Private investigator Shane Stephens has been hired by the mayor of Cincinnati to uncover the hacker that is threatening him and his re-election campaign. To help with the IT side of the investigation, Shane brings in Quinn Lake, a top IT guy from Ward Security. Quinn is comfortable at Ward, with both the people and his routines, so he isn’t so thrilled to be loaned out on Shane’s case for the month. He also knows stopping a hacker is much easier than actually catching one. But his boss really wants him to take the assignment so Quinn agrees to help out.
Once they begin working together, Quinn realizes that he really likes Shane and there is definitely an attraction between them. Though Quinn doesn’t normally have much of a sex life, when Shane suggests some casual fun while they are on the assignment together, Quinn is happy for the chance to get together with the sexy Shane. The chemistry between the guys is great in the bedroom, but both are surprised they are feeling more outside it as well as they get to know each other better.
As the case heats up, things take a turn that neither man anticipates. Suddenly Shane and Quinn find themselves digging into unexpected aspects of the case as they try to find out who is behind the hacking and stay one step ahead of a killer. And if they manage to make it out alive, they must figure out if there is any way to take their casual fling to the relationship both men are beginning to want.
Dantès Unglued is the second book in Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliot’s Ward Security series. The books in this series focus on the Ward Security agency and their staff, and share a world with the authors’ Unbreakable Bonds series. Geoffrey from Psycho Romeo (book 1) appears here very briefly and many of the guys from Unbreakable Bonds pop in as well. So if you have read those other books, you will likely appreciate the cameos, but from a story perspective, this book stands alone just fine.
What I enjoyed most about this story is the hacking case that Quinn and Shane are working on. It is clever and takes an interesting turn that brings the case in new and unexpected directions, which I liked quite a lot. The suspense plays out well over the course of the book, keeping things interesting throughout the story. It would have been fun to see Quinn’s super hacker skills at work a bit more, but overall I found the suspense end of the story to be well done.
For me the relationship between Quinn and Shane was a little flatter. I think we get a nice sense of both of these men personally, and I liked the way the men care for and look out for one another. However, for men who were supposed to be drawn together for their sexual connection, I don’t feel the chemistry quite as much as I would have liked (though they have lots of sexual encounters so there is plenty of heat here). The book gives a lot of focus to their relationship, but the conflict between them felt somewhat vaguely defined. I was never clear why there was this one-month only timeline on things, or why both men were assuming the other wasn’t interested in more. Or honestly why after only two weeks together Shane, who has never wanted a relationship or anything serious, is suddenly ready for monogamy and commitment with Quinn. It just seemed a little like conflict for its own sake, rather than being really developed in the story.
That said, I am definitely enjoying this series and like the peeks we are getting into other folks who work at Ward Security. There are a lot of interesting characters here and I am really looking forward to seeing where the series goes from here. So this was another enjoyable installment in what is shaping up to be a fun suspense series.