Author: HelenKay Dimon
Rating: 2.5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Secrets and seduction make for an explosive combination in HelenKay Dimon’s edgy, thrilling new series, which kicks off with a novel about two men who can handle any threat—except the one posed by desire.
Fisher Braun knows how to keep a secret. As a covert paramilitary operative, his job—and his life—depends on it. He’s at the top of his game, ready for action and always in control. No enemy has ever brought him to his knees, but one lover has: Zachary Allen, the man currently sharing his bed. The perfect package of brains and brawn, Zach is someone worth coming home to, and Fisher hates keeping him in the dark about what he does. But the lies keep Zach safe. Until the day Fisher loses everything. . . .
Zachary Allen is no innocent civilian. Although he plays the tech geek, in reality he’s deep undercover for the CIA. In a horrible twist of fate, the criminal enterprise he’s infiltrated has set its sights on the man whose touch drives him wild. Zach would do anything for Fisher—except blow his own cover. Now, in order to save him, Zach must betray him first. And he needs Fisher to trust him with all his heart if they want to make it out alive.
Review: Fisher Braun has gotten a life altering surprise. His cute boyfriend, Zach, isn’t the sweet tech nerd Fisher thought he was. Zachary Allen never told his boyfriend he too works for the CIA, and was told to engage in a romantic relationship with Fisher. Zach wasn’t supposed to fall in love and move in with Fisher, but he did. Things are made much worse by the fact Zach is pretending to be one of the bad guys that just kidnapped Fisher. It’s complicated. Fisher, his partner, and Zach manage to escape immediate danger, but Fisher is not only angry, he’s highly suspicious of Zach, his motives, and his allegiances. It takes a long time and several levels of clearance checks for Fisher to accept Zach is a CIA employee on a covert mission to bring down a human trafficking ring. Things go from complex to suicidal when the CIA wants Zach to go back. Fisher has to decide whether or not he hates or loves Zach and whether or not he wants to save him.
I am of two minds about this book. I either thought it was largely forgettable, or I actively disliked it. I’m going to split the difference and just say I didn’t like it, but it’s not horrible. The conflict for Fisher and Zach was good. Fisher learning the entire premise of the relationship being built on a lie was good. I had a lot of issues with the catalyst for Fisher admitting he was in love. Everyone is in agreement that Zach’s cover has been blown, or so close to being blown he’d most likely be killed if he attempted to go back. However; the CIA wants him back because this particular human trafficking operation is not only very dangerous, but would be a great asset if it were in the hands of the CIA. So, Zach is being sent back even though it’s a suicide mission. Okay, how is Zach going to either bring this organization down or help the CIA gain control if he’s dead? The only reason he’s going back is because they so desperately need this organization. I can understand volunteering for a suicide mission if you’re actually going to accomplish something. Whatever. This was hardly my only problem.
So, after escaping the bad guys, Zach going back becomes less plausible with every second that passes. Fisher and Zach then proceed to have a bunch of fights and sex in the safe house. As you do when you’re under time constraints while trying to bring down an evil organization? For me, their behavior did not feel adult. When going back to the bad guys, Zach needs to appear as though he’s been beaten up, like he was taken hostage at the time of his escape with Fisher. They wait until the last minute to beat Zach. 24 hour old bruises do not look like one hour old bruises. Again, whatever. Things like this actually made it difficult for me to keep reading the book.
As a whole this book is coherent. There are no glaring errors even if I thought a lot of things didn’t make sense. For people who are really interested in spy stories this book ticks enough boxes it will likely be an enjoyable read especially if you enjoy drama. For me, the drama felt ill timed and inappropriate. I get a real spy mystery doesn’t necessarily make a great read, but I want my fake spies to behave like they’re out of high school.