Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Ambrose Sterling is a beloved producer for a popular primetime show. He also has panic disorder, so he keeps his dog, a Chinese crested named Hercules, with him at all times. With the show being a target for protesters, the production team has A-List Security on site for shoots. Ambrose likes the way the security team works, and he is especially fond of Harley Burton, who heads the team. When Ambrose is attacked, Harley comes to his rescue, and their friendship grows in the aftermath.

Harley feels protective of Ambrose, more than he normally would with a client. And Harley doesn’t really understand why. It’s taken him time, but he’s finally understanding his own sexuality. Harley isn’t straight, but pan. And Ambrose definitely has appeal. It’s the only answer Harley can come up with when he agrees to be Ambrose’s date to Ambrose’s niece’s wedding. Fake date that is, as he’s really there to be Ambrose’s unobtrusive bodyguard.

But with each passing day, the men grow closer. Friends first, but then more. The attraction between them is undeniable, but Harley doesn’t do relationships. He never has. Though they engage in sexual activities, and feelings are getting involved, they both try to keep it from going too deep. There is not doubt these two men are perfect for each other, but it’ll take some time for them both to work out how to make it work. And when an obstacle presents itself, it might just be enough to tear them apart, unless they can honestly communicate their feelings.

Bad Deal is the third book in Albert’s A-List Security series, and they all work well as standalones, though there is a little something extra having read them in order. The MCs from the first two books are secondary characters here, and it’s nice to know their love stories beforehand. It also sets up the characters who will appear in the next book. But that being said, it’s not strictly necessary to have read them in order to enjoy this one.

Harley has played a secondary role in previous books, and it was really nice to see him getting his love story here. Especially since he gets a little comeuppance considering the way he treated his business partners in the past when they fell in love. All of that is explained though. This book is told in alternating first person POV, so Harley’s thoughts and feelings are really well laid out. He goes on such a journey here. First, accepting and acknowledging his sexuality, then as he does the same with his feelings about Ambrose and sex in general. I enjoyed watching him go through the process and really become settled in his skin and in his relationship.

Ambrose was endearing to me from the first page, and that’s probably because I related to him and his mental health on a personal level. He’s had a tough time, but he’s put in the work, and he’s in a much better place when the book starts. We get to see glimpses of his struggles, and I loved the way his mind worked. And even though I too think a Chinese Crested is ugly/cute, I loved that he had Hercules and emotional support he got from the dog. The connection between the two MCs sparks and sizzles from the start, and only grows deeper and hotter as their feelings get involved.

What I really loved here was the open communication these two MCs had. It’s not always perfect, and Harley’s especially struggles with it. But they take a lot of time to talk throughout the book, which really made me happy. I will say here that the crux of the dark moment was miscommunication. However, it only lasts one day before both men realize they were falling back on their own insecurities and didn’t communicate well. As a reader who is not a fan of the “Big Mis” I was glad it didn’t last long and that these two talked it out well, finding a solution that worked for them both.

If you’re a fan of Albert’s books, and have read many of them, you’ll find a bunch of fun Easter eggs peppered throughout this book. I found this incredibly delightful, and it’s something I really enjoy seeing in books. If you haven’t read other books, there’s nothing that detracts from the overall story. But you if you have, then you get an extra treat recognizing some familiar places, people, and things. There’s also a 1978 T top Corvette that had my car loving heart happy. These two things raised the bar on the story for me even more.

Out of all of the books in the series, this one is my favorite so far. I really liked both of these characters and their journey. Their love is lovely, and I enjoyed the way their relationship evolved. Add in the extra bits, and this story is an easy recommendation from me.

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