Brogan Smith is on a new assignment. Working for a security company that deals with top-secret clients keeps him always on the alert. A former military man, it’s his calm, yet quick demeanor that puts him up close with the biggest, and potentially most dangerous, clients. Brogan is a caretaker by nature having helped raised his younger siblings when he was just a kid himself. Now, outside of work, he keeps to himself mostly and a relationship or real interest in someone for more than one night isn’t at all what he is looking for. He never expected to see Embry Ford.
Embry Ford is the assistant to Brogan’s newest client. He’s brilliant and sharp witted, yet cold and aloof. Embry has been trying to live off the grid by hiding in plain sight ever since a tragedy shredded his entire world. He’ll do what he needs to get to the truth and that includes not only working for, but sleeping with, his abusive boss. The heat between Embry and Brogan is intense, but there is so much more there as well and Embry has to decide if his quest for vengeance is worth walking away from Brogan.
This is the debut book from author Sidney Bell and I was impressed not only with that, but also with the writing itself. Told in three parts, we get the story from both Brogan and Embry’s perspectives, which enhanced the story and also kept the tension at an all time high.
The story is part romance and part suspense as Embry lives for the day that he can finally take down the men that destroyed his life. At twenty-three, he’s the assistant to a powerful man who he allows to use and abuse him throughout the entire book so that is mixed into the building relationship between him and Brogan. Embry has a brilliant mind and spent countless hours focusing and training to pull his plan together, but he still might not have enough to make it all work. He’s come a long way from the shy teen he used to be and none of it was by choice.
Brogan grew up way too fast and by the age of ten, he was almost solely responsible for caring for his younger siblings and then spent years in the military. He’s loyal and caring and will do anything for those that he loves, even when it’s not in his best interest. When he first sees Embry getting off an elevator there is something about the man that instinctively calls to him and he’s basically overcome at the sight of him.
The man who emerged was absolutely, excruciatingly exquisite.
The dialogue between the men is clever and witty as the book then runs with two storylines that weave together. There is the relationship between Brogan and Embry and then the story of what happened to Embry and his quest for vengeance. The first part of the book is told from Brogan’s POV and we see how he falls harder for Embry each and every time he sees the man.
Unable to tear his gaze away because looking at Embry like this — languid, rosy, and satisfied–was like looking at lighting. Blinding and thrilling at once.
As Brogan does some digging into Embry’s past, just when we think we might get more information, the author switches POV and we get taken back, just for a short time, to get the story through Embry’s eyes. It was worthwhile as the first-hand, gripping, emotional, and visceral violence of it all helped to explain why Embry is the way he is.
There are also several bad guys here and a larger suspense plot. In the beginning we are kept more in the dark as to what’s happening at the company Embry is working for. This helped build the tension, but it was also a little too secretive at first. The villains here are rather two dimensional and add in the slower rate that details were revealed made the set up of what was happening less impactful at first. Also, after all that Embry put himself through, the climactic scene and then the lack of resolution did not work for me. The main bad guy here is an integral part of Embry’s story, yet we are never told what happens to him and it was not possible for me to get past that it was left like that.
The book excelled with scenes between Embry and Brogan. Brogan doesn’t so much seduce Embry as he makes him feel safe and makes him want Brogan as much as Brogan wants Embry. Their scenes are filled with intimacy and longing and heat and passion between their physical attraction and the way they keep running their mouths at each other.
As far as the Opposites theme, the men have radically different personalities. They were raised completely different and Embry has gifted intelligence. Brogan is more relaxed and nurturing where Embry is methodical and calculated, always perfectly groomed and he tries really hard not to like Brogan at first. It’s these opposite traits however, that allow them to blend and come together.
Bad Judgment is filled with angst and tension all the way through so if like reading with a surge of adrenaline this is the way to go.