Review: Brandon Witt – Vodka & Handcuffs (Mary’s Boys #2)

51HcalGturLAuthor: Brandon Witt
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★½☆ 


Vahin Arora, Hamburger Mary’s sexy bartender, plays the flirtatious role so well even his closest friends—his chosen family at Mary’s—don’t realize Vahin hasn’t had a hookup in months. Then Tall, Dark, and Handsome steps through the door, and Vahin’s libido races back to life.

Being a black cop on the Denver police force is no easy job—Marlon Barton can’t imagine adding being gay to the equation. And while Marlon loves his work as an officer, his life has taken a turn for the hellish because of his new partner, the nephew of a senator.

Fleeing his partner’s company one night, Marlon stumbles into Mary’s for the first time… and wakes up with a hangover in the bartender’s bed. The one-night stand heats up into a budding romance, but not without stress as Marlon’s partner’s actions threaten Vahin’s livelihood and Marlon’s future on the force. Can Vahin and Marlon face the challenges and hold on to the love, friendship, and family they’ve found?


Marlon Brandon is a cop with a problem—his partner Andrew—a bigoted spoiled brat whose uncle is a senator and who was given to Marlon because no one else would be able to tolerate his bigotry and keep him in line. What a reward! The last straw in a long day leads him to head out with his buddies to a local bar, but when he discovers Andrew is with them, he veers off and goes to Hamburger Mary’s instead. Fate intervenes when he walks in the door and spies the very stunning, dark-skinned bartender who takes his breath away.

Vahin Arora has stopped playing the hookup role his friends assume he thrives on, but when he looks up and sees the gorgeous, muscular black man coming through the door, he’s struck speechless and may just have to reconsider his thoughts on hookups.

Their one-night stand turns into two when Marlon asks Vahin on an actual date and the two find much in common along with the definite chemistry that flares between them. But Marlon’s homophobic and bigoted partner finds a way into Marlon’s personal life as he shows up in time to “catch” Vahin—who appears Muslim—serving liquor to a minor. Though a fairly obvious setup and something Vahin normally wouldn’t ever allow to happen on his shift, his distraction over Marlon’s behaviors from the previous day leads him right into Andrew’s trap.

The story is mostly about Marlon coming to terms with being outed at work, accepting his sexuality, keeping his professionalism in the face of bigotry (against him and others), and of course, finally falling in love with a man he’d like to take home to meet his parents.

Vahin is a sweetheart, and fully supported by the staff at Mary’s, who form his extended family. It was easy to like his character right from the beginning, and though I liked Marlon, it took me longer to really warm up to him.

A sweet and fairly simple love story, this one would make a great beach read or the kind of book I’d like to curl up by a fire with on a cold winter day.


Dreamspinner Press 

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