Dante Green is a cop…a good cop. He takes undercover assignments and he gets results. One night, Dante brings his new partner, Finn, to Smoke and Bullets, a cop/firefighter bar when he sees the one person he’s been trying to avoid for nearly ten years…his firefighter foster brother, Luke Parsons.
Luke has had feelings for Dante since he was 13 years old and he is ashamed of them. Luke is his brother for heaven’s sake. He has long since given up on Dante, realizing the reason Dante takes all those undercover assignments is to stay away from him. When he and Dante wind up in the same place and there is a colossal misunderstanding, Luke has to get a very drunk Dante out of the bar.
As they stumble along, the men witness a crime…a potential hate crime. Before they know it, they’re finding themselves on the trail of a dangerous man. Luke has his own reasons to want to catch the perpetrator and all Dante wants is to keep Luke safe. As the investigation moves on, Dante and Luke spend more time together than they have in years. Dante is finding it harder and harder to fight his feelings, and Luke is happy to wear him down. What’s going to happen if they become more than foster brothers?
I jumped on this book as soon as I read the title. I love men in uniform, and when you add the foster brother factor, Broken Protocol sounded like the perfect book.
I have to admit, after reading the first few chapters, I was becoming concerned. The story hadn’t sucked me in. In fact, I kept getting Dante and Luke mixed up and I was a little bored. I kept putting it down, walking away, and picking it back up, determined to finish because I’d committed. I’m very glad I pushed through because, soon, the action picked up. I stopped getting the men confused and I got completely caught up in the book.
Dante was difficult to get attached to, but as I continued to read, I began to understand what was going on in his heart and mind. I felt so sorry for him. He was on the streets at 12 until he was taken in by Charlie Parsons, his foster father. The feelings he developed for Luke haunted him and affected every decision he made since he left home and joined the force. Luke was a little easier to like, but as the story moved on, I started to see past his easygoing nature and realize he is just as tortured by his feelings for Dante as Dante is for him.
I don’t want to give too much of the plot away. I mean, I definitely want to, but I think you should read the book yourself in order to fully understand, not only the layers of the men’s lust and love for one another, but to see what’s going on with the case they are working together. Also, you get a look into the lives of firefighters and cops. It was all so interesting. The author obviously did a lot of research.
Dante and Luke were both well fleshed out and I felt like I really got to know them. I could physically feel the Dante’s angst and the mutual lust between the men, and believe me…there was a lot of lust. From their first night together, their encounters got deeper and more personal. They were the perfect sexual match. The scenes were extremely hot, but there was something more to them. Dante was almost desperate and Luke was more powerful than I would have imagined.
There are a few background characters I’d consider important to the story. I already mentioned Dante’s partner, Finn. Also, there were colleagues of Luke’s, Alex and Troy. They’re an established couple and they want Luke to be happy. However, they’re a little concerned about who it is that makes him that way. There are also a couple of minor characters like Charlie the foster father and both captains of the police department and fire department. None of these characters, both major and minor, get in the way. I do admit I found Finn to be a bit annoying, but he was a good foil for Dante.
I thought the mystery was nicely planned and put together. It kept my interest and its resolution was satisfying. However, it seemed to me, the case took a backseat to Dante and Luke’s budding love affair. That absolutely worked for me. I was so caught up in the men’s feelings, I could have actually done without the case altogether.
Broken Protocol was an excellent book and I highly recommend it. If you’re a fan of men in uniform, angst, explosive sex, and a good mystery, I think you’ll really enjoy it. I see A.R. Barley has more books out, and I have no doubt I’ll grab them and check them out.