Rating: 2.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Short Story

Officer Harvey Kent is good at what he does. No, that’s not quite right … Harvey is the best at what he does. Working with computers, he’s able to uncover the secrets people think to keep hidden. Today, for the first time in a long time, Harvey has been called away from the office, from the safety of his electronic empire, to the home of a family whose son has gone missing.

For Alan Todd, when he sees Harvey it’s love at first sight. When the ex-marine turned bodyguard gets one good look at the bespectacled computer tech, he falls and falls hard. Something about the smaller man appeals to Alan, and when it seems that whoever kidnapped Harry has secrets they want to keep well hidden and will stop at nothing to keep Harvey from bringing them to light, Alan has no choice but to sidle up close to Harvey and keep him from harm.

Harvey lives in an ivory tower with locks and bolts made of computer keyboards and monitors. He’s neither modest nor shy about how good he is, and he makes no effort whatsoever to make friends with his fellow officers. Perhaps it stems from an unwillingness to be vulnerable around other people, or perhaps it’s because they all see him as a bit of a freak, commenting on how emotionless or robotic he is, that keeps him from exerting himself in socializing with them.

Alan, like Harvey, lost his parents at an early age. Raised by his aunt and uncle, who are therapists, he grew up in a more open household and, for all that he is an ex-Marine and bodyguard, he’s much more in touch with his emotions than others might expect. He wants to touch Harvey, not just in the flesh, but in the heart, to find some connection with the man behind the facade.

Alan may see Harvey as something fragile, something shy and hesitant and needing of protection, but Harvey is far from the demure figure Alan paints him as. He’s bold, he’s determined, and being reserved doesn’t make him shy — as he easily proves by being the one to make the first mood and invite Alan to sleep with him.

Normally, I’m all in for the academic meets the athlete stories, but this one really didn’t work for me on any level. First, the justification for Alan going home with Harvey as his bodyguard was a bit on the feeble side. Harvey’s a cop in an active investigation; if he’s in danger, why not assign him another cop or two to keep an eye on him? Why the grieving mother’s own bodyguard? But, this is a romance story and, as such, details are meant to be waved aside so we can focus on the characters and the story.

But then we get into the story. That first moment where the two of them are getting to know one another, rather than a conversation or some heated looks, I get the brush off. “Tell me about yourself,” says character one. “Okay,” says character two … and then it’s a new chapter and hours have passed and I, the reader, have no idea what was said, how it was said, or how the conversation shaped the understanding or relationship of the two characters. Love at first sight is fine, but I hate when stories tell me characters had a meaningful conversation without the author actually writing it down.

Likewise, a scene where two characters are watching a video — important enough that the original was edited so the cops wouldn’t be able to see it, and one assumes it’s crucial to the plot — but rather than being shown (or told) what’s on the tape, I get to read the two characters chatting about it, and doing so in such a way I have no idea exactly what’s going on. The husband is cheating with some strange man, but is he the one also fucking the staff? Or is the household staff fucking the mystery man on the tape? And what does this have to do with anything? It’s clumsy, and I kept getting taken out of the story by these technical issues of trying to understand what’s written, or realizing I have to do half the writing in my own head because there isn’t enough on paper to fill in the blanks.

I don’t mind a story that focuses on the characters over the plot, but this book gave us no real plot at all — with the kidnapped child and the dubious actions of the men on the tape showing up, excusing some actions, and then vanishing — and skimped on the characters so much so that I found it hard to even write a summary longer than a few sentences. Personally, this is a complete miss for me and I don’t think it’s worth the read.

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