Rating: 3.75 stars
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The only thing Miguel Conway knows is that everything has gone to hell. A straightforward undercover job has left him beaten and on the run and not knowing who on the force to trust. Fate brings him to JD’s Bar, a friendly and increasingly popular gay bar where Con finds a warm welcome and a place to lay low.
Jake Devlin knows his newest employee is running from something and, if he was smart, Jake would tell him to keep running. He’s been burned before and it nearly destroyed him. But something about Con draws Jake in and he finds himself wanting to keep Con safe, even if it means trying to keep him safe from himself.
Con knows Jake means well, but he can’t stay hidden forever. There’s a leak in his department and, with his investigation compromised, Con isn’t satisfied staying on the sidelines. Which means he’s willing to be reckless if means finding out the truth. But Jake isn’t about to let Con put himself into harms way. Two stubborn men must find a way to trust one another if they want their temporary fling to become something permanent.
End of the Line is the first in the Jake’s Bar series and it contains a cast of characters, including the main protagonists, whom I assume we’ll get to see more of going forward, including Con’s partner Holden and the rest of the bar crew. End of the Line started off strong and I found the plot initially engaging, but it ultimately struggled with pacing issues and finding its purpose.
Con and Jake are the primary focus of this book and while neither was as well developed or as emotionally deep as I prefer, they were relatively well rounded. Their connection is definitely more about lust than anything else and while the potential for a long-term relationship is hinted out, things develop far too quickly for much believability. Still, they’re an enjoyable couple and I appreciated the circumstances that brought them together and kept them there.
The basic plot here is fine: undercover cop on the run, finds love while in hiding, etc. It’s the pacing that trips things up and does so more than once. There were large periods where it seems like the story had very little forward momentum and just a lot of extraneous talking or action where nothing was actually accomplished. It read as essentially filler. Now some of this could have been laying the groundwork for future volumes and characters, but it just didn’t do much for me. I wanted there to be more depth to what I was reading or, at the very least, to have it move a smoother and more consistent pace. I was bored at times and given that the direction of the book was good, I think many of my issues came down to pacing.
End of Line started strong and certainly had an interesting premise. Unfortunately, my overall enjoyment was impacted by uneven pacing, which led to periods of sluggish action and character development. I wouldn’t say no to reading the next in the series though because I think there’s something decent here. It just needed some tweaking.