windwardRating: 4 stars
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Length: Novel

Matty and Grant are trying to build a life together in the aftermath of Jaeger’s attack. Jaeger is still a fugitive and Matty knows no one will ever catch him. But he hopes that if he doesn’t get involved in with Jaeger’s case, his former lover will leave him and Grant in peace. When Matty learns that Jaeger is back in the area, however, he realizes that his only hope of getting the man out of his life is if he helps his former partner Rey and the FBI to catch him.

Jaeger is brilliant and manages to always stay a step ahead of them. And it soon becomes clear he is not done with Matty. Jaeger wants his former lover back, and is willing to do whatever it takes to reclaim him.

I don’t want to say too much more about the plot here for fear of spoiling this second installment in Kirby Crow’s Mirror series. This story picks up shortly after Meridian and definitely assumes an understanding of the events that happened in that first book. I’ll admit, even having read the first one last year, I had a bit of trouble remembering all the details, particularly about the side characters. So if this story sounds appealing, be sure to check that one out first.

We knew from the way things ended in Meridian that chances were Jaegar wasn’t done with Matty. As the book opens, we see Matty and Grant are trying to settle into life together. The guys are as in love as ever, but definitely struggling with the aftermath of Jaeger’s attack. They are also facing family complications as Grant’s sister continues to dislike Matty, which leads to tension between them. And the guys are still sorting out some of the relationship elements, particularly the Dominant and submissive dynamic between them. When word comes that Jaegar is near and Matty decides to get involved with tracking him down, Grant is wary, but also understands why Matty needs to get involved.

For me this story pretty clearly divided in half. I found the first part a little on the slow end. I didn’t feel like either the romance end or the suspense end took off and we just hit the surface of both. There seemed to be a little too much focus on the day to day without delving too deeply into anything. We also spent time focused on Grant’s family dynamics, but while it was useful to see how Matty is fitting in, a lot of this seemed to take away from Matty and Grant’s time together on page. The second portion kicks up the suspense majorly and at this point, things really took off for me. Even though the suspense is at the forefront, I also felt like we really see the connection between Grant and Matty here and the growth of their relationship as well.

This story gives us the POV of both Matty and Grant, as well as Jaeger himself. I’ll admit I am not always a fan of the villain POV. It sometimes feels like a shortcut to let us know what the bad guy is thinking and can throw me out of a book. But here Jaeger is really a third main character and getting his insight and seeing his state of mind was interesting. There were some parts, again in the first part of the story, where I felt like we were getting a little too into the mundane of his daily life, just as we were with Matty and Grant. But I think particularly in the second half, it added something to the story to be in Jaeger’s head.

I’ll note here that there is one scene of dubious consent that may be disturbing to some readers (not between our MCs). Crow actually notes at the start of the chapter that this occurs, so you will be aware before you read it. I don’t think you can skip this whole chapter as two pretty significant things happen toward the end, but you can definitely skim over that scene if need be. I think Crow does a nice job with Jaeger. He is this interesting mix of smart, refined, and elegant, while also being an unrepentant killer. Jaeger has this moral code that guides him, something that he sees as somehow keeping him above the fray. But of course to everyone else, he is just a psychopath. So he is a well done villain and a worthy foe for Grant and Matty.

This story once again has a resolution to the main plot, but it does seem like there is more in store for these guys. I am curious to see where Crow will take the story from here, and I am looking forward to finding out.

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