Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel


Kane Diaz spent years behind bars in a maximum security prison. It was a completely bogus sentence, but with the prejudice against enhanced like Kane, there was never any hope of a fair trial. Seventeen years later, Kane is finally going to be released. Instead of a lonely walk to a bus stop, however, a man named Diesel Rawlings picks him up and offers Kane a job at the private security firm he runs. The offer comes with a week-long stay at one of Rawlings’ properties and time to mull over whether or not to join the team. With zero other prospects, Kane is interested, but almost immediately knows it won’t work out. Sharing living space for a week with Danny Sullivan, Rawlings’ attractive, young IT whiz, isn’t a problem, but the guy’s instant loathing of Kane sure is.

Despite only knowing the most superficial details about Kane’s background, Danny–a former army Ranger with PTSD from being a POW–makes a snap judgment and finds Kane desperately lacking. Sick of the prejudice, Kane is determined to make his own way. Just before he can get away, however, Rawlings gets a surprise case that hits very close to home for Kane: enhanced kids are being arrested on the most ludicrous charges and disappearing in the system. Thrust into action, Kane and Danny each quickly discover there is far more to the other man than meets the eye. Between sharing living space and working together trying to solve the mystery of the missing kids, Kane and Danny form a strong bond. That connection is soon tested when both men are confronted with their worst nightmares. Kane must choose whether or not to go undercover in the same prison he just escaped, and Danny must come to terms with functioning outside of his safe zone.

One Step Sideways is a contemporary quasi-enemies-to-lovers get-together story from author Victoria Sue. The book is the first installment of the Enhanced World Security series, a sister series to Sue’s Enhanced World series, and it can very comfortably be read as a standalone. For readers familiar with the original series, you’ll likely enjoy some well-timed name dropping for characters from other books. For readers new to the meta series and who enjoy the premise laid out in this book, you’ll love knowing that there are multiple books in this world. At least two of those couples are briefly mentioned throughout the story, which I thought was a great way to give a sense of a bigger world and potential for more crossovers with couples established in other books.

The idea of enemies to lovers is what initially drew me to this story. I really enjoyed how Danny’s misunderstanding of Kane’s history happens before our two main characters even actually meet face-to-face. As a result, when Kane and Danny first meet, Danny had already written Kane off as a Bad Guy. Given that this misunderstanding was so massive, and so impactful, it got resolved relatively quickly. Not to mention that Kane and Danny almost instantly clock their attraction to each other. It felt like it was written in the stars that these two are meant to be. Yet even with these good omens, Danny’s assumptions were massive and it took them quite a while to build a bridge of trust between them. I admit, there was a little bit of cognizant discord when Kane and Danny are actively seeking ways to avoid having to spend time together, only to turn around and feel bad about it…but like I said, the air gets cleared up pretty quick so we can focus on the emotional connection between them.

The action side of the plot in the story was also straightforward and solid. Enhanced teenagers were going missing and, of course, Kane had a vested interest in finding out why. The bulk of the action revolved around a ring of crooked correctional officers and Kane’s unfortunate run-ins with various members of that ring. The overall effect was one where Kane repeatedly gets accosted for merely existing while enhanced and that was built up into a bigger overarching plot. Ultimately, these events culminated in Kane having to go undercover at the same prison he had just been released from. There, he has to cope with the fact that at least some of the correctional officers truly did see enhanced like him as subhuman, some of the prison leadership saw enhanced as underutilized military tools, and there was some synergy going on between the two parties to round up enhanced on the most ridiculous charges…for secretive purposes.

While all that action unfolds, Kane and Danny start to build a relationship. Despite the rocky start, these two did have good chemistry. The thrum of attraction was instantly palpable, but as described above, they obviously didn’t act on it immediately. Part of the way they built up trust was simply learning to give one another the benefit of the doubt. Rawlings helped by dispelling Danny’s dissolutions regarding Kane’s history. Once they were on more equal footing, it was lovely to watch these two learn how to be there for one another. Earlier in the story, I felt like Kane always knew how to work with Danny when he was feeling the effects of his PTSD. That required Kane to set aside his own phobias to prioritize Danny’s well-being. Later in the story, I thought that Danny was repaying that support by showing Kane that he wasn’t alone in the world. Together, these two deeply hurt men find a way to forge a hopeful future together.

Overall, I thought One Step Sideways was a delightful story, perfect for a summer holiday read. Fans of enemies-to-lovers and superhero-like stories are sure to enjoy these characters. Kane and Danny are a great take on overcoming massive misunderstandings to find true love.