Second ShotRating: 2.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novella

Dillon McQueen is a law school graduate working as in investigator, because he wants to help real people. Dillon was abandoned shortly after birth and has no knowledge of his heritage, except for a necklace he now wears. It’s a Celtic symbol that helps him center his magic, which he has some limited control over. Dillon is on vacation in Florida—on a two-week trip his adoptive parents financed so he could “find a nice girl,” despite Dillon making it clear that he’s gay–when he’s contacted to help with an investigation.

Dillon’s first crush was on his gifted summer school teacher, Nick Montana. Nick’s never been interested in men, but he hasn’t had many relationships in his adult life, since he’s been an Army Ranger and works a lot of confidential cases out of the country. Nick remembers shiny young Dillon, a college graduate at 19 years of age, and suspects the boy had a lingering affection for him. Still, Nick doesn’t hesitate to pair up with grown-up Dillon when his newest case, kidnapping and trafficking of a nine year-old boy, could use a svelte, possibly gay, investigator to pose as a waiter in a skeevy gay nightclub.

Dillon’s got to hold his lingering crush at bay, but it’s hard when Nick’s the target of some pushy waiters in the club—and Dillon’s fervent wish for Nick to want him turns into an ill-cast spell that gets Nick way into the bam-chicka-wow-wow zone. Oh, and they still need to find the bad guys before Saturday night’s sex-slave auction.

For me, this book missed the mark. It all seemed rushed, and there were issues with plot and the magic aspect. Dillon doesn’t use any of his magic for like two-thirds of the book. It’s never even mentioned. Then, bam! He’s flinging curses and faster than The Flash. I had trouble suspending my disbelief that this meek man, who can’t even get his parents to believe he’s really gay, is suddenly crashing secret lairs. Also, what kind of investigator goes off exploring creepy warehouses supposedly owned by brutal immigrant gangsters who think nothing of deadly bloodsport and child sex trafficking, all without notifying their partner? Dead ones, that’s who.

I felt like so much of the plot was convenience-driven. Oh, no rooms at the inn? Share mine, sexy former teacher! Need to have immediate sex with me, but condoms and lube are lacking? No problem, fire away! While escaping we need dead-eye accuracy to shoot the bad guys? Well, handy that I’m a closet marksman! To put it mildly, I struggled with the plot.

I also struggled with Dillon’s character. I didn’t find him admirable, despite his supposed smarts and desire to be a good guy. He won’t stand up for himself with his parents, and he comes off as petulant and opportunistic with Nick. Meanwhile, Nick’s a man on a mission, and his motives are laser-focused. When Dillon’s “whammy” puts their case off-track, Nick sets it right. He’s smart and kind, and he saves the day, and Dillon, and makes their ending happy when Dillon would’ve been happy to let it all fade away.

So, like I said, bit of a miss for me. The romance wasn’t well-developed, I couldn’t handle one of the character’s actions or logic, and the end was too fast, with a reconciliation that seemed tacked on.

veronica sig