Lucas has made it in the world of business. After a difficult childhood and a turn in the military, he now owns several nightclubs and is a wealthy and sought after man. He has his three closest friends, Snow, Rowe, and Ian and they are his self-made family. Lucas casually dates both men and women, but that’s all it ever is, casual, and that’s the way Lucas likes it. His world starts to come crashing down around him after he’s assaulted by three men one night. The message they are pounding into him is to sell off his newly acquired property and someone is ready to kill for it.
Rowe is on a mission to keep Lucas safe and stations bodyguard, Andrei, at Lucas’ side. The threats against Lucas are real and continue to escalate and Andrei finds himself on edge trying to protect Lucas. Andrei also finds himself on edge as he responds to Lucas with a desire that threatens to burn them both down to the ground. Neither man can afford to be off their game, but their desire for each other has their control snapping. But with the threats escalating at a rapid pace, the men all must work together to keep Lucas alive.
Shiver is co-written by authors Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott. I kept seeing this book mentioned and the allure of a close group of friends, alpha characters, and the appeal of the cover kept drawing me in. As I haven’t read either author, it fit well into this week’s New-to-Me Author challenge.
What I greatly enjoyed about this book was the ensemble feel that is introduced at the start. Lucas is the central core of his group of friends and he really is the one the others look to in order to keep them all together. Lucas has known Snow since childhood, they met Rowe in the military, and then Ian became part of their group after that. They are all successful, but they all have something in their pasts that threaten to overshadow them at times and they all keep each other grounded in different ways.
Lucas is currently buying property in a run down area of town and we learn his intentions are more philanthropic. There are others that don’t care what Lucas’ intentions are and through violent means are demanding he sell the properties. The who and the why are the questions here that need answers and after Lucas is attacked, Andrei comes into the picture.
Andrei works for Rowe’s security business and Lucas can’t keep his eyes off of him from first sight. The attraction and tension between these guys is ridiculously, off-the-charts hot. Technically it’s a slow burn that is going on here since by almost the halfway point of the book the men have only shared one intense kiss. But the extreme heat that rolls off of these two when they are near each other truly makes you forget all of that and was particularly well done. When they do get together, it’s raw and consuming and the scenes build upon the heat and desire that has been escalating since their first meeting. They have only known each other for a few days at this point, but the layers of desire and their intense fascination with each other made it seem longer. Their sexuality is also briefly touched upon and there was just enough to get the sense of how each man saw himself.
While I was intrigued with the romantic relationship, there were areas of the larger plot that faltered for me. There were references made to Lucas’ childhood, but then it’s not gone into in depth. Now his childhood is tied into Snow’s childhood and Snow has his own book, but there wasn’t enough offered for me here in Lucas’ book. I also would have liked more time with the guys together at the end. There is a book after this made up of short stories to address this, but I would have preferred more closure for them here in this book. The entire book is based upon who is after Lucas and why. Now, the culprit was visible to me from the moment he stepped onto the page and then the reveal of it all fell flat and was lackluster for me as a finale. And lastly, details. If the devil truly is in the details, I will find the inconsistencies every time and there were a few that stood out.
But as a whole, I was completely invested in these guys and the heat they brought to the page, as well as the dynamics of the friendships between the men. While some areas of the larger plot didn’t fully captivate me, the individual characters and the allure of the entwined series did as I’m certainly ready for the next book, and I would recommend this book for the strength of its characters.
This review is part of our September Reading Challenge Month for New-to-Me Author Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win a fabulous prize from Interlude Press. One lucky winner will receive a selection of signed print books, as well as a variety of ebooks by authors new to Interlude Press this year. Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press (a loaded Kindle fire filled with DSP books!). You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on New-to-Me Author Week here. And be sure to check out our prize post for more about the awesome prizes!