Author: Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 4.5 stars
Type: Novel from Series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: As the fiercest Defense Agent at the THIRDS, Destructive Delta’s Ash Keeler is foul-mouthed and foul-tempered. But his hard-lined approach always yields results, evident by his recent infiltration of the Coalition. Thanks to Ash’s skills and the help of his team, they finally put an end to the murdering extremist group for good, though not before Ash takes a bullet to save teammate Cael Maddock. As a result, Ash’s secrets start to surface, and he can no longer ignore what’s in his heart.
Cael Maddock is no stranger to heartache. As a Recon Agent for Destructive Delta, he has successfully maneuvered through the urban jungle that is New York City, picking up his own scars along the way. Yet nothing he’s ever faced has been more of a challenge than the heart of Ash Keeler, his supposedly straight teammate. Being in love isn’t the only danger he and Ash face as wounds reopen and new secrets emerge, forcing them to question old loyalties.
I’m one of those die hard, can’t wait for the next book in this series, read it release day fans of this series. So of course I liked this one. Finally we get Cael and Ash’s story! I love Ash so much. I have a thing for gruff tough guys in books. This book flips between his and Cael’s POV. Cael’s POV was pretty much what I expected. He’s adorable and obviously in love with Ash. We delve into one of his previous bad relationships he thought he’d put behind him. It’s causes some emotional stress for Cael while explaining a few things about his personality. I didn’t really catch any hints of this the first time around but it’ll be interesting to see all the little hints in a reread.
Ash’s POV however took a little getting used to since he seemed so different to me personally. We’ve really only see him from Sloane or Dex’s POV in all the other books. He seems like a much bigger prick from the outside looking in. However, reading Ash’s POV in Against the Grain gives you a totally different perspective on the man. He’s pretty uncomfortable showing his feelings for Cael in public. He’s not exactly homophobic but there’s so much shame from what happened with his brother he’s created this block to his desire towards men. Until the moment he meets Cael. That’s when his struggle begins again. Ash is also afraid he’s not good enough for Cael with all his baggage. That with his emotional issues he’ll disappoint him because he’s all messed up. There’s a lot of internal struggle going on in that big strong Therian we’ve come to think of as so tough. It gives a lot of meaning to why Ash is the way he is. He doesn’t trust easily. Ash never really thought he’d fall in love with another man. He sure never thought that man would love him back. Their romance is pretty sweet in this one but it’s also frustrating. I thought this all balanced out nicely. It did lack some of the intensity the author managed to capture with Dex and Sloane IMO but that’s okay because they’re epic!
There’s more to this book than just the Cael and Ash romance. The romance is always good but my favorite part is the team and characters and what’s going on with them. How they all interact with each other. I love the humor and feel like I know the characters and am part of all the inside jokes. The dangers and intrigue that are always going on. A ton of things I didn’t really think too hard about that occurred in the last few books start to click together like puzzle pieces. It is pretty brilliant how this author plants subtle seeds mixed in with all the other things going on with these guys and gals. Makes for a very complex story. There are some questions about who you can and can’t trust. Somebody is officially outed as a baddie in this one. Part of this story line was pretty obvious but I didn’t really mind. Plus I always like to see the bad guy pay for his wrong doing. AND I hated the baddies so that’s always a bonus.
More couples are being set up in this one. Austin has a big bear crush and I can’t wait to hear more about that! There’s hope for Seb and the Doc. Hopefully their story is coming with some clues along the way because I love to be teased. The anticipation is so good! There’s a pretty big revelation towards the end that’s going to open up so much more danger and intrigue for Destructive Delta. I can’t say I loved this one quite as much as most of the others but it was good and a must read. I love Cael and Ash. Some realizations were made. Some possibilities open up for the future. Things are about to get heavy for the team. So much to look forward to . Can’t wait for the next book.