day of judgment coverRating: 4.25 stars
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Length: Novel

 

FBI Agent Maddox Doherty and his partner have been sent to Las Vegas to investigate what appears to be an unrelated set of murders. The only link they can find is to a man named Ackerly “Ace” Reynolds, and while they have no evidence against Ace, the agents want to see what they can shake loose. But Maddox is totally unprepared when he meets Ace and not only realizes the man has a husband no one knew about, but also that Maddox is also incredibly drawn to both men.

Justin Reynolds is a federal prosecutor who works to put criminals behind bars. But sometime the justice system fails; sometime horrible people get away with their crimes. And when they do, Justin takes matters into his own hands. Justin, Ace, and Justin’s twin brother, Ethan, run an online platform called The Chat Room where those who escape justice are added to a hit list. Justin is one of their best assassins and he takes many of the jobs himself. Justin does everything he can to work within the legal system, but when that fails, he has no qualms about taking out the the criminals himself.

Justin and Ace are as committed to each other as two men could possibly be and Justin would never let anyone harm his husband. So when it becomes clear Ace is being framed for murder, Justin isn’t going to sit back and let it happen — especially when he knows the culprits are using Ace to get to Justin himself. But what he doesn’t expect is to find that both he and Ace are drawn to the sexy FBI agent who is investigating the case. The men know that they should stay far away from Maddox; their lives are risky enough without adding sleeping with the FBI. But that doesn’t stop the fierce attraction among all three of them — or the men from acting on it. Maddox also knows this affair is a terrible idea. His career would be over if anyone found out he was sleeping with a suspect, even as it is increasingly clear Ace had nothing to do with the murders. But of course, it is not just that Ace is a suspect. He and Justin are very firmly crossing the lines of the law and it is only a matter of time before their secret comes out. And when it does, it could blow up everything growing between Justin, Ace, and Maddox.

Day of Judgment is an exciting thriller about two morally gray men who love one another fiercely, but just may have room in their hearts for the FBI agent who is investigating them. It is part of the Virtuous Sinners multi-author collection of standalone stories and it very much fits into that theme. The authors do a nice job here grounding Justin and Ace in an attempt to work within the system. Justin is a prosecutor and he does all he can to find a way to put the bad guys behind bars. But he also has a fierce sense of justice and a determination to do whatever it takes to stop those who slip through the cracks, including sentencing them to death himself. It is a perfectly delicious situation as Ace and Justin are falling for an FBI agent whose job it is to put guys like them behind bars. It creates some nice tension, as even as we see the men falling for each other, we know there is this bomb waiting to explode that is going to shake it all up.

The relationship among Justin, Ace, and Maddox is sexy and sweet. The sweet side is the fierce protectiveness these men have toward one another, and that grows to extend to Maddox as well. Their number one priority is to each other and they will take down anyone who tries to harm the men they love. There is also an incredible heat among them and they are just on fire together. The story has some kink (wax play, bondage, etc) and the men take turns taking care of one another as needed. There is this fun juxtaposition of them living these normal domestic lives, cooking dinner and running errands, contrasted with them being ruthless killers. The three men are super sexy together and I liked the way Maddox slowly becomes part of this intense connection that Justin and Ace have with each other.

The larger suspense storyline deals with who is framing Ace and what they are after. We learn the basics pretty early on as to who is behind it, and Justin is working to take out his adversaries before they can do any more damage. Like I said, Justin has zero tolerance for anyone who threatens those he loves. Expect some intense scenes, but most are not particularly grisly or hard core. I didn’t always fully understand this organization they run and who is funding it. We know they have another business that is a front, but I wasn’t sure if they had real jobs there or if it was all a facade (and if Ethan and Ace do have real jobs there, we never see them doing them). I wasn’t sure if they were paying for these hits out of their own pockets (again from this other business?) and if not, where they were getting money to pay this cabal of assassins they employ. So I think just a few more pieces of information here could have cleared some thing up. I’ll note that much of the conflict resolves here, but there is more to come set in this world and there are some larger questions regarding their rivals who are after Justin, as well as a subplot regarding Justin and Ethan’s missing brother, that don’t fully resolve here in this book. However, word from one of the authors is that there will be more set in this world, so presumably answers are to come.

Overall, I found this one exciting and a lot of fun. The story is intense and the relationship is both incredibly loving and high heat. I am really looking forward to seeing what comes next.

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