bad habits coverRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

After escaping an abusive home at age 16, Caspian was saved from life on the streets when he was taken in by assassin, Jonah. However, while Caspian was attracted to Jonah, Jonah’s feelings were never more than friendship. So when Caspian turned 18, he took off and has made a name for himself as a black hat computer hacker. However, when Caspian gets into a dangerous situation, completing a job only to end up with a price on his head, he can’t help but return to Jonah.

Jonah is mostly a loner, but the one person for whom he has long had a soft spot is Caspian. When the man left, Jonah did all he could to track him down, but now seven years later, Caspian has returned to his life. Now Caspian is not the teenager Jonah helped protect, but a gorgeous man Jonah can’t help but want. Caspian is clear that he wants Jonah in return, and the men find themselves acting on their fierce attraction to one another.

But there is still a price on Caspian’s head and he has information someone wants desperately. Caspian is determined to unravel the meaning behind the list of names he has uncovered and figure out why the bad guys are after him. And Jonah is equally determined to do whatever it takes to keep Caspian safe. But the secrets Caspian is holding are bigger than either of them imagined, and it is going to take all of their skills to make it out alive.

Bad Habits kicks off a new series by Onley James and Neve Wilder. I have enjoyed books from both authors, but have only read more traditional contemporary stories from them. So I was really curious to both see how this writing partnership went, as well as to check out their foray into romantic suspense. And I will say, I totally loved this one. It is super sexy and romantic, but also with a nice suspense plot.

On the relationship end, things move fairly quickly once the men reconnect. It worked just fine considering Caspian and Jonah had such a close connection when living together, so this was really a chance for Jonah to realize that he is seeing Caspian in a new light, and for Caspian to act on his long attraction. The men are super steamy together and this story is definitely very hot. There is a raw intensity between them in the bedroom that I really enjoyed. The authors also do a nice job giving a power balance here that fits their new dynamic. Caspian may have started out as a ward of sorts to Jonah, but now he is definitely capable of standing on his own and taking care of himself, as well as standing up for what he wants. I think that is really important in order for them to make that transition from their old relationship to their new one.

This is probably obvious from the set up, but I’ll note here that these guys are definitely criminals and totally unrepentant. Jonah notes a time or two about how he has taken down some bad guys who deserve it, but there is no attempt here to soften either man’s criminal activity by making him a Robin Hood type character. Jonah kills because that is what he knows and he is good at it. Caspian is a hacker because he loves it. Both of them take money from bad people and do things that hurt people. It is to the authors’ credit that I adored both of Jonah and Caspian despite that. They both have such hard spiky edges, but such a tenderness with each other (I am a sucker for the hard outside, soft inside!). Either man would kill for (or die for) the other and their passion for each other really comes through well.

The suspense side of the story carries throughout as Caspian gets himself in the middle of some serious trouble and ends up with a price on his head for the information he managed to grab as he was fleeing for his life. So we follow along here as the guys try to figure out the significance of this list of names Caspian has found, and then how to handle it once they learn what is going on. Both men are pretty much loners, but we do meet some of the few people they hold close — or at least those with whom have mutual understandings and a tentative agreement not to kill each other. There are some definite high excitement moments here and I found the suspense side of things interesting and fun.

My one real note here is that I wished for a little more backstory on both men. We do get mentions in passing of some of their history, but I felt like more was alluded to that we really didn’t learn about in detail. So I wanted just a bit more here.

Overall, I really adored Jonah and Caspian and enjoyed this story quite a lot. It sounds like the upcoming books in the series will follow other couples, but hopefully this won’t be the last we see of this pair. If you are looking for these authors’ trademark steam, plus a nice dose of suspense, this story is definitely worth checking out.

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