Author: Jackie Keswick
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 4 stars
Type: Novel in a Series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Jack Horwood hates owing favors. But when a simple day out to treat Gareth to the best oysters in England leads to a discovery of drugs and counterfeit money—things that neither Jack nor Gareth have the jurisdiction to handle—he has to call in help. Help that doesn’t come cheap, and that forces him to do something he promised himself he’d never do again—walk away from Gareth and the family he’s starting to make for himself.
Three months undercover is a long time. After missing Gareth’s birthday, Jack is determined not to miss their first anniversary. But coming home and being home are two very different things. So when he is asked to assist with a corporate espionage investigation, Jack can’t say no, despite knowing it will impact his already straining relationship.
Except, of course, he’s walking into a trap….
Review: Jack Horwood has an amazing capacity to find himself at the center of trouble. He just walks right into it. Thankfully, he’s dedicated to stopping trouble. Jack’s need to stop trouble ends up taking him away from his lover, Gareth Flynn. Jack hates everything about the assignment he’s on. Jack also hates being on assignment. His time is split between looking over his shoulder and fending off the advances of the skeevy drug dealer he’s supposed to take down. Jack manages to resolve the case and make it home for his anniversary despite someone in the police department working against Jack. Jack and Gareth are finally back together, but things at work aren’t calm. As always, someone in Nancarrow Mining is up to something nefarious. Things are also rough in their personal life. When one of their almost foster sons ends up in the hospital because of fighting at school, it adds another wrench to their already muddled works. One thing that isn’t a mess for them is the decision to move in together. Both Gareth and Jack are ready and want to buy a home. Of course that’s where things go truly wrong.
Don’t try to pick this book up and understand what’s going on without reading the first two in the series. In a way, I like that the books seem to continue on in the life of Gareth and Jack merely noting the passage of time, as though we’re following along on their continuing adventures. It does however leave me feeling as though they aren’t self contained. Some incidents both begin and resolve in each book, but others do not.
Much of the character growth is being shown in Jack. Jack is coming around to the idea of building his own family. He’s sort of taking a step back for every step he’s taking forward. Like a family building cha-cha. Jack’s back and forth leaves Gareth in the position of understanding why his very messed up boyfriend is having trouble, or getting angry at a guy who has difficulties settling down after a pretty horrible life. No matter what, Gareth is getting the short end of the stick as he’s caught in the doormat or douche-bag dilemma. Personally, I’m going to reach a point where something needs to give in this scenario for me to keep enjoying reading.
There are quite a few things still in play as of the end of this installment in Jack and Gareth’s lives. Whoever tried to sabotage Jack while he was undercover is still unknown, the Nancarrow family is going to continually be a problem and source of conflict for everyone, and the custody of Nico and Daniel is still in play. Add to that, Gareth has been doing quite a bit of work for Aiden on the side. Honestly, I wish I could accomplish at least a tenth of what these guys manage in an average day.
I like this series and the characters of Jack and Gareth. There is forward momentum of the story arc in every installment, and I continue to want to see where it is going.