Carter is a solitary young man who works as an occasional nurse. Mostly, though, he misses his twin brother who, for all that he keeps popping up every now and then, has mostly vanished from Carter’s life. They’re not estranged, it’s just that his brother’s life is dangerous and one he doesn’t want Carter getting caught up in. And then … his brother is gone. All Carter has to go on is an invitation to a club called The Anonymous.
Zaire is an information broker. He collects secrets and uses them to his own advantage. While he wouldn’t say he’s a billionaire … he also wouldn’t say he’s not. The Anonymous is a club he visits every now and then for the drinks, the company, and the chance to relax. In the club, the rules are simple: No one dies. You can sit at the table with your worst enemy, have something to eat, shoot the shit — but not each other — and know that, for the length of that visit, you are safe.
Seeing a young man nervously hovering like a lamb in a slaughterhouse catches Zaire’s interest. The boy’s too pretty to leave alone, too much of a target in a room of predators. So he asks him over for a drink. When a mafia heir threatens Carter, calling him by another name, Zaire decides to take Carter home. For the obvious, yes, but also for the information. Who is this young man and what is he doing in Zaire’s world?
Dealer of Secrets is part of the Elite multi-author series and its focus is on the all consuming physical attraction between the naive and innocent Carter and the worn and worldly — and batman-esque — Zaire, who has car elevators scattered around the city, a mansion with a near magical AI who can read people’s emotional states and DNA as they walk through the door, and is so powerful everyone in the city is afraid of him.
Carter feels not very bright. He sees his brother’s body, riddled with bullets, and holds him as he dies. Less than a day later, he’s letting a strange man, Zaire, into the house to see the contents of the safe his brother left him. And in that house, where his brother just died, Carter is swooning because Zaire smells just so good he wants Zaire to fuck him against the wall right now. Carter seems to remember his brother on occasion, even feels a very tepid sort of anger when he thinks about his brother being murdered, but mostly it seems like he feels horny.
While Carter has minimal survival instincts, Zaire is logical. The reason he’s willing to burn a bridge (or rather, set a false ID maker on fire) is not only because he’s in love with Carter and wants to win his heart, but because if the man in question is leaking information, he’s a liability to Zaire’s work and must be dealt with. Zaire can’t have someone with information about him, such as where he lives, just wandering the city.
For me, the biggest issue was the plot. The story relies upon very powerful, very paranoid people believing something and they do it without question. They go along so easily, without needing much, if any, convincing. It doesn’t feel like it’s because it’s the smart thing to do or the morally right thing to do, but because it’s what the plot needs them to do. It feels too easy and makes the story too pat. Carter being inserted into this world made no sense to me. Nothing that happened felt realistic within the confines of this world, and to me it seemed very much like the story was headed down one certain path and nothing was going to make it deviate.
Every book requires a small suspension of disbelief in order to accept their world and characters, be it elves and dragons, billionaire hit men, or aliens and shifters, but I felt like this book required me to suspend a lot of logic and common sense at the same time. Carter held his dying brother in his arms, but seems more interested in banging the stranger who tells him he can protect him, with no proof of anything. He just believes a stranger seemingly because he’s hot. Zaire, who is so good at his job that powerful men shake in fear at his presence, falls so hard for someone he’s never met and knows nothing about except what Carter has told him. He’s breaking every rule and bending over backwards to reveal his own secrets because he’s instantly in love. It’s too much, too fast, without reflecting the story’s own reality. It was just too light a story and too heavy on the insta-love for me to buy. I’m sorry, but this is a pass for me.