I am a huge fan of Abi Roux’s Cut & Run series and it’s impossible to read this book and not make a comparison. It’s not that Tom and Prophet are exactly like Ty and Zane, but they are more similar than you can ignore. Instead of a pair of unlikely FBI partners, our heroes are unlikely mercenary partners. Like Ty, Prophet is the younger, sexy, nearly unhinged former soldier who is equal parts charming and infuriating. Like Zane, Tom is the straight man who seems to have himself together, until we learn there’s disquiet beneath his still waters.
The two are forced together by their boss and sent out on a mission. They fight. They, er, fornicate. And without ever throwing the l-word around, start to fall for one another. Like I said, a lot like Cut & Run. And in some ways, it was a little bothersome, because I love Ty and Zane and I don’t necessarily want to read about some copycats. Yet, I found myself sinking into the story and the relationship drama for all of the same reasons. And the more I got into it, the more I started seeing this book as something that stands apart from the other series. It’s similar, but not exactly the same. It is its own story.
I found Tom to be the much more sympathetic character. I mean, Prophet is soooo screwed up. His past is revealed layer by layer, and the author doesn’t hold your hand to connect all the dots. You have to pay attention and think about what you’re learning as more is uncovered. Prophet seems to be holding himself together by a slender thread and getting close to Tom threatens to tilt his world off balance. Sex is one thing, but anything more could upend his hard-fought equilibrium. His emotional distance makes him harder to relate to. But poor Tom lays it all out there, at least to the reader. You can see how hard he is falling for Prophet and every time he got pushed away, I loved his cursed little heart a little bit more.
There’s a solid plot with their mission and it all ties in to Prophet’s backstory, which is cool. The real draw, though, is in the romance (if you can call their emotional tug of war a “romance.”) I was totally invested and the sex was hot.
It wasn’t perfect. Like I said, sometimes the C&R similarities bugged me. Beyond that, I didn’t like a pseudo-second love interest for Prophet. I didn’t like that Prophet was giving this guy the side-eye, when he so clearly belongs with Tom. And the ending is not a HEA. Not even a HFN. It’s a stinky, stinky ending. And if I did not have book two standing by to read, I would have been seriously pissed off.
So be sure to have book two handy. And get ready for some m/m love-hate-sex. Rrraw.