Jay is a wanted man, as he’s been a thief for the last few years. He travels around the solar system avoiding capture, but he’s content to stay put for the next few weeks and flirt with the cute waiter at the diner. Bryce has been flirting back and Jay is certain it won’t be long until he can truly make his move, but then Bryce will barely speak to him and Jay is determined to get the man’s attention once again.
Jay visits Bryce every chance he can get, but then the diner explodes and he and Bryce must escape kidnappers. Then, while making an escape on his ship, Jay doesn’t expect to be taken in by a spy agency, nor he does he expect the real reason Bryce stopped giving him attention. Jay is about to revisit his past so he can move forward with a future.
The beginning of Return to Duty seemed to set up an interesting story of galactic space travel and a thief named Jay. He’s a wanted man and he’s laying low on one of the moons and enjoying a flirtation with a waiter named Bryce. Bryce intrigues Jay from the start and he really wants to get to know the man better. But not everything is at seems.
The book then took a sharp turn for me and there were many things I found to be unclear. There is no world building in this book. We know that Jay is in space and names of fictious planets and moons are mentioned as if the names were common knowledge. Different groups of people are also introduced in the same manner and that also wasn’t clear. I really didn’t know if these people were supposed to be considered human or aliens or how this society even worked. Jay and Bryce then witness a kidnapping and they know the man that is kidnapped, and they are supposed to be afraid of the kidnapped man and his family, and of the kidnappers as well, but it really wasn’t clear why.
Jay and Bryce are then in the middle of a mission to save the kidnapped man. We learn about Jay and about Bryce and a deal is struck while the men are battling the attraction we are told they have to each other. The attraction was more evident in the beginning before they got together, but there wasn’t much of a spark to be felt between them as the story progressed.
The mission then seemed oversimplified as the men take down the kidnappers and figure out a relationship between the two of them, while dissecting Jay’s past traumas. This is a shorter novel and the sci-fi world was not built out here enough for me, the mission was too basic, and the relationship lacked chemistry. This is not a sci-fi book that I can easily recommend.