Author: Clare London
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: MM Contemporary
Narrator: Michael Pauley
Tanner Mackay and Niall Sutherland were once far more than just fellow intelligence agents. But then a mission went horribly wrong and everything fell apart, sending Tanner into hiding and splitting the team and their affair wide apart.
Now an unknown traitor is threatening the team, and their ex-boss is determined to reunite them before it’s too late. She finds Tanner in a run-down trailer park, bringing with her a most unwelcome refugee in need of temporary sanctuary: Niall, the man he thought he’d never have to face again. The man he’s sure feels exactly the same in return.
Trapped in a situation that’s both claustrophobic and highly dangerous, Tanner and Niall will have to revisit their past and reconsider their perceptions, their loyalties-and their desires-in order to survive, let alone forge a future together.
I realized after I started this audiobook that I had read this story a long time ago and had vowed never to read further in the series if the author took this misfit group of secret agents into additional stories. But, that was early in my MM reading experience, and since I clearly had forgotten the story and my tastes have changed, I decided to keep going. Well, no, apparently my tastes have not changed enough. Or at least, not for this story. In fact, since I didn’t care for the narration, I’m going to be marking this lower than I did for the e-book.
First of all, I never warmed to either of the MCs. Both were churlish, childish, immature jackasses, who were extremely whiny and highly unlikely to ever reach a level of professionalism that would earn them their positions with a supposedly elite undercover covert government operation.
The entire story premise was rather bizarre, and the fact that the group was broken up as quickly as it was speaks of how incapable all of the agents really were. And since the present time frame occurs over a 72-hour period, the back story of the agency, the operation, and the romance between the two principal characters had to be filled in with numerous and frequent flashbacks that were very difficult to follow. They also didn’t seem to be in sequential order, but it’s hard to say because as I was trying to grasp what the narrator was saying and who was speaking (see below), I suddenly found myself back in the present, not realizing the flashback was over.
Narrator Michael Pauley did not distinguish clearly between Tanner and Niall’s voices so it was very difficult to follow, especially during the high drama scenes. And I didn’t care for the voice he did use for the men. It’s hard to clearly describe a voice, except to say it always sounded desperate, even when the scene didn’t call for desperation.
I also found it difficult to believe in the romance between the two men who start the 72-hour period as past boyfriends, now enemies, and end up finally declaring their love for each other. To be honest, neither character was endearing, and after they had a few sexcapades and decided to stay together, I really didn’t care.
And one last point—toward the end of the story, within what appeared to be minutes, certainly no more than a half hour, after the final dramatic showdown, when they wanted to question the man they had caught, Judith explained that he’d been taken away to be questioned by federal agents at an inaccessible location. Hello? If the team is so secret, why call in the feds to interrogate the guy who tried to destroy it? Wouldn’t they want to do the interrogation themselves? And how secret could it be if the feds show up to take him away for exposing the secret team? I just found that to be poor plot development.
So no, I don’t recommend this story either in e-book or audio format. It was okay for someone looking for a fast-paced, complex story, but if you’re into stories that are more reality based or have a decent romance, just pass.