants and Sloane fears Dex is putting himself in increased danger.  The rest of the team is willing to help out, but things are still dangerous and their enemy is very clever and strong.  Now Dex and the team must hope that they can catch the bad guys before one of them loses their life trying.

Rise & Fall is the fourth in Charlie Cochet’s amazing THIRDS series and it once again is an excellent installment.  This book moves us forward on several areas, which really gives it a lot of energy and urgency. I think Cochet has really found great balance here between the relationship end and the investigation plot.  The romance arc for Sloane and Dex has been building with really nice pacing. Each book moves them forward and it never feels like the conflicts are dragging out or artificially created.  Here we see them really taking those final steps towards a commitment to one another and I could really believe in their feelings and their need to move forward.  Although they aren’t together quite as much as in earlier books, the connection between them is so clear and I loved seeing where they end up as the book closes.

We also move forward nicely on the investigation plot in to the Therian militants.  This is a storyline that his continued since the previous book (and shows signs of potentially leading into future books as well).  There is a good balance of high energy battles with more low key investigation.  I just love this world Cochet has created and continue to find is so exciting.  It is such an interesting take on shifters and alternative world building and I still get a thrill every time these guys change into their animal forms.  Once again we get a nice resolution to the individual story, while still keeping an interesting overall plot arc that can carry through the series.

In addition to progress on our main relationship, we also get some development in the side relationships between Ash and Cael, and Calvin and Hobbs (and even a bit for Lou and Bradley).  These first two couples have been dealing with all kinds of sexual tension and frustration for a while now, but here we get to see some nice forward progress.  Oh Calvin and Hobbs! Sigh.  I have been eagerly awaiting these two relationships and am SO excited that their books are coming up (Ash/Cael next and then Calvin/Hobbs).  I think the timing is right for this break from Dex and Sloane. Not that I don’t love them, because I do. But these side relationships are so enticing and Cochet has done such a great job getting us invested in these men, that delaying it too much longer would get frustrating.  So I am really excited to jump into their stories.

So overall this is an other fabulous installment in what is really turning into an amazing series.  I am really loving everything about it — fabulous heroes, great world building, exciting suspense plots, and sexy romance.  I am having so much fun with this series and highly recommend it.

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

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