Emery Hazard and John-Henry Somerset have been through so much and are still standing. They are finally engaged and living together, and this should be a fun time for them planning their wedding. But Somers’ father, Glenn, who is running for mayor, is causing ripples in their life once again.
Glenn is being blackmailed and he not only wants Hazard to deal with it, he wants Somers to temporarily move out of the home he shares with Hazard. The men both owe Glenn a “favor” and while Hazard is vehemently opposed, Somers reluctantly agrees.
But the men don’t work well when they are not together and a new cycle of rage and jealousy slips through the foundation of their relationship. Meanwhile, Hazard is working a missing person’s case and soon that turns into solving a murder. Small town secrets and politics are never far from Hazard and Somerset’s lives, and the men have to work together despite the unrest in their relationship.
This is definitely top of my list for one of the best Hazard and Somerset books. There are a lot of books to choose from starring these men and for Ashe to keep the momentum going with detailed and in-depth character development sets this series apart. It’s Hazard and Somers that drives this series for me, and this book devoted more personal time with them. The fracture in their relationship happens early on as Somers agrees to temporarily move out. For as stoic and emotionally unavailable as Hazard is most of the time, he is a complete wreck. For as much as Hazard and Somers truly love each other, they can hurt each other every day and the cuts they inflict on each other run deep.
Hazard and Somers get pulled into more town politics as Somers’ father runs for mayor and they become the town gossip. Hazard is trying to drown some of it out and get his PI business going, which sets him on a case of a missing woman that is somewhat familiar to him. Ashe keeps the intrigue and the tension high with this case as he crosses it over with their personal lives and made a long book intense and difficult to put down.
Hazard still has unchecked PTSD and has still fits of rage that are not dealt with and he keeps getting passes for his behavior and it will need to be dealt with at some point. Hazard is also dealing with the declining health of his father, which further adds stress to himself and then how he interacts with Somers. There is no end to the pain these guys can put each other through and there is also no end to what the men have to deal with on a daily basis between the small town gossip and the dirty deals and crime they encounter and, at times, it makes you wonder why they stay.
But in the end, whether Hazard likes it or not, he and Somers have created a found, if unlikely, family with the neighbors and Dulac, Niko, and Mitchell. And speaking of Mitchell, the Keeper of Bees is still out there and since the next book in the series has that title, the killer will no longer be content in the background.
Once again, the wrap up is perfect for Hazard and Somerset and Ashe brings levity to the ending that left me with a smile and given all that happens to these men, it is yet one more incredible feat he manages to infuse into this series. If you have not read this series, I would not recommend starting here, but I would absolutely recommend getting caught up so Wayward can be next on your TBR.