Grant is a former marine who’s now running Paradise Ranch, a safehouse where people in trouble can be hidden from society. Grant grew up around the mob, pulled in by his dad’s connections, but he swore he’d get away from it. Then, he defied orders on an op, trying to take care of his men, and he received a less-than-honorable discharge. A connection with a former Army Ranger led Grant and his younger brother, Rhys, to the ranch. They are hoping Rhys’ twin, Rogue, will also join them. And, while they’re employing other veterans, they are also shielding mafia hitmen and witnesses from people who’d want them dead.
Grant meets Jacob and has a one-off in his truck while Jacob is on his break at the bar where he’s working. Jacob is the epitome of the young sub Grant would loved to dominate, but he’s not in the market for a partner. Unfortunately, Jacob’s ex, Trey, is a bad mafia guy and he’s determined to get Jacob back under his thumb, by any means necessary, so Rogue brings Jacob to Paradise Ranch.
Rogue is a rodeo rider, but the opportunity to join Paradise Ranch and raise his own stock is very enticing. Helping out his friend Jacob is a bonus, even if bringing him to the ranch is an uncomfortable reunion for Jacob and Grant. They had a strong connection in that one-off a month prior, and their attraction is totally simmering now that they share space in the ranch house.
It’s not long before Grant is refusing to indulge in Jacob’s luscious body, but Jacob’s a more enticing man than Grant can stand. It’s an instalove situation, and Grant struggles managing the ranch duties, his role at keeping all their incognito clientele on the down low, and keeping his hands off Jacob. Strangers are turning up to the Ranch and it’s clear there’s an informant revealing classified information to people who would love to attack the Ranch. Could Trey be en route? And, if he’s coming for Jacob, will Grant be able to stop him?
This is the first book in the Texas Safehouse series, though it’s a spin-off of a previous series. Honestly, I had trouble getting connected with this book. There were too many crossed-up connections with the warring criminal enterprises, the ranching, the veterans, the brothers, and the FBI. Every person had a convoluted backstory and there were a lot of people.
Not only that, but Grant is telling the whole story in a very matter-of-fact way that left little room to experience his emotion. Jacob was a little easier to connect with, but I felt like he was a smaller part of the story. The pacing was slowed by all the explaining, and yet the romance piece was too short in its development. The end scenes brought a lot of extra drama that could have appealed had I had a better connection to either Grant or Jacob’s characters. I’ve liked other books by this author, but felt a little let down by the plotting and character development here. I think connecting too many characters from previous stories, as well as including the backstories of several side characters in order to set up the books in the series, took important page time from the telling of Grant and Jacob’s love story. They got a happy ending, but I wasn’t invested.