love for the reaper coverRating: 3.75 stars
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Length: Novella


Dev Espinosa is a Ferryman. His job is to transport the “dead,” whether that be to new lives and new identities, or literally the bodies of those who have angered the wrong person. Dev is a good driver, gets paid well, and knows better than to ask too many questions. He takes the contract, does the job, and gets his money. So nothing prepares Dev for the night Remy Corbin steps into his car as he sits in the alley waiting for his latest pickup.

Remy came to town looking for a new life after things ended badly with his ex. He enjoys his job working as a bartender and even likes his boss and co-workers — at least until he sees his boss murder someone in cold blood. When his boss spots Remy and wants him dead as well, Remy runs to the only place of potential safety he can see — a car idling in the back alley.

Dev was just parked waiting for his pickup and suddenly Remy is in his car and people are shooting at them. Dev’s first instinct is to get away, even as he realizes it would be much smarter to stick around and leave Remy to the bad guys who want him dead. However, for some reason, Dev can’t bring himself to turn Remy over, even as it puts him at risk. Remy is just such a sweet, innocent guy caught up in a mess and Dev finds himself too drawn to Remy to let anything happen to him. Dev thought he was too jaded to ever feel this protective, but something about Remy has Dev determined to keep him safe. But that is easier said than done with a highly skilled assassin now on their trail. Now, Dev has to figure out a way to keep Remy safe, and just maybe find a way for the two of them to be together.

Love for the Reaper is part of the multi-author, shared world The Elite series. The books are designed to be standalones and take place in a city full of criminals. There is a hotel called Menagerie that caters to the bad guys and a club, Anonymous, on the lower floors where only the truly elite of the underworld set are invited. I did find that the first book I read in this series (Maz Maddox’s Bullets and Butterflies) provided a little more world building foundation that helped me here. But there doesn’t appear to be any overlap to the books beyond shared settings and this story will stand just fine on its own.

I liked the setup here with Dev waiting outside for someone to pass him a body (alive or dead) to transport. Then, suddenly, Remy jumps in his car and the two end up inadvertently on the run together. Dev is in sort of shocked disbelief as to just how naive Remy is about all the goings on, both with his boss and in the town. The guys have an instant spark and Dev finds himself wanting to protect Remy, even knowing it is tremendously bad idea. Despite being a story about people killing each other, this one is fairly light in tone, and I think that helped with my suspension of disbelief that Dev, someone who is happy to turn a blind eye to various murders, would risk his life for this guy he barely knows. We do get some backstory on Dev that shows he isn’t quite as bad as his job makes him appear, which also helps to accept his protectiveness over Remy. But things between these guys do move unbelievably fast. They spend a couple of days together, most of it while Dev is injured/convalescing, and they are ready to make a go of life together. It was way too fast to be believable for me and the shorter novella format didn’t do this part of the story any favors. There was just not enough time to establish a relationship between them, or even to show them bonding together, to really sell for me that they were already in love and committed to each other amidst this life threatening situation.

Toward the end of the book, we are introduced to another set of characters who seem ripe for their own story. I thought maybe they were part of this shared world collection, but since that doesn’t appear to be the case, I am assuming Cochet is using this story to launch a new series, or at least a book featuring this couple. I found them intriguing, but also with this shorter format already cutting into relationship development time for Remy and Dev, I felt like they pulled a little too much focus from our main couple. That said, I’d read more in this world or with these characters easily, so I am interested to see what happens.

Overall, I think this one need some more time to really develop the characters and relationship enough to build a foundation for where they end up. But it is a fun, quick read and has likable characters in Dev and Remy. Fans of Cochet’s work or those looking for a lighter “criminal underworld” story should enjoy this one.

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