This is the second book in a series, but it follows a new couple and I enjoyed it without having read the first book.
Roman “Quick” Webb is a bounty hunter in Atlanta. He’s an eighth-degree black belt, having honed his skills in martial arts (which type was not specified) since his teen years. The youngest, weakest son in his family, Rome was bullied and picked on mercilessly, but his training helped him control his violent anger issues. His best friend, Duke, owns the bail bonds company for which he works, and Duke is currently dating/living with Rome’s son, Vaughn. Their new coupledom has left Rome at loose ends, not wanting to be a third wheel, or see his bestie macking with his son. Rome has acknowledged his bisexuality, but never explored it, despite being divorced from Vaughn’s mother from what seems to be* 23 years.
(* I had real problems with basic math, and history in the book. Deets below.)
Dr. Cayson Chauncey is a lonely renal surgeon. He was present in the first book as the doctor who saved Duke’s life by transplanting Vaughn’s compatible kidney. He had an instant attraction to Rome, and was heartily rebuffed, as Rome couldn’t handle Cayson’s obvious flirting. Now, however, Rome would relish it…and Cayson won’t be made a fool of again. Nope. He’s had a lousy run of men who never wanted to be out with him, and his most recent friend-with-benefits, Dr. Joe Wellington, is so deep in the closet he barely touches Cayson, yet still expects him to come when beckoned. Cayson’s done being a lap dog, and nearly snaps Rome in half when Rome tries to put some weak-sauce moves on him. Rome’s used to wooing women, and he has no idea how to talk to a brilliant doctor. Vaughn totally schools his dad, which was a fun idea.
So, I really liked the wooing. There were sexytimes galore, because Rome made his interest in Cayson perfectly clear and perfectly open. He wants to take his pretty doctor out on the town, and Cayson is ecstatic. He’s never had a “real date” in all his 42 years, and wants to be wooed. Wants to be truly wanted. So, he swoons under Rome’s unflinching desire. I also loved how committed Rome was to the project of learning about his sexuality. There has never been a character’s computer browsing history I more wanted to explore, I think, as Rome learned all about doing the down-and-dirty via YouTube. He was unashamed, unabashed, and completely enthusiastic to love every inch of Cayson. That was totally hot.
Enter the jealous, unhinged ex subplot that seemed completely outside the realm of reality, at first. Dr. Joe wasn’t even an adequate lover to Cayson, and still wouldn’t walk away. Even knowing that he’d never be a good partner because he didn’t want to come out, Joe kept stalking Cayson. His bribery offer to Rome? I couldn’t understand it. Even allowing for an egomaniac, I struggled to find sense. In the end there are some real serious problems that result in one death, one beating, a huge rift with the bail bonds personnel and Dr. Joe pleading for his life. I think I kinda believed Joe’s spiel that things got outta hand, because I couldn’t understand how such a timid, well-educated man with SO MUCH to lose would actually concoct the plan that was undertaken. Also, timeframe. So much of this book happens within a WEEK. Not enough time to really build the bond that is, like, practically impenetrable from the story.
Okay, math and history are not the strong suit here. The ages of people in this book really got to me. Rome knocked up his high school sweetheart as a senior in high school and married her out of duty. So, he was 18-19 when he became a father. Vaughn is 30. That makes Rome nigh onto 50, if I consult my first grade son. The book opens with Rome telling me he and Duke are lifelong friends in their early 40s. Hmmm. *scratches head* Also, Duke is ten years older than Vaughn, according to Rome. *eyeballs that* *rejects it* It would mean that Rome became best friends with Duke when he was 16 and Duke was 6 or 7, which I do not buy, at all. Also, Rome “learned how to cook watching YouTube,” when he had custody of Vaughn as a young child. Folks, YouTube did not exist 20 years ago! The Internet was in its infancy, then. You could get recipes online, maybe, but no flashy YouTube cooking shows. So, yeah, these kinds of things—bad math, bad history—pull me right out of a story. They cause me to stutter in my head, and pause and wonder about logic and sense, and that’s the kiss of death for ME as a reader. Also, I struggled with other mechanical editing issues like misspellings, wrong words, made-up words, and the like. It probably won’t bother most readers, but these issues just poked at my already bleeding logic wounds.
I think if you like really toppy alpha-type men, who assume total control without having a lick of experience (and yes, Rome even excelled at rimming first time out of the gate…) and men who are totally passionate about being great lovers, and being loved openly, than this book is perfect for you. I struggled with the logic, and I STILL enjoyed the story, because it did hit a lot of high notes for me, even if I had a dozen, or more, mental eye rolls while reading. There are at least two more books planned for this series, if I can infer anything from the set-ups between the King brothers and Dana the sniper. I think I’d like to dip into this world again, and see if the writing gets stronger, because the storytelling is good already and mechanics get better the more an author writes, in my experience.