Author: Damon Suede
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 4 stars
Received from Author
Blurb: PENT UP: Mix business with pleasure and take cover.
Ruben Oso moves to Manhattan to start his life over as a low-rent bodyguard and stumbles into a gig in a swanky Park Avenue penthouse. What begins as executive protection turns personal working for a debonair zillionaire who makes Ruben question everything about himself.
Watching over financial hotshot Andy Bauer puts Ruben in an impossible position. He knows zero about shady trading and his cocky boss lives barricaded in a glass tower with wall-to-wall secrets and hot-and-cold-running paranoia. Can the danger be real? Is Andy for real?
What’s a bullet catcher to do? Ruben knows his emotions are out of control even as he races to untangle a high-priced conspiracy and his crazy feelings before somebody gets dead. If his suspicions are right, Andy will pay a price neither can afford, and Ruben may discover there’s no way to guard a heart.
Review: Ruben Oso is starting over. He’s got a job working for his brother, he’s in a new city, and he’s sober and taking it all day by day. When a job seems too good to be true Ruben is suspicious. Andy Bauer has more than enough money to hire a more prestigious security firm than the one run by Ruben’s brother, but a job is a job. At the very least Ruben can go earn some money and bug out as soon as it gets too weird or it all goes south. More than anything what surprises Ruben is the strong pull he feels toward Andy. Ruben finds his newfound attraction to his boss, who happens to be a man, confusing. As he realizes he’s no longer with Andy purely because it’s his job to be there he decides to quit. That’s when things go haywire. What Ruben chalked up to paranoia or a cry for attention was a credible threat. A credible threat that pulled Ruben and Andy closer together.
I really enjoyed this story. Like, a lot. Ruben and Andy are two men who are simultaneously nothing alike and exactly alike. Well educated, white, wealthy, hedge fund managing billionaire Andy, and Latino, uneducated, recovering alcoholic, hired muscle Ruben are both adrift from their respective cultures and at a low point in their lives. Ruben’s low point is obvious. He’s hit an addict’s bottom. It’s harder to see Andy has as well. Andy is not the good guy in this story. He hasn’t been the good guy for a long time and the chickens are coming home to roost.
Or at least I think that’s what this book is about. ‘Cause it was actually sort of all over the place and nowhere at the same time. The first two thirds of this book was Ruben’s fourth step, he just didn’t seem to realize how well he was working it. Then what started as this great, character driven novel is suddenly a mystery with action and Ruben has to ride to the rescue. I don’t want to get started on how I feel about Apex and that resolution. It’s spoilery, and I’ll get ranty. I will say I didn’t like the resolution to the mystery. In addition to that I found some aspects of the writing to be distracting. In multiple instances a paragraph would be comprised of seemingly random words thrown together. Like I was supposed to be seeing concept flash cards and internalizing the message. Unfortunately, I’d stop reading and spend time trying to figure out what these disparate one or two word sentences had to do with each other. Despite all that, I really liked Ruben and his story.
I have to admit one of the things I liked about this book was the tropey goodness. Gay for you, falling for a billionaire, falling for a bad boy, rescue, hurt/comfort. It was all there like delicious pastries lined up for me to savor and savor them I did. And then, at the end of the book both Ruben and Andy realize they want to be better men. Gah! It’s pure text book romance!