On the outside, Bastian Valdian is the epitome of calm, cool, and collected, while managing unbelievable stress on the inside. Running the family business weighs heavily on him and it doesn’t help that his Lifemate, Kain, has rejected him. Truthfully, Bastian is barely holding it all together and when those close to him begin to turn up dead, he has no choice but to accept help from Kain.
Kain all but ran away from Bastian once, too wrapped up in a painful past to consider a possible future with the man destined to be his mate. He’s never stopped thinking about Bastian though and when the man is threatened, Kain is able to serve as a bodyguard. Keeping things professional with Bastian isn’t possible and their powerful connection quickly heats up. But with a killer on the loose, Kain and Bastian must find a way to heal their past hurts and stop a dangerous enemy.
The Slayer and the Spy is the second in the Hunter X Slayer series following The Hunter and the Cultist. These do have to be read in order, as events from the first book have direct bearing on this one. I wasn’t a fan of The Hunter and the Cultist, but wanted to give the series a chance to find its footing in the hopes it might improve. Unfortunately, that did not happen. If anything, The Slayer and the Spy is more chaotic and exhausting than the first book.
Bastian, who was a rather interesting secondary character from The Hunter and the Cultist, takes center stage here. He deals with anxiety and since Kain’s initial abandonment that has worsened. So it’s easy to be sympathetic towards him. Bastian uses corset wear and Daddy/Little play to help manage his anxiety and here’s where the problems start. Instead of reading as an integrated aspect of Bastian’s personality, these traits feel tacked on and awkward. The Daddy/Little interactions especially don’t work and end up reading as a kink thrown in haphazardly and without much consideration.
The plot here, as with the first book, borders on chaotic. The action moves too quickly and there isn’t a great deal of plot development that takes place. As a result, Kain and Bastian are dumped in one scenario and then pulled to another without ever giving these characters real time to connect or grow either as individuals or as a couple. As before, there are more adoptions that happen far too quickly and the creation of an insta-family that just doesn’t work. And the capitalizations are back. The excessive capitalizations of things that simply don’t need them, like Alpha Body and Safe House. It’s unnecessary and annoyingly distracting to the point it pulled me out of the narrative on more than one occasion.
I wanted to give The Slayer and The Spy a chance to improve upon some of the issues from The Hunter and The Cultist. But instead, it seemed to enhance the irksome plot problems and still lacked vibrant characters. I just couldn’t connect with this one despite my best efforts and I’d have to recommend giving it a pass.