Rating: 4 stars
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When Jason Reaves is woken up in the middle of the night by his service dog, Mouse, because there are intruders, he is scared. But when those intruders set his house on fire, Jason is terrified. It is particularly dangerous as Jason has a serious heart condition, which means too much exertion or excitement can cause problems like passing out. Jason barely manages to escape with his life, Mouse, and a few belongings. The next day, he goes to his late father’s safety deposit box for the important papers he might need, as his home was destroyed. There he finds a set of mysterious letters from his father, one of which sends him to Cormac Donegan, Duke of Everard, who apparently has agreed to not only protect Jason if needed… but to marry him.
Cormac has been recovering in his country house after almost being killed trying to track down Prince Brandr’s killers. He has never even heard of Jason and has no idea why the man thinks they are engaged. As it turns out, their fathers were friends and Jason’s dad saved the life of Cormac’s, thus resulting in a debt that the men agreed to accept in marriage if Jason ever got in trouble. Cormac is not really sure what to make of all that, but his sense of honor means that he will fulfill his duty to marry Jason. Also, as Cormac learns more about the attack on Jason and his home, it is clear that some rogue shifters are behind it. As a member of the elite Blue Dahlias, Cormac needs to find out what is going on and absolutely will protect Jason with his life.
As a human, Jason has no idea about the shifter world, and Cormac knows he must keep it that way. He also definitely can’t tell him about his role in the super secret royal spy organization, the Dahlias. But then again, Cormac never expected to fall for Jason. However, it doesn’t take long for the men to find a true connection, despite the arranged circumstances of their meeting. Jason and Cormac have come to love one another and want a real future together. But with so much of Cormac’s life a secret, the men will have to figure out how to make a future together.
Dangerous is the second book in the Shifter Scoundrels series by authors Charlie Cochet and Macy Blake. The story is closely linked with the first, Notorious, and I think best read in order, as there are some references to past events and people from the first book. In fact, the timelines overlap here for about half the book, giving us a chance to see some key events from other perspectives. Not to mention there is an overarching mystery plot, so definitely start with book one and follow along.
This story is a departure from the first in that Jason is a human with no awareness of the shifter world. At first, he is just blown away by the fact that Cormac is a wealthy Duke and lives in a mansion with servants. But then he learns the truth about shifters and their Regency-like society, and it opens up a whole new world. We also get more of a chance to see our characters interacting with the human world, so it nicely expands the series outside of the insular shifter society. The opening, in particular, is really exciting as we see Jason barely escaping the fire and then learning about this mysterious marriage. So I enjoyed this human/shifter pairing and watching Jason learn more about this world. He and Cormac are a really sweet pair with a grumpy/sunshine vibe. Jason brings some life and humor to Cormac, and Cormac is caring and doting on Jason. My only small issue here is I felt like after Jason comes to live with Cormac, it is almost like his former life just disappears. He appears to have no friends or family or coworkers who might worry about him or wonder why he basically dropped off the face of the earth, as he never mentions a soul. He never has any follow up or insurance paperwork to do on his burned down house, doesn’t have to talk to the police about this arson, etc. And if he had a job, we never hear about it; at one point Jason mentions he is a digital artist, but I’m not sure if that was a job or hobby. Aside from giving Cormac a picture, we never see him talk about art, make art, mention a job, etc. In some ways I get it, as this is firmly a Cinderella fantasy where Jason is swept away into this magical world by the handsome Duke. But I also feel like one of the strengths of this installment is that Jason is coming from the outside world as a human and so to just ignore his entire life prior to this event didn’t really work for me.
As I said, the timeline here overlaps with the first story, so we get to see more about some of the events in the investigation from Cormac’s POV, including the climax of the first book when they think they have caught the culprit. So I enjoyed revisiting some of that again and I think it worked well. That said, the first roughly half of this book gets us to the climax of the first story, then a little further to when Cormac and Jason are introduced at the party at the end of Notorious. So there is very little new that comes out with regard to the overarching murder/mystery plot, since most of this book is covering ground already trod. Not to say that nothing happens of significance on the case, but not as much as I would be expecting and it felt a little like things were in a holding pattern for this book. I would have just liked to see more happen on this side of the story for this big mystery plot. I also felt like no one seemed super pressed to investigate who is after Jason and why. There is some mention that Cormac’s people are looking into it, but we never hear about progress or see anyone doing anything or learn answers. Even if they thought Jason was safe in Cormac’s home, wouldn’t they at least want to know what was happening and who was after him?
As with the first book, this one ends by introducing the next couple and it is very intriguing. We also get a nice conflict in that one of the characters has a connection to the larger mystery, so I think it will be great fodder for furthering that part of the plot. We also get to spend some time here with the MCs from the first book, as well as some of the side characters, and I really enjoy this cast. And, of course, Mouse totally steals the show and I just loved watching her interact with everyone!
While I did have a few quibbles here, I really found this story so much fun. I loved Jason and Cormac together and they are a sweet and sexy couple. I am enjoying this series a lot and looking forward to the next book.