Amazon • B&N • Narrator: Mark Westfield
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
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.
Ash Keeler and Cael Maddock have been one of the closest friends in the Destructive Delta team from the onset of this series. This book finally deals with up and down dynamic of Ash and Cael (shall I call them Ash-el or maybe Cash?).
First of all, I want to say that I have enjoyed their relationship the most in this series. There is almost an effortless magnetism and care that they have for each other. It just makes me smile how sweet they are to each other. I blame the audio version for lessening my enjoyment (and rating) of their story. If I continue this series, it won’t be on audio. The narrator really emasculates these supposedly alpha shifters. The whiny sound just doesn’t work for me as it makes grown men sound like college frat boys.
The actual story was interesting. I enjoyed learning about Ash’s family because it did explain Ash’s reluctance to commit to Cael. It wasn’t a great rationale, but I appreciate knowing where the hesitancy stemmed from. Cael’s past was a complete surprise to me but Cael’s dad Tony was the biggest surprise. The fact that Tony went all “if you hurt my son” on Ash, was very endearing. You can tell Cael is loved by his dad and big brother very much. It is an established THRIDS fact that Ash and Cael love each other. The rest of this book is navigates the path to them actually being together. I will admit that I didn’t need the sex because I loved the little things they did for each other. The naps together, the food, the touches on the face, ruffling of hair—those cute things are what made Ash and Cael special to me. But I am glad that Cael got to a point where he didn’t need a protector anymore; he stood up for himself and can be a partner in every way to Ash, and vice versa. Now they can get back to just being so sweet to each other.
My issues, other than the experiments (*rolls my eyes), is that I don’t know if the author intends to do this, but in each couple dynamic, there is a female acting partner i.e. Dex in his relationship and here it’s Cael. They are quite effeminate and it’s just a little perplexing having a bunch of grown men constantly calling each other sugar, sweetheart, babe etc. It doesn’t jive with my mental image of strong feline warriors.
Also, thank you to Special Agent Sparks for restoring some of my faith in Destructive Delta leadership. I was annoyed that no one knew about all these hookups in Destructive Delta. But I was wrong. She saw it all. So they aren’t completely incompetent over there.
All in all, it’s the same kind of humor we have enjoyed in the previous four books, so if you liked those books, you will probably like this one. I am looking forward to reading about Calvin & Hobbs soon.
*Special thanks to Dreamspinner for the audiobook for review.