Author: Kaje Harper
Published: January 8th 2016 by Smashwords Edition
Genres: gay fiction // contemporary // mystery > crime // tiny psychic detail
*this book contains sexual content*
YES – SLOW-BUUUUUURN. I love slow-burn, especially when it has sexual tension.
This definitely seems to be categorized more in the gay fiction area rather than pure M/M romance, but there is definitely romance to be had. The main focus is the undercover cop plot. One problem I’ve had is that the pure romance ones put plots like this on the back burner and so it’s kind of boring and doesn’t do much for the story. However, this one is brought forward and I’ve still had problems with cop story lines not being exciting enough, but I actually quite enjoyed this one! I don’t know if I’m biased, though, because it does have an extremely subtle psychic aspect. A good read, indeed!
What could an undercover cop and a drug lord’s pet psychic have in common?
Brian Kerr has spent years hiding behind a facade of mental slowness. His brother and sister got all three of them off the streets and into a cushy life, under the protection of a dangerous criminal. But to keep that safety, Brian has to use his Finding talent to track down the boss’s enemies. Although he pretends not to know what he’s really doing, each Find takes its toll, and he’s trapped in a life he hates, losing touch with his true self.
Nick Rugo’s job is to protect and serve the people of Minneapolis as an undercover cop. He isn’t closeted, but he isn’t out at work, and there’s a wild, angry side to him that he’s managed to keep hidden until now. When he’s assigned to bring Brian’s boss to justice, he intends to use anything and anyone it takes to do that.
Nick initially sees Brian as a pawn to be played in his case, but he keeps getting glimpses of a different man behind the slow, simpleminded mask. As the two men get to know each other, it becomes clear they share secrets, some of which might get them both killed.
Kaje Harper is very talented. This is only the 2nd book of hers I’ve read, the first being Nor Iron Bars a Cage, yet I see such well-flowing stories with great dialogue. Not to mention unique characters! The stage is set for the story of a cop infiltrating the drug-creating ranks of a drug lord’s manufacturing industry. These drugs are new and deadly. Thus, we have Nick – our undercover guy.
I really like Nick. He’s a cop, but he loves the thrill of a good dirty fight with some lowlife who deserves it, heading out to the bars to see if he catches anything. It’s his way of working off frustrations. Frustrations that partially stem from his childhood in the foster care system and inability to locate his lost sister. Yet, he’s a very caring man. You can see it in how he treats his neighbors and Brian. And even when he’s supposed to be keeping his real personality under wraps, he can’t help but reveal some of it to him. Being undercover, I can understand some of the things he had to do when it came to befriending Brian. And some people may dislike him for it. The good thing is that it is heavily acknowledged that he does feel guilty and he doesn’t want to do it, but he needs to get the job done.
And Brian himself is quite complex. He has two sides of himself, one being the one in which he hides under a mentally challenged persona named Bry. Brian is his real self. As he gets closer to Nick, Nick and the readers see that he is very intelligent. He’s actually rather benevolent and alert, but the way he’s grown up has distorted him… And Nick may be the way out to doing good and living a happy life. Also, his psychic skill is unique! It’s very specific and very limited, which I felt kept things pleasantly personal. Brian simply creates a bond in his mind of individuals he meets with specific (and endearing) tastes and smells, which he can use to Find people. His ability does still make him seem slower, even with his intelligence, but that just makes him more lovable. More thoughtful. Also, he’s not a typical hot MC – he is 6′ 2″, slightly overweight, almost-white blonde hair, and super pale skin. But Nick is drawn to him.
The side characters all have some evil side to them, but you can also see that Damon and Lori (mostly Damon, I felt) care about Brian. I think that the money just got their heads. After their childhood, though, you can definitely see why. They grew up rough, but I can’t forgive them for dragging Brian into this! [spoiler] I was really glad when Damon left him (though, I didn’t like the punch) – he considerably held Brian back! [/spoiler]
Marston is just an asshole. And a creep. And a drug lord. Drug lords are uncool.
As for the chemistry between these two, it’s very subtle. To me, it wasn’t very obvious, so it may feel a bit flat sometimes. However, I still like them. I loved the steamy moments between them. Phew! It wasn’t over done – it had such a nice level of sexual tension. And Brian during those moments… Good stuff.
The ending leaves a cliffhanger in the crime aspect, with some of his targets escaping creating the framework for a second book. On the romantic aspect, it’s up in the air. Brian doesn’t know Nick is still doing a job and could be using him, as well as the fact that they are unsure of their relationship. Some people may look for more definitive clarity, but it can also work for setting up the relationship development in the second book. We shall see!
Ta-ta for now, worms!
Did you read this book? What did you think of Brian’s ability? Their relationship? The other characters? Comment below! (Careful of spoilers, though)
~Cover photo from Goodreads~