Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: 
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Length: Novel

Assistant U.S. District Attorney Dominic Price and FBI agent Cameron Byrne have been dancing around their attraction to one another for a while now. The men have been holding back for a couple of reasons. First off, they are involved in a case together and second, the guys have mutual friends, which is leading to some complication. However, Nic and Cam shared a kiss a while back that neither can get out of their mind, and both know it is likely only a matter of time before they act further on their attraction.

In the meantime, the guys are trying to stop the theft of some priceless artifacts. Things should go smoothly, but nothing quite goes to plan, and soon Cam finds himself undercover and in a dangerous situation. Nic knows Cam is great at his job, but he can’t help worrying for the man he is growing to care for so deeply, especially as Cam is facing some demons from his past. On Nic’s end, he has issues from his own past to deal with as some of his father’s shady dealings start to become his problem to resolve and he is facing multiple attempts on his life.

Nic and Cam can no longer hold back on what they feel for one another and are ready to act on their attraction. But between their case, death threats, past demons, and secrets they aren’t ready to reveal, both men have a lot to work through before they can be together.

Imperial Stout is the first book in Layla Reyne’s new Trouble Brewing series, focused on two side characters from her fabulous Agents Irish and Whiskey series. I absolutely love that first series and so I was thrilled to see that Reyne was spinning off Cam and Nic into a series of their own. While these guys are new MCs and you could technically read this as a standalone, I think you will appreciate this book much more if you are familiar with Irish and Whiskey as the major players from that series all appear here in side roles. While their background and relationship to Nic and Cam are explained, it is nice to have that framework of their personalities and backstories here.

Reyne is so fabulous at romantic suspense and I think she really demonstrates that here. The investigation is fast paced and exciting. I found it complex enough to keep me engaged, but not so overwhelming that I couldn’t follow the intricacies of what is going on. Things come together in very clever ways and I found this aspect of the story so well done. Adding in what is going with Cam and his father, and this book is full of excitement and suspense.

I think it is important to note here that Imperial Stout is the first of a planned trilogy featuring Cam and Nic, and as such, there are things introduced here that aren’t fully resolved in this book. The main case the guys are working does get a solid conclusion, but we are still in the midst of what is happening with Nic and his father and it is clearly going to play a big role going forward in the series. Both guys also have some secrets in their past that are alluded to here, but aren’t yet fully developed. So things aren’t all wrapped up in a tidy bow here, but Reyne does a really nice job giving us resolution to the main story, while planting seeds for events to come further along.

The same holds true for the relationship between Cam and Nic. Things develop fairly slowly between them here as the major focus is on their investigation. We do reach the point where the guys act on their attraction and are clearly working toward more, but this is definitely just the beginning of things for them. I love these guys together and find them a great fit, so I am really excited to follow along and see where things go. I’ll also mention that if you want to see that first kiss the guys mention, Reyne has a free short called Blended Whiskey that features Aidan and Jamie’s wedding and Nic and Cam’s kiss. You can grab it by signing up for her newsletter here. It is a very short story, but it is a nice bridge between the two series.

So I am really excited about this upcoming series and really enjoyed this first installment. If you are a fan of Agents Irish and Whiskey, I think you are going to find a lot of that same great romantic suspense here. And if you are new to Reyne’s work, I can recommend both this book and the original series.

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