Letting love pass them by would be a crime.
Former forensic accountant Cameron has lost nearly everyone he’s ever loved, and now his vintage clothing shop has been broken into and trashed. When town police chief Will Carson asks an out-of-town cop friend of his for help, Cam takes one look at the dark-haired, blue-eyed detective and knows he’s in real trouble—and it has nothing to do with vandalism or murder.
Pete Minchelli is on leave from his job in Philadelphia due to a gunshot wound, but he figures he can help an academy buddy with some light police work. Plus, he’ll have a chance to experience small-town life. He’s tired of the big city and all its corruption. But he quickly discovers that not all the bad stuff happens in cities. What he doesn’t expect to find is death, treachery—or love.
Hi! I’m Luc Minchelli. I run the new restaurant and club on the outskirts of town. I own it with my brother Pete. We’re doing pretty well, though I often wished Pete would take more of an interest in it. But he’s a cop. Or was one up til recently. That job may be in jeopardy, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Pete’s been in too many scrapes for the family’s comfort. He’s been shot, knifed, battered, nearly drowned… way too many things. But I think with Cam in the picture, that might be over.
Cameron came into our lives when his vintage clothing store downtown was vandalized. Pete’s friend Will, our chief of police, asked Pete to help out with the investigation. Pete was supposed to be on leave, taking it easy after his last run in with a perp. Shot up his leg pretty badly. I tried to get him to help me out here at the club more, but Pete couldn’t pass up a chance to help Will out. Not once he saw Cameron. I never believed in love at first sight, but with those two, it just might be something.
I’ve never seen anyone so totally taken with another person than those two are with each other. The first time Pete brought Cam up here, I knew. He’d never brought any of his male friends around before, but suddenly there’s Cam, looking all cute and innocent. And hungry! Pete brought him up for lunch, so we fed him. Had a great time teasing Pete as we made linguini and salt and lobster. That poor man wasn’t sure what to make of the way Pete and I are together. I mean, we’re brothers and from a big family. So we bicker. A lot.
Then we added Toni, our little sister, in. I’m surprised Cam didn’t run for the hills. Especially when we found out he was an only child. I wish! No, I take that back. My brothers and sisters may drive me nuts, but I love them all and wouldn’t change a thing. Our family is big, noisy, and every stereotype of Italian you can think of, but they’re mine. We may fight, but you don’t mess with us. We know how to fight back. And will.
So, anyway, this whole mess with Darcy and Cam’s ex and everything ended up being the best thing that ever happened to Pete—and me! I get to have my brother around more and Cam as a brother-in-law (eventually). And I am so glad. Cam is definitely a good person to have around. It’s a shame what he went through, but it brought him to our family so that’s all for the good.
“Pete will have my head for not feeding you,” Luc said.
Cameron groaned. “It’s no wonder you have all that exercise equipment out in the garage. With what I’ve been eating lately, I’m going to need to borrow it.”
“You? That’s absolute bunk. It’s no wonder you caught Pete’s eye.”
Cameron could feel his face heat. “Thanks. Why hasn’t some gorgeous babe captured you yet?”
“I’ve been saving myself for that someone special, but, alas, my big brother saw him first.” He put his hand theatrically to his brow, then ducked when Cameron lobbed a pillow at him.
“I’m pretty sure you don’t swing that way. Seriously, is there anyone, Luc?”
“You’re right. I don’t. But if I did….” He waggled his eyes at Cam, earning another pillow toss. “And yes, and no, to your other question. There’s a girl I’ve been dating off and on since we were in high school.”
“So what’s stopping you?”
He looked off, like he was seeing something distant. “I don’t know. I guess we’ve just gotten too comfortable with the way things are. She went away to college for a few years, then off to the old country to study art. She just got back a couple of weeks ago. I guess I didn’t think she’d feel the same way about me anymore.”
“Did you ask her?”
“No. I mean….”
Cameron threw another pillow at him. He was running low on ammunition. “Honestly, straight men are so stupid sometimes. Do you love her?”
“I guess so.” Luc stared at the floor as if it was the most fascinating thing in the world.
Cameron snorted. “Uh-uhn. There’s no ‘guess’ about love. How do you feel when she’s not around?”
“I miss her like crazy.”
“And if someone else looks at her or wants to date her?” Cam couldn’t help answering his own questions in his mind with Pete. He realized he’d never loved Jim. Been infatuated? Maybe. Jim had just been… handy. Which made him actually feel a little sorry for Darcy. She was right. He’d never asked. But it begged the question as to why Jim went after him. What did he have that Jim could want? And then there was Pete. Yeah, that was completely different. And it scared him a little. He brought his attention back to Luc as he gripped one of the pillows like he was strangling someone.
Luc looked up, eyes narrowed, mouth drawn down as if he’d eaten something rotten. “I’d have Pete arrest him, or he’d meet with an accident.”
It took Cam a second to remember what his question to Luc was. Oh. Yeah. Someone else wanting his girl. “Violence is not the answer. When you close your eyes and think about a future and a family, who’s in that picture with you?”
Luc nodded and smiled. “She is. Is that love?”
Cam grinned at him. “It isn’t indigestion. So, what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to go get you the best dinner we have, then I’m going to call the florist and order her a dozen red roses and call her.”
Cameron grinned. “So go. And Luc? Be sure to say the words to her. She needs to hear them.”
My enjoyment lately of gay romantic suspense (not normally an area I read) started with C.S. Poe’s Snow and Winter series, which by the way has a book 3 coming soon-ish (SQUEE!), and continues with what I am hoping is the beginning of a series by Vicki Reese in No Tears for Darcy.
This book was a slow burn, with Cam and Pete dancing around each other for a while, and at times, it seemed as if they didn’t trust each other. Yet, through it all, they kept finding their way back into each other’s space, and eventually heart and bed.
Pete was the protective cop, while Cam was just trying to make his way in his new life, as he worked through his grief over his mother. Cam was not helpless by any means, having spent time with the FBI, but with all the blows he’d taken emotionally, having someone to help him through, with Pete and his family all stepping up, helped keep him safe.
This was a good who-dun-it, with me wavering until the end wondering who was so obsessed with Cam. I loved that aspect of this story. There were a few suspects that could have been the stalker, and that kind of guessing always makes for a more engaging story. The author did a fantastic job of creating a thriller, with a suspect that went in several directions, always unexpected, and creating a character who the reader could see was unhinged from the beginning.
This book had a little of everything I like in this type of story, a love story with the MC’s getting their HEA, an unhinged criminal creating trouble for everyone, and a crazy family that takes over whenever their family members are threatened. There were laughs, scary moments, and love. All elements that came together in this to make for a satisfying ending.
4 pieces of eye candy
Vicki Reese has been married forever to the one person who accepts that she lives in a fantasy world most of the time. She’s even been seen at the beach building worlds for her stories. In addition to creating suspenseful situations or fantasy worlds, she is very good at boring things like writing procedures manuals and continuity spreadsheets, both of which she actually earned money doing. With a master’s in library science, she likes things organized. Okay, so her family thinks having the spice rack alphabetized is a bit much, but she has no problem finding what she needs when she needs it. And just because her extensive library is catalogued and organized by the Dewey Decimal system doesn’t mean she’s obsessive. Honest!
When not writing, Vicki can be found in the kitchen cooking up gluten free/lactose free/allergy free goodies for her family, or just watching the world go by from her front porch swing.
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