Rating: 4.25 stars
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Someone has broken into Dempsey’s antique shop, but weirdly, they didn’t steal anything. Still, Dempsey is concerned enough to call Drake Security to provide some added protection for both him and the shop. He is unprepared for the gorgeous Hemingway Drake, and definitely unprepared when Hemingway invites Dempsey to come along on a short trip to London for a rare book fair. Dempsey never does things this impulsive, but he agrees to let Hemingway take him along on the trip. Their few days in London are amazing, as Hemingway is wealthy beyond Dempsey’s imagining and lavishes Dempsey with expensive meals and accommodations. Dempsey finds himself drawn to Hemingway, but he is trying to keep things professional, as he can’t imagine a guy like Hemingway would be interested in a quiet, shy, everyday guy like himself.
Everything in Hemingway is telling him that Dempsey is his fated mate and Hemingway’s dragon wants Dempsey desperately. But Hemingway knows the odds are slim that he would find a fated mate at all, let alone so soon after his brother, Nico, found his. His dragon must just be having some serious wishful thinking. Especially because Dempsey doesn’t even seem that interested in him. Yet, Hemingway is still enjoying their trip to London, spoiling Dempsey and showing him all his favorite places in the city. The two men share a passion for books and antiquities and have much in common. The trip is going great until both men feel a presence, something that feels sinister and scares them both.
When they guys get home, they begin to dig into what happened in London, and they learn about a threat to Dempsey, one that seems tied to the break-in. It is not easy finding out the exact nature of the threat, however, and while they figure it out, Dempsey agrees he is safer staying with Hemingway. It gives the men a chance to get to know one another better — and for Hemingway to admit to himself that this connection with Dempsey is a sign that they are truly mates. With Dempsey in danger, Hemingway is willing to do anything in the world to protect him, but this threat seems beyond even his ability to control. It is clear Dempsey’s life is on the line and something needs to be done to solve who is behind the threat and why… before it is too late.
Smolder is the second book in Mika Nix’s Drake Security series and picks up with the second Drake brother finding love and his fated mate. I think the authors do a nice job here keeping the familiar beats from the first book — the client who turns out to be a mate, a threat that the Drakes must protect against,3 the mating rituals — while at the same time, giving this storyline enough differentiation from the first book to keep it interesting. You sort of have to just go with the explanation for why the guys suddenly take off for London together (or how they arrange a trip so fast they meet for the first time and then land in London 12 hours later). But if you can get past that sort of awkward start, this one really is an engaging story. The time the guys spend in London has a nice magical fairytale quality, with Hemingway spoiling Dempsey and showing him around the city. It gives them time to get to know each other and make a connection, as well as for us to get a sense of the threat Dempsey faces. The problem is supernatural, like it is in Hot Head, but a completely different type of situation, and one that relates well to these particular men. There is a nice sense of danger and the problem allows the guys a chance to spend more time together. I liked how it all played out, particularly how it gives Dempsey a glimpse into the supernatural world.
The men are fun together as a couple. As with the first book, we have a super possessive, super hunky guy who just wants to take care of his mate. There is clearly a fantasy element here of a rich, gorgeous man sweeping you off your feet, while making sure no harm will ever come to you. But I think the authors totally make it work and I found the story really sweet, sexy, and entertaining. I feel like Dempsey’s background could have been more developed. We get to know bits about his past, but not a whole lot of depth. But I did feel clearly how well suited these guys are for one another and they work nicely as a couple. I also loved getting to reconnect with the dragon brothers. Lake, Nico’s mate, takes Dempsey under his wing and is a force to be reckoned with. But there is a nice bond of friendship and support here, as Lake’s confidence gives Dempsey some confidence in return to reach for new things for himself. The Drake brothers have a nice camaraderie, and I like how they love and support each other. I’m looking forward to seeing how each of their stories develop.
So this was a great installment in this really fun series. We get some hints on what is to come for the other brothers, and I am all in here. I am really enjoying these books a lot and they are just a lot of fun. Definitely check them out if you like possessive, hunky dragon shifters, or fated mates stories.
This does sound appealing! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Jay.