Rating: 4 stars
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Mickey Tamerlane is a simple man with simple needs; when he does the job you pay him for, give him his fucking money. But when Tony Luchesi, of the Luchesi mafia family, decides to stiff him, Mickey is determined to return the favor and stiff Tony. Unfortunately, someone else gets there before he does. While they cleared his path for him, the two men were kind enough to leave Tony alive, which means Mickey gets to be the one to put a bullet through his head.
And this is how Mickey “The Shadow” Tamerlane first meets Boss Cold.
Strapped for Cash is the fourth entry in the Cold Hard Cash series and details how Roderick Legrand, known as Boss Cold, takes down the Luchesi family and takes over a city. It’s also the story of Mickey, one of Cold’s gentlemen, and his relationship with Roger Lorre. It’s a story with a trail of bodies, bullets, a few grenades, and a lot of rough, violent sex. This book can be read as a standalone; it can also be read as an introduction to the Cold Hard Cash series since it is, more or less, chronologically the first book in the series.
Mickey has never had an easy life. With only his grandfather left, a grandfather who requires constant medical care, which means constant medical bills, Mickey has done just about anything that needs doing in order to get enough money to scrape by. And since Mickey is an excellent marksman, that often means — in the dark, mafia world he lives in — killing a man or two or twelve. He’s good at it, he takes pride in it, and if he’s ever had a sleepless night, it’s never over the lives he’s taken. Aside from being a killer, Mickey is also gay, something that the Luchesi family members find amusing. The crude jokes, the sneers, the long looks … he doesn’t like them, but until he meets Boss Cold, Mickey never thought he had a choice in the matter.
Boss Cold is gay. Openly and proudly, and most of his gentlemen — men and women both — tend to be either gay or bisexual. His acceptance, his support, and his trust in them ensure their absolute loyalty, and his ruthlessness ensures their obedience. Most of the time. Roger Lorre, a new addition to the family, takes a different tack than most. If there’s a button, he’ll push it. If there’s a door, he’ll open it. If there’s a grenade, he’ll take it with him (because you never know when you need a dramatic exit, right?), and considering all of Mickey’s buttons, well, Roger ends up pushing all of them in just the right order.
When they come together, it’s like fire and fuel as Roger pokes and prods until Mickey unleashes all of his anger and lust on his oh-so-wiling flesh. Roger likes it rough and violent, he enjoys the bruises, the humiliation, the pain, and the surrender. Mickey has never met anyone like him, never met anyone who wanted everything he had to give them and then still has the gall to ask for more. With Roger, Mickey finds kinks he didn’t know he had, and Roger is enthusiastic about each and every one of them.
It’s not a perfect relationship. They fight as much as they fuck, and Roger is more than willing to provoke a fight in order to get laid without caring how that leaves Mickey. Communication isn’t their strong suit, and most of the talking they do is in bed when Mickey is pouring filth into Roger’s ears as he writhes beneath him. But Roger is his first love, his first real lover. And Roger, he can’t seem to let go of Mickey. When Mickey says kneel, he does. When Mickey tells him to call him master, Roger does, gleefully. But for all that, Roger knows what he wants. He’s a willing participant; in fact he’s the one who chose Mickey, there in the filthy bathroom of the gas station they met in.
There’s a lot of sex, a lot of spanking, a lot of filthy talk and raw, aggressive sex. For fans of the series, this is a nice look behind the scenes, giving glimpses of Cold’s band of merry gentlemen murderers. It’s a fun mafia read with a fair amount of cement shoes, arson, and fun.