State trooper Brandt’s new assignment to infiltrate a sex-cam operation puts him in a very uncomfortable position, especially since he’ll have to perform naked on camera for his audition. Fortunately his partner and best friend, Donnelly, has his back—whether that means helping Brandt shop gay boutiques for sexy underwear or offering Jäger and encouragement while he researches porn.
Despite his mortification, Brandt gives the audition his best “shot”—and becomes an overnight sensation. But to meet the man behind the operation, he’ll have to give a repeat performance, this time live on webcam opposite the highest bidder. Donnelly makes sure to win that auction for his partner’s sake, but their plan has a flaw: faking it is not an option.
In the aftermath, Brandt is a humiliated mess trying desperately to come to terms with what he’s had to do for the job and his own mixed feelings. But Donnelly has been on a journey of discovery of his own. Suddenly everything the two men thought they knew about themselves and each other gets turned inside out. Meanwhile, they still have a case to solve… but it may not be the case they thought it was.
BUY LINK: Dreamspinner
I’ve wanted to read this book since the first time I saw it on Dreamspinners’ coming soon page. With cops and the friends-to-lovers theme, it was a sure addition to my TBR pile.
As I sit here nearly a day after having finished, I’m still not sure what rating to give it. I’ve settled on a 4 because instead of this just being a stereotypical story, I think the style of writing and some of the events could really spark some interesting debates.
On one hand, I think there are quite enough differences to make this unique in the gay-for-you category. On the other hand, there were a few plot and POV decisions that had me scratching my head.
There are many reviews on goodreads that will point out how much fun all of the characters are. They also point out the heavy head hopping that dominates the second half of the book. There is definitely a need to suspend a little disbelief when reading this story.
What I’d like to talk about is how straight the main characters are, especially Brandt, whose POV we are in for the majority of the story. A lot of the time gfy stories include repressed feelings and desires … and I think there may have been a very teeny-tiny bit of that here … but very little.
Normally I would be on board for anything new that bucks the trend. But the way Brandt is described, how he acts, what he says about himself, and the extensive amount of inner dialogue within the first 50% portray a VERY straight man. I didn’t see a man opening up to his feelings for his friend. If anything, I saw a man learning to enjoy the attention and spotlight even if it meant is was coming from other men. And again, that was only a small part of the 1st half of the book.
For the most part Brandt seemed utterly disgusted, almost to the point of being offensive. To some extent I was glad to see a more honest portrayal of a straight cop thrown into a sticky situation, but as it got deeper into the story I found it irritating. There was no growth, no understanding, no revelation.
I enjoyed Donnelly being his cop partner; their shopping trips were hysterical. Are the sales staff in gay shoppes really that “hands on” during fittings? Maybe, maybe not. I enjoyed the scenes for their pulp feel, a little throwback to some of the earlier gay fiction. And I really, really liked the character of Nick. In fact, even though I knew ahead of time that Brandt and Donnelly were going to hook-up, I was really pulling for Brandt to pick Nick. Any smidgen of growth and affection Brandt displayed in the 1st half of the book was because of or directed towards Nick, not Donnelly.
Once the AHA moment happens for Brandt and Donnelly, the entire story shifts to sex with a side of sex. The case they were working on disappears from the page as both men embrace their new found – and very sudden – attraction, admitting their love for each other. Too much fluff for my taste, but I really think the romantics are going to enjoy this part.
By the time the case is brought up again, the holes are plugged quickly and the result is nothing like I expected. I wish it had been a little more developed, but I applaud the creative spin.
All in all, I encourage people to pick this story up. It was nothing like I expected but has really kept me thinking. I’d be interested to hear what others think.