Duncan Lubov is focused on growing his security firm, finding the balance between taking on retired veterans who need work and getting enough jobs to keep them all busy. When his brother, former child star Danny Love, asks Duncan to provide security for Danny’s best friend, Duncan is torn. A-List Security needs the job, but working with rockstar Ezra Moon is not Duncan’s idea of a good time. Backed into a corner, and wanting to make his brother happy, Duncan takes the job.
Ezra was a breakout star on a teen show, which translated into a lucrative career with his band We Wear Crowns. He owes everything to his fans, and he loves them. But some of his antics have made the label balk, and they’re threatening to provide security, which will only restrict Ezra more. Duncan and his company are the perfect solution, even though Duncan was the epitome of Ezra’s teen crush and has only gotten more appealing. Though Duncan is pretty uptight and Ezra wants him to relax, he tries not to make things difficult. At least not too difficult.
The connection between the two men sparks from the start, but Duncan is resistant. Ezra pushes, but makes it clear that if Duncan asks him to back off, he will. But Duncan wants Ezra as much as Ezra wants him. A kiss leads to more, and though things are rocky at the start, they settle quickly into a friendship with benefits. Duncan is clear that he doesn’t believe in love, and especially doesn’t think it can last. His father’s antics are proof of that.
The more time they spend together, the closer they get. Ezra pushes buttons Duncan didn’t even know he had. Duncan loves caring for Ezra, which Ezra really enjoys. It’s something that he doesn’t have, as he’s always checking in with his band, crew, and fans. Ezra takes charge in bed, bossy and pushy, and Duncan never imagined he’s need that so much. The two men work on every level. But Duncan’s reputation, and that of his business, is his biggest focus, and keeping their relationship a secret is the only answer.
Ezra wants more and comes to resent Duncan’s need for secrecy. As the tour comes to a close, neither man wants things to end. But Duncan can’t let go of what would happen to his business if their relationship comes out. Both men realize that they’re better together, but they need to find a compromise if they ever expect things to last.
Hard Job is the second book in Albert’s A-List Security series, and it’s no surprise that Duncan and Ezra are the MCs. Duncan appeared in the first book and Ezra was mentioned. After reading the blurb for this story, I was excited to dive into this one, and the author didn’t disappoint. While the broad strokes of this book are somewhat formulaic, the characters are really where the story shines. The discovery, communication, and compromise these characters experience really made the book for me.
Duncan and Ezra are truly opposites. Duncan is uptight and rigid, propriety is the important thing, and after everything he’s been through—from childhood and his upbringing to his time as a Navy SEAL—it’s understandable where he’s coming from. For me, his journey was more compelling. His self-discovery of learning what he wants and, more importantly, what he needs, was really wonderful to see. And not only in bed, thought that was a large part of it. More than that, he discovered the caretaking side of him in a way he can embrace. The way Duncan was able to be his true self with Ezra was really nice, and I loved seeing him learn about himself. The more he did, the more he realized that he’s a good man, nothing like his father, and that he can have more than he thought he could. Ezra, of course, helped him learn about himself and supported him.
Ezra has had some wildness, but he’s such a good-hearted person. He truly believes he would be nowhere without his fans, and he does what he can to pay them back. Even more than that, he takes care of his bandmates and the crew. It’s clear right from the start that he loves the spotlight and attention, and is not shy about it, but that he also respects and cares for the people that got him there. He has a much more laidback attitude and is a complete contrast to Duncan. But that’s part of why they work so well together. He helps Duncan to see his true nature and, in turn, Duncan has him taking important things a little more seriously, as well as realizing that Ezra spends so much time taking care of everyone else that he needs to take time for himself too.
This is a character-driven story, as it is about two men discovering themselves and how they work together. It’s long though and, at times, I felt the pacing slowed some. The characters made it worth it though, and really made the book for me. I was drawn in because of Duncan and Ezra and couldn’t wait for them to get their happily ever after, which was wholly satisfying. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book and Harley’s story.