Rating: 3.75 stars
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Alpha tiger shifter Issac Gray left his job on the Stock Exchange after burning out, and has instead taken a job with an old friend in security. His first job is to babysit omega pop star, Jesse Steele. He expects an entitled diva, but Jesse is nothing like he imagined. Jesse is sweet and endearing, not to mention incredibly talented. There are no threats against him, but Isaac is there to keep him safe throughout his month-long tour. And especially to keep any interested alphas away.
Jesse knows why his father, who is also his manager, has hired Isaac. Jesse’s father, Austin Steele, was once a popular and undeniable star. Until he got pregnant with Jesse and he was crucified in the press. Jesse knows his father sees him only as a rising star, as a way to make money, and a way for Austin to redeem his lost fame. But Jesse loves making music, even if it’s only the music the label wants him to make. His fans are his sunshine, and he’s willing to do what it takes. Isaac is there to keep him chaste, as well as safe, and Jesse will deal with that.
But neither man expects the connection with the other, and as the tour gets underway, and Isaac takes care of Jesse in multiple ways, the two men grow closer. It isn’t long before things become intimate and the two quickly fall in love. They have to keep it a secret until the tour is over though, or else Isaac will be fired and they’ll be kept apart.
When one of Jesse’s fans turns possessive, everyone is on edge. It’s not threatening, exactly, but Isaac and Jesse seem to be the only ones that are actually worried. Before long, things escalate, and Isaac does his best to investigate. When things take a turn for the worst, Isaac will stop at nothing to save Jesse.
Secretly Mine is the first in a new series by Davison, and as soon as I read the blurb, I was intrigued. While I loved the characters, I had some bigger questions and problems that brought down my enjoyment. The trilogy of stories appear to be about the same couple, so while this book ends in a very solid HFN, it looks like we’ll be getting more of Isaac and Jesse as they navigate their life together.
I think the author did a great job of creating wonderfully likable characters. And even some not so likeable ones. Isaac and Jesse click well from the start, and it’s easy to see why these two men would fall for each other. Isaac has a good head on his shoulders, not to mention he is a powerful alpha in his own right, and takes his responsibility seriously even before he starts to fall for Jesse. And Jesse, for all that he’s young, he’s not naive. He knows what’s going on with his label and with his father, and chalks it up as the price of doing business. He’s putting in the work to get to the next phase, so he can get better deals. He’s also the sweetest, most adorable guy, which to be honest, was compounded for me by the fact that he was a monkey shifter as well.
So I really liked the MCs and their chemistry, and even though it moves quickly into love and planning a future, I was on board with it. Isaac and Jesse work well together from the start, and I had no issues with the speedy development of their romance. Other important plot points, however, were absolutely a sticking point for me. The world building was a lackluster, and I had to rely on outside knowledge and my own imagination to fill in the blanks. While that’s not always a bad thing, it does bring down the enjoyment for me. Not to mention, throughout the book, there was not one mention of any other gender other than male. But I don’t know if that was because there were only males in Jesse and Isaac’s sphere or if because, like some omegaverse worlds, there are only males. Likewise, there was only the bare minimum explanation about the way shifting works (but at least there was on page shifting!). These sorts of questions niggled in my brain, but since these kinds of stories are so prevalent and I was able to fill in some blanks, it was easier to let this go.
However, there were other aspects of the plot that relied heavily on my suspension of disbelief, and it didn’t quite work for me. In particular, two plot points worked against the story for me in this regard. The first was Austin Steele as a whole, but in particular, that one conversation Jesse has with him has him reevaluating everything and then fixing it just as quickly. It was absolutely not believable, even though I would like it to be that easy in real life.
The second point was that this was Isaac’s first job in personal protection, and when Jesse turns out to have a stalker, Isaac is not only kept on the job despite his own admission he doesn’t know much, but that he’s left to investigate practically on his own, when he repeatedly says he has no experience in investigation. It sets up what ultimately happens with Jesse’s stalker, and there’s even a very obvious red herring thrown in, but it’s weak and painfully obvious through the whole scenario. For me, this was the hardest part to accept, and I found myself losing interest for much of this section. It didn’t work for me and brought things down for me.
Overall, I liked the characters and I liked watching them fall in love. Despite my issues with this book, the story is sweet and solid overall. But for me, the couple of unbelievable plot points really lowered my enjoyment of the story as a whole.