Rating: 4.5 stars
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Nate Delaney has been working his hardest for his father’s law firm for the past two years in an effort to prove himself. But when a big case is won, and the partner Nate works for not only refuses to acknowledge all the work Nate did, but twist it too look like Nate is freeloading, Nate has had enough and he walks. But as he’s leaving, he’s given information that leads him to Sean Wilkinson.
Sean was in a horrific accident aboard a ship while working for an oil company. He’s lost a leg, and almost lost the other. His pseudo-father Hawk has tried to find an attorney, but has been turned down. But one meeting with Nate, and Nate assures them that not only does Sean have a case, but he’s willing to take it — with no retainer fee and only a percentage of the winnings if they win.
Nate is more competent than anyone Sean has talked to, and it quickly becomes apparent that Nate knows what he’s doing. With the motion filed, the case begins to move forward. But the company Sean worked for, CPG, keeps trying to get Sean to settle. More than that, they are trying to use intimidation to not only pressure Sean into settling, but to also get the rights to Sean’s invention. Sean is battered, bruised, and broken, but that’s nothing new, and he isn’t willing to give up.
As the case proceeds, Nate and Sean become friends. The more time they spend together, the more the attraction grows. Sean sees through Nate’s bullshit and calls him on it. More than that, Sean is real with Nate in a way he isn’t normally. Nate knows they shouldn’t act on their feelings, but the men can’t help themselves. When Sean’s life is threatened, not once, but twice, things take a turn for the worst. And when the true motives come to light, everything is so much worse than they thought. But Nate and Sean won’t go down without a fight.
As soon as I read the blurb for this one, I was quick to pick it up. I was immediately intrigued by the whole premise. The juxtaposition of the two MCs intrigued me and I wanted to see how this story worked. I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed.
Thomas has written two very engaging and dynamic characters. Nate has had a difficult, though privileged, life. He works hard for what he thinks will be his success, but he doesn’t get the support from his family he should. From his first moment on page, I was right there with him. He’s incredibly intelligent, and he does what’s right. He’s also aware of his own flaws, knowing his own short comings, even if he doesn’t always try to overcome them. I enjoyed him from the start.
And speaking of intelligence, Sean is a literal genius. He’s creative and talented, but he also holds a degree in petroleum engineering and created a new drilling process that is not only more efficient, but more environmentally friendly. He’s had a truly rough life, and he’s snarky and sarcastic and doesn’t have a filter. He’s got a work ethic to be admired. Sean is one of my favorite characters I’ve ever read, as he’s such a layered and seeming contradiction. But underneath it all, he has a good heart. I adored both the MCs.
The chemistry between Nate and Sean was so very good. From the moment they met, there was something there. And the more they talked, with how patient Nate was, and then how Sean slowly and surely let him in, I was engaged and involved in their relationship. I will say, however, that I felt I was missing a little bit on the romance end of things. As good as these guys were, as much as the tension built between them and the hurdles they had to get over, I would have liked to see more of their romance once they got to a good place. Now, there was a whole lot going on in the suspense portion of the storyline, so the lack of sexual encounters made sense in the latter portion of the book. However, I still wanted to see more of their affection and connection than I did toward the end.
Tattoos also play a pretty large role in the book, and I loved not only the sensuality of it, but the thought and meaning behind it. I don’t want to give too much away here, but I thought this whole part really added something meaningful and extra to the story.
So while Sean and Nate are falling in love, there’s this whole storyline revolving around Sean’s accident, the lawsuit, and what exactly is going on at CPG. This part of the story was really well done. There’s a lot of technical speak when Sean explains what he did for CPG that showcases his intelligence. Laws and court proceedings are a focus as well. What I really appreciated was that neither of these things took over the plot and read as realistic. Too often, especially when laws, lawyers, and court cases are involved, books read too sensationalized to be real. That’s not the case here. While those aspects are a big part of the book, the story is woven in such a way that everything feels true to reality. Not only that, but there’s a suspense element as well, as Sean’s life is threatened and there are dangerous players at work. I figured out who the bad guy was pretty early on, but I had no idea why or how, and it was really well done. In the end, I found it incredibly satisfying.
This one is an easy recommendation for me. The characters, MCs and secondary alike, really shine and drive the plot. The writing was smooth and vibrant, really giving a great sense of place and the plot was well paced. This story has a lot of layers, and I definitely enjoyed it.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.
This sounds excellent, Kris. Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention.
I’m in the middle of reading the book now and really enjoying it. Thanks once again, Kris.