Rating: 4 stars
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Cho “Brick” Brixton works from home and lives a pretty quiet life. He enjoys cooking and chatting about soapy dramas with his mom. But he is also lonely and would love a chance to have a real relationship, as he is over the hook-up scene. When Brick spots a hot man in what used to be an empty apartment across the way, he is intrigued — less so when the guy’s moving truck destroys Brick’s lawn. But it does give Brick an excuse to meet Jules Price and, while the man is kind of intimidating, he makes up for it in charm and attractiveness.
Brick takes a chance and invites Jules over for dinner when he indicates how much he likes Korean food (Brick’s speciality). But things are complicated, as Jules has a mysterious job that he can’t tell Brick too much about. When someone breaks into Brick’s house looking for Jules, however, Brick is determined to learn the truth. He is not prepared to find out that Jules is part of a notorious crime family. A rival group has stolen something from Jules’ family and he is here in town to get it back.
Part of Brick knows getting involved with a criminal is a bad idea, especially one involved in organized crime. But despite being a dangerous man, Jules is sweet and doting with Brick. And while Jules has never been with a man before, he is eager to explore things with Brick, including a Daddy/boy dynamic. Brick finds Jules gives him everything he could want in a man, so much so that he can look past all the murder and mayhem. But Jules came into town to do a job and it is a dangerous one. Now that Brick has found his new love, he must hope that Jules makes it through the ordeal alive.
Cash is part of the Ruthless Daddies multi-author collection, but the stories are designed to stand alone and I had no problem jumping in here. However, I will note that this book loosely connects to Hiers’ Cold Hard Cash series, as Jules is Cold’s “brother” and they are part of the same crime family. Cold and Jimmy do make a brief cameo here, and I assume that some of the side characters cross over a bit, but again, I was able to jump into this story without having read that series with no problem.
This is a fun twist on a Daddy/boy dynamic as Brick is not your typical lithe, twinky boy. They call him Brick for a reason, and he is a tall and bulky guy. Of course, Jules is even taller and bulkier, something that Brick loves. He is not used to feeling small and protected given his size, so Jules basically being a giant allows him to have the dynamic he loves. But Brick is a tough guy in his own right and he holds his own. When things get dicey with the bad guys, Brick fights hard and is pretty badass for someone who has never seen this criminal world. And while he loves to be a boy in the bedroom, he stands his ground with Jules in the rest of their relationship.
Jules has never been with a guy before, but he is into Brick and that is enough for him. He isn’t a man who second guesses much about himself and he easily and quickly accepts that he is into a man for the first time and is enthusiastic about getting down with Brick. This book is pretty sex heavy, but not over the top, and there is enough story here to carry things. I particularly liked that we get to see some of Brick’s Korean heritage (his mom was born there and came to the U.S. when she married his dad). Brick loves to cook and there is lots of Korean food porn here as he makes delicious things for Jules. We also see some of his customs, like having everyone remove their shoes and wear slippers in the house. So a bit of diversity woven in here as well.
The major hurdle these guys face in what is mostly a smooth relationship dynamic is the fact that Jules is in the mafia and involved in lots of criminal activity. Brick accepts it all pretty easily. He does have some crises of conscience now and then, but he is mostly willing to overlook what Jules does as long as he doesn’t see it, especially because Jules is so sweet and doting with him. Hiers doesn’t sugarcoat what Jules is up to, but at the same time, most of his encounters are with guys worse than him, so it is easy for the reader to root for Jules. A lot of the violence he and his family are initiating also happens off page, which helps it all go down a bit easier. But again, this collection is called Ruthless Daddies for a reason, so expect plenty of morally gray here.
Overall, I found this one fun and engaging. I really like Hiers’ writing and am always taking a second look when the author comes out with a new book. If you like Daddy/boy romances, particularly with a darker twist, this one is worth checking out.