I was utterly blown away by the surprise gift of an ARC of this book from the author with my promise to provide an honest review.
Really, I might have squealed…and y’all, I don’t squeal.
Now, to be all professional and stuff…I can do that.
Wait…gimme a minute. Because I just have to say that I’ve been drooling over the blurb and cover ever since they were revealed. For me, a Rhys Ford book release is an advent with the days counted down in delightful anticipation.
Okay now…*cleansing breath*…the book and my thoughts:
Deacon Reid was born bad to the bone with no intention of changing. A lifetime of law-bending and living on the edge suited him just fine—until his baby sister died and he found himself raising her little girl.
Staring down a family history of bad decisions and reaped consequences, Deacon cashes in everything he owns, purchases an auto shop in Half Moon Bay, and takes his niece, Zig, far away from the drug dens and murderous streets they grew up on. Zig deserves a better life than what he had, and Deacon is determined to give it to her.
Lang Harris is stunned when Zig, a little girl in combat boots and a purple tutu blows into his bookstore, and then he’s left speechless when her uncle, Deacon Reid walks in, hot on her heels. Lang always played it safe but Deacon tempts him to step over the line… just a little bit.
More than a little bit. And Lang is willing to be tempted.
Unfortunately, Zig isn’t the only bit of chaos dropped into Half Moon Bay. Violence and death strikes leaving Deacon scrambling to fight off a killer before he loses not only Zig but Lang too.
Contemporary, M/M, GLBT+
204 e-book pages
Series, book 1
Edition I read:
See the book on GoodReads.
Two Things I find hot:
—Bad boys who are good men
—Nerdy types who are unaware of their appeal
Put those together and you have combustion.
Yeah, this is an explosive start to a new series.
Deacon, the bad-boy biker from the wrong side of the tracks turned business owner and father to his niece, is attempting to forge a new life of stability with all the resources he can cobble together to keep a shattered, precocious little girl safe and provide her with an upbringing the opposite of anything he knows. Something good and clean and safe. Enter Lang—the sort of geeky, mildly uptight bookstore owner with a privileged past. Together this combination of three weave together an odd-ball family and a place for them all to belong with threads of strength, compassion, love, safety, and lots of quirky humor.
The attraction between Deacon and Lang is smoldering and intense. But, it’s a good, simmering slow-burn as the world erupts around them and they work to forge a relationship. The kindness, honesty, and understanding between these two—especially in stolen moments—was palpable and sweet. The quiet and hesitant intimacy between them had me in tears a few times. For two people from vastly different worlds they just fit so completely. This is the stuff of romance that grips my soul.
The little girl, Zig, is a precocious, smart-mouthed dynamo who keeps everyone on their toes. I’m not a huge fan of children, mainly because they terrify me. Yet, when kids are in my books, I want them to be precocious, smart-mouthed dynamos full of unpredictable mischief and leaving a trail of mayhem in their wake. It amuses me into senseless giggling fits. This kid…I swear she tops all of the children I’ve encountered in books. Ever.
I’m usually pretty good at figuring out the whodunnit. But, not this time with all the well-placed red herrings. In fact, I gave up trying to figure it all out and instead rode the wave of the story.
Rhys’ writing—as always, and as I’ve grown to expect—is on point. Her character development, descriptions of setting, and creative prose are the hallmark to her gorgeously told stories. The dual plot of romance and mystery was well balanced and grounded with humor, relatability, and just the right amount of suspense.
I have no idea where we’re going in the next books of the series. But I’m up for anywhere they lead. Hopefully we’ll at least get a few more glimpses of Deacon and Lang…and especially Zig.
Review also posted on GoodReads.
Fish Stick Fridays is currently available for pre-order at Dreamspinner Press.