love in spadesRating: 4.25 stars
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Length: Novel

Anston “Ace” Sharpe is one of the Four Kings, a group of ex-special forces soldiers who founded a high end security company. Four Kings Security is known throughout Florida as the best team out there, so when Colton Connolly, the son of Connolly Maritime’s owner and the corporate heir, is threatened, the Kings are called in.

Colton’s father may think hiring security, including a full-time bodyguard, is necessary, but Colton certainly does not. Yet his father refuses to back down, so Colton reluctantly agrees. That doesn’t mean he is going to make it easy for Ace, who drives him crazy–and not always in a good way. Yet the attraction that simmers between Colton and Ace from the start continues to grow the more time they spend together. And despite the rocky start, the men begin to really get along well and enjoy each other’s company. In fact, they are having trouble keeping their hands off each other. But Ace knows getting involved with a client is a very bad idea. Not only does it put their contract with Connolly Maritime in jeopardy, it also breaks the trust he has with his fellow kings, men who are like brothers. Yet staying away from Colton feels impossible. Now Colton and Ace must decide if it is worth the risk to Ace’s job and friendships to be together. And even more, they must work to stay one step ahead of those who are after Colton.

Hurray! A new series by Charlie Cochet is always cause to be excited and Love in Spades is a great start to her new Four Kings Security series. The series centers around this elite security agency and the four men who are the “kings,” a group of best friends and almost brothers who served in the military together. It is an ultra elite agency and I loved the details about all the crazy high-tech vehicles and security measures they take. It gave a little boost to a common romance trope that I enjoyed. Sometimes things are a bit over the top, and honestly the way every person they meet knows of their company and is in awe of the men felt sort of unrealistic. But overall, I liked the set up with these guys at the lead. We get enough information here about the group as a whole and things that happened in their past to give a solid foundation, but also we get left with things to be explored in future books. And each of these characters is intriguing, giving us a great set up for their stories.

Ace and Colton have a nice enemies to lovers vibe at the start that I really enjoyed. It isn’t so much that Colton dislikes Ace specifically, but he is not happy with the fact that he has a bodyguard and so he is intentionally being kind of a pain in the ass. I liked the chemistry and the banter between these guys and we settle nicely from adversaries, to friends, to lovers. Ace and Colton are sexy together and there is a nice sense of connection. I also appreciated that the book takes seriously the fact that Ace is on the job as Colton’s bodyguard, and so getting involved with a client has some real repercussions. Given how common the bodyguard trope is, I seldom see more than a cursory acknowledgement of this issue in most books. That said, once these guys get together, it does seem like Ace sort of forgets he is supposed to be guarding Colton and becomes more of a boyfriend, despite the fact that Colton’s life is still in danger and that they are supposed to be keeping things on the major down low. They are having sex with the other guards in the house, napping and having sex in the hotel where Ace is supposed to be guarding Colton’s life, and Ace is bringing Colton and his friends drinks at a party instead of watching over him. So I did kind of feel this aspect played a little loose given how seriously they were supposedly taking this issue.

The only other area I think fell somewhat short here is the actual case itself. We are told at the very start that Colton is getting threats, and we see throughout how intensely the guys are taking security (with some exceptions noted above). Yet after the threats are introduced and Four Kings is brought onboard, nothing at all happens on the case for virtually the entire book. No more threats, no real investigation (at least none that we see or hear on page), and no sense of suspense. It is not until the very end when suddenly the threat pops back up and there are some suspenseful moments as the bad guys surface. So while personally I felt like I knew from early on who was likely behind it all, there is no chance to play along and follow the investigation here or any real sense of suspense in the book. The whole thing is just really backburnered from most of the story.

That said, I did really enjoy this one and found it a great start to the new series. I liked Colton and Ace and really liked the series set up. I am intrigued by all of the Kings and looking forward to their books. So I can definitely recommend this one, particularly if you are a fan of Cochet’s writing or if you like sexy bodyguards with cool toys.

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