Micah Heart is young to be a detective at 23, but he’s a hard worker, diligent, stubborn, and willing to give his all. Helping people has always been his calling and Micah’s always wanted to be a cop, just like his dad, who just so happens to be the Chief of Police of the 105th district — Micah’s district. Sure, there may have been (and may still be) a little bit of nepotism, but Micah knows he earned his spot as detective. Usually, he’s behind a desk doing paperwork, but tonight he’s under cover as a sex worker.
Micah’s on the small side, slender, with delicate features, and looks like he could still be in high school. As embarrassing as it is, Micah’s still hyped for the assignment, because he’s being used as bait to lure out a serial killer preying on young male sex workers. But the man who drags Micah off the street isn’t the killer. He’s a good Samaritan who takes Micah to a small diner to get some food in him. Damon’s tall, handsome, and built like Hercules. As much as Micah would like to stay and make eyes at the man trying to save (what he thinks is) a young prostitute, Micah needs to be out on the street if he’s going to be of any use. So he bails, climbing out a bathroom window.
Somehow, fate keeps throwing the men together and, each time, Damon gets that now-familiar scowl on his face that’s equal parts attraction and irritation. It’s hot, and Micah wants nothing more than to give in, but he can’t. Until Damon comes up with a plan to hire Micah to pose as his boyfriend in front of his family, and is willing to pay a crap ton of money — along with a new wardrobe, a new iPhone, a new bed, and some new jewelry — to get his way. Micah knows he’s playing with fire. Damon, as it turns out, is a mob boss, and if he ever finds out the sex worker he’s trying to save is in fact a cop, Micah might end up dead… and not at the hands of the serial killer!
I’m going to be honest and say that I had quite a few problems with this book. First, there were generous handful of malapropisms — pleaded skirt instead of pleated, subconscious instead of self-conscious, wondering hands instead of wandering hands, shutter instead of shudder, close instead of closed — as well as some small punctuation issues scattered through the book. Then there are consistency issues, such as some chapters having a “previously on” moment where the events of the previous chapter are summarized at the beginning of the next one, or the last line of one chapter being the opening line for the very next chapter … but not all of them. In the later sections of the book, the author starts using parenthesis for asides, which they hadn’t done previously. Then, there are story moments that just don’t quite make sense. For example, at one point Micah gets into the car with Damon and shows the clothes off the clothes he is wearing, saying, “I went with some slacks and a dressed up sweater.” However, when Micah expresses concern over whether he’s dressed appropriately for the situation, Damon says, “I’m sure whatever you picked out to wear is acceptable.” In this scene, Micah is sitting right next to him. Damon can see him. Micah stated the obvious and told Damon what he was wearing while wearing it, while sitting next to Damon. So why does Damon seem unclear about what Micah is wearing?
The pacing, too, is off balance, with the first quarter moving well enough before the long slog of Micah and Damon … chatting. For over a month’s worth of fake dates and Micah at work, the two of them chat. Text. Date. It’s slow and stiff and, frankly, it drags., Eventually, in the last quarter of the book, the plot picks back up and the story moves at a nice, brisk pace with a great deal of action and character work, and then it ends abruptly.
Micah as a character feels deeply flawed. He’s petty, selfish, opportunistic, and only occasionally bright. He antagonizes his senior detective because he’s in a bad mood; he knows he’s lying to Damon and encourages the belief that he is (or was) in fact a sex worker rescued from the streets because A) he knows that Damon, should he discover Micah is a cop, will dump him before Micah can get fucked by Damon’s enormous dick, and B) he enjoys the feeling of being treasured and protected and loved as he tries to seduce Damon into sleeping with him. Damon, you see, wants to sleep with Micah, but he wants it to be something genuine, something Micah wants, not something he’s paid to do. So, Damon is paying Micah for the fake dates, but the relationship between them will be sex free until Micah honestly and sincerely wants to sleep with Damon because he loves Damon, not his money. This, as Damon’s paying Micah thousands for each date and supplying him with his every earthly desire.
The character motivations for Micah make sense, and his character does come across. When it’s time to take action, Micah does so with intelligence and cleverness, and even some skill, but Damon is the weak point. His motivations seem flawed and almost silly given who and what he’s supposed to be as one of the most ruthless and intelligent mafia dons in New York, at least to me. Honestly, I think this book, given a little more work and maybe more editing could be a fun read. But, as it stands, this is a pass for me.