When Hunter and Alex are given the vacation of a lifetime, it’s a chance for them to pay attention to romance and get out of danger’s path. The tiny Caribbean island of Saba is gorgeous, the first to have marriage equality, and the Sabans are the nicest people on earth. There’s lots of rum poolside for relaxing and a room with a mirror on the ceiling for passion. Hot Karaoke nights, cold beer, and new friends.
Orfeo and Max, and Max’s sister Talisha, confide a troubling secret. Alex and Hunter want to help. As a hurricane bears down on them, a dead body surfaces and a purple backpack loaded with stolen jewels brings Derek Boyd, a jewel thief, into their lives. He wants his ex-boyfriend Max and the stolen jewels returned before the Russian mobster, who wants his wife’s jewels back, can catch up with him and exact his revenge.
Author: Heloise West
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: August 31, 2020
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Action/adventure, Established couple, Law enforcement, revenge, crime, vacation
The door closed behind the last customer, and the noisy bar returned to silence, a booze-fumed, tacky-underfoot silence where the small noises Alex made seemed twice as loud. His ears rang as he picked up the broom to sweep out the crap on the floor behind the bar.
The front door opened again, and his shoulders tensed. He cursed himself for not locking it when he’d shoved out the last drunk patron, distracted by the e-mail he’d received. A rookie mistake. He groped under the bar for the bat the owner had urged him to use if he suspected he needed to.
“Excuse me,” the man in the doorway said. He’d been in the bar earlier, an Asian man along with a rather bland, nondescript white guy.
Alex looked closer, not letting go of the bat. “We’re closed. Need me to call a cab for you?”
The man appeared innocuous, but innocuous-looking people could still be trouble. The instincts Alex had honed all those months on the run had stayed with him. Director Flint’s warnings about retaliation flashed through his mind.
The guy opened his mouth to answer Alex’s question, but someone shoved him from behind before he could speak, and he stumbled. Alex grabbed the neck of the bat.
“Didja ask him? Is it him?” The pushy friend pressed himself forward a few steps, far drunker than his buddy.
“We’re. Closed.” Alex threw some menace behind the authority in his voice and revealed the bat. The Asian man flinched and grabbed at his friend, who fished in his pocket for something.
“It’s him. You. Boy Blue,” the drunk man burbled.
Alex froze, shifting gears. He tightened his grip on the bat. Anger fueled his ass up and over the bar to land a few feet in front of the drunk who pulled out a phone, aimed it in his direction, and blinded him with the flash.
“You fucker!” Alex reached out to slap the phone away—too late, because the man had thrust it back into his pocket. Alex smacked the bat against the tiles on the floor. It made a sharp, solid noise, and they both looked at him with drunken, slow-motion surprise. “Get out before I call the cops!”
“Asshole!” The first guy grabbed his friend again, shoved him out the door, and slammed it shut behind him.
Alex locked it this time and leaned against it, heart racing. When it began to slow, he took a deep breath and another, and his temper faded. He had a date tonight, and if he didn’t move his ass, he’d be late. Cranking up Dropkick Murphys to exorcise the intruders, Alex cleaned the place out in record time. Once done, he grabbed his phone and clicked on the video text. Happy Birthday! The handmade sign filled the screen. Alex smiled.
Bare feet on their unmade bed. Hunter wiggled his toes, and Alex laughed. The phone camera traveled along Hunter’s shins to his knees, all dusted with brown and copper-tinged hair, and as he bent his left knee, the sheet fell from his muscular thigh. Hey, the pointed birthday hat covered his… Hunter stretched like a big cat, and the tip of the hat rocked as he adjusted his hips. Alex swallowed hard, mesmerized as the camera swept across Hunter’s hips and flat belly, up the opposite side of his body, past an erect pink nipple, the tattoo, and the hairy armpit, along his biceps, which he flexed, then forearm to wrist and the silver bracelet around it. Alex’s heart gave a little lurch, beating faster. His boyfriend had handcuffed himself naked to the bed for his birthday.
Oh, honey. Alex groaned, grabbed his wallet and keys from the cash register, and ran for the door.
He jogged out into the warm June night, the sky clear and sparkling over Delingham as he jumped into the car. He hoped to get home without wrecking the care while Hunter’s video replayed in his head. His blood boiled for Hunter.
He drove through the quiet streets. Alex hadn’t wanted to come back to Delingham at all, but Hunter’s family had made sure the rent got paid on his apartment. At least they had a safe place to go to when Hunter recovered from Dale Markham’s accidental gunshot wound. Dale Markham, former FBI agent, rotting in jail—someplace hot, Alex hoped, good practice for when he got to hell. Nick Truman, too, but a big black hole existed where he’d once been. Maybe they had put him in Witness Protection like Nick had hoped. The case against the two men who had murdered Alex’s uncle had become a nonissue, since before they could be taken into custody, someone had killed them.
Nothing like thinking about those things to defeat his raging hard-on, so he blasted out Dropkick Murphys again to fuel up the testosterone.
“Here I come, baby,” he murmured.
Not finding a parking spot near the apartment building set him seething and grinding his teeth. His lot in life had improved, but not his temper. He dropped the keys twice on the front stairs and made it through the door before he considered alerting Hunter. Alex texted—coming up now—and smiled to think again of Hunter there, waiting, naked, and handcuffed to the bed. They’d talked about playing like this but hadn’t got around to it yet. In the video, Hunter had kept the wounded leg covered; he hated the scar, the asymmetry where they’d taken part of the muscle during surgery. Doing better after a pretty deep depression before his physical therapist motivated him on the road to getting back in shape.
Yeah, we’re doing good.
This is book 2 in the series, and finds the guys heading for some fun in the sun. This doesn’t happen until about 40% into the book, which seemed a bit odd to me. The book is almost split into two parts. The part in Delingham, MA, and then the part on the Carribean Island. And what happens in one doesn’t seem to carry over to the other in this book. It almost felt as if it could have been a novella for the first part, and a book for the second part.
Anyway, the guys are pretty much broke, but trying to make it, while learning to live together, and live with themselves. There’s some stuff that happens in Delingham that felt out of place for me, but it definitely helped to advance Alex’s continued desire to be an FBI agent. I did find myself skimming a few areas that seemed either redundant or unnecessary.
Once they get to Saba, the book slows down some. There is a lot of getting to know, and a lot of back and forth with the people on the island, trying to get to know them (in Alex’s case, again, as he had been to the island before), and the others being afraid to tell them what their issues were. Both Alex and Hunter were trying to be friends, and to help those that needed it.
Hunter’s panic attacks begin to get worse (get that boy some help!) but all in all they are trying hard to just enjoy themselves. Things happen. Thieves are revealed, a hurricane pops up and killers are found and dealt with. Mayhem is had by all. 🙂
All in all a bit of fun. I’d call it a beach read, but as you find out in this book, Saba isn’t an island with a beach.
3.5 pieces of eye candy
Heloise West, when not hunched over the keyboard plotting love and mayhem, dreams about moving to a villa in Tuscany. She loves history, mysteries, and romance. She travels and gardens with her partner of fifteen years, and their home overflows with books, cats, art, and red wine.