Title: Against the Grain
Series: THIRDS, #5
Author: Charlie Cochet
Length: Novel (220 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 3rd 2015)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5 Hearts
Blurb: As the fiercest Defense Agent at the THIRDS, Destructive Delta’s Ash Keeler is foul-mouthed and foul-tempered. But his hard-lined approach always yields results, evident by his recent infiltration of the Coalition. Thanks to Ash’s skills and the help of his team, they finally put an end to the murdering extremist group for good, though not before Ash takes a bullet to save teammate Cael Maddock. As a result, Ash’s secrets start to surface, and he can no longer ignore what’s in his heart.
Cael Maddock is no stranger to heartache. As a Recon Agent for Destructive Delta, he has successfully maneuvered through the urban jungle that is New York City, picking up his own scars along the way. Yet nothing he’s ever faced has been more of a challenge than the heart of Ash Keeler, his supposedly straight teammate. Being in love isn’t the only danger he and Ash face as wounds reopen and new secrets emerge, forcing them to question old loyalties.
Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6635
Review: Ash Keeler and Cael Maddock have been partners and best friends for years, but lately, the mechanics of their relationship is shifting. Cael has been in love with Ash for almost as long as they’ve been friends, but he’s kept those feelings buried, believing his partner to be straight. When Cael’s life was threatened on their last mission, he decided not to go down without a fight and admitted his true feelings to Ash.
And as luck would have it, the feelings seemed to be mutual. But now Ash is pulling away and closing himself off again. Cael realizes he may forever be pining for a man who is incapable of returning the love, but if he has to wait forever, he will.
Ash is determined to keep Cael out of harm’s way and admitting his feelings for his partner means Ash’s enemies could use his love for Cael against him, possibly hurt the Cheetah shifter. That’s not all of it though; Ash doesn’t know how to handle his constantly changing emotions or how to deal with possible backlash from admitting he is gay. Not to mention the Supervisor over their current case seems to have secrets of her own, secrets that could get them all killed.
When Ash, Sloane and Hobbs are kidnapped in a hi-jacking gone wrong and Calvin is critically injured; Cael, Dex and the team will stop at nothing, risk everything to ensure the men they love are found. But there is still a danger to Cael, a threat from his past is somehow woven into the twisted mess they are trying to resolve and even if they find their missing team members and bring them home, will Ash and Cael ultimately loose one another regardless?
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Ash completely out of his element. He is large and in charge and used to being in control in every aspect of his life. But love is this psychotic, insane mix of emotions that you have to bend and flow with, you can’t control it, so Ash is having a little trouble with that aspect. It’s a constant push and pull between him and Cael, two steps forward, three steps back. And as frustrated as Cael is with it, he actually tells Ash at one point he’s so crazy stupid in love with him that he will probably continue to put up with the pain it causes him every time Ash pulls away indefinitely.
There is so much more going on under the surface though, Ash and Cael’s relationship drama is just the tip of the sword. The team is starting to wonder who is on the take and who they can trust. Calvin and Hobbs are having issues where those two usually have an unwavering confidence. Then there is the issue with Sloane looing control of his animal, more than once. To say their attention is stretched is an understatement, as they try to prioritize the decision is taken out of their hands with the hi-jacking and subsequent kidnapping.
I love this series and I love that with every question that is answered, another arises. Lots of potential for so many scenarios to play themselves out in the upcoming stories in this series. Personally, I’m anxiously awaiting Calvin and Hobbs story. I can’t wait to see how they navigate the rough relationship waters that both Ash and Sloane have succumbed to.
If you enjoy deeply intricate plot lines, well woven story lines and kick ass characters with real world problems then this is a must read for you. Lest I forget to mention the oh so sexy collection of alpha males that like to flare their nostrils and pretend they are in charge while their better half has them by the balls.
In a fun, sweaty, sexy sort of way.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *