Review: Survival Game (Men of London #9)

Author: Susan Mac Nicol
Reviewer: Natalie
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing
Genre: MM

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: Since his true love died, paramedic Eric Kirby has been living a half life, but when he meets purple-haired Kyle Tripper, Eric’s heart is jolted into a whole new rhythm.

HANDLE…

Kyle Tripper has led an interesting life. Currently the manager of London’s famous Club Delish, he used to be a croupier extraordinaire in Las Vegas. But not everything in that life was so glamorous; his ex was a piece of work. Now gun-shy, Kyle hopes there is someone special out there for him, and secretly wishes it’s luscious paramedic, Eric Kirby.

WITH CARE

Every day Eric Kirby goes through the motions. Yeah, he saves lives, and, sure, he makes a difference, but he doesn’t feel it anymore – not since he lost his one true. But, when he meets wild, flamboyant Kyle Tripper and learns there’s a skittish, apprehensive man beneath the bold façade, the best of Eric’s protective nature kicks in, and opens his heart to a new love.

Review: Susan Mac Nicol certainly knows how to write hurt/comfort and strong character driven plots. This ninth entry in the Men of London series is Kyle’s story, the manager of Ryan’s nightclub, Club Delish. The initial chapters run concurrently with book 8, although this stands alone quite well. But there’s also glimpses and mentions of several other characters from the series and those books are well worth reading. When Kyle and Eric get together, it’s a slow burn romance, as both have conflicting work schedules, between Kyle’s club hours and Eric’s job as a paramedic. Both men have troubling experiences in their pasts, and getting details from each guy’s POV, made it easy to empathize with them individually. It takes a lot of time for them to share their secrets.
Although Kyle’s history is traumatic, Eric’s memories create the most conflict, as he internalizes far more than even Kyle does. His job is also a big factor in how he relates to Kyle, and how he thinks. The relationship remains kind of tentative through most of the narrative, between the lack of time spent together and the obstacles of their own emotions. There was sex, although not a great deal of it and not the most passionate of scenes. I did have some trouble becoming invested in them as a couple. Their time apart was distracting, between Kyle and events at the club, Eric and crises on the job, plus lots of dialogue with other friends. The romance and strong emotion that I wanted to feel seemed to become lost in the action. I do think the slower pace in committing to each other reflected more realism than the instant love cure, seen in too many other stories. Their independent choices to find help was a nice touch, too. Susan’s fans and those who follow the series will quite enjoy it, as will anyone who prefers their angst without excess drama, and with conflicts that are realistic, with proper solutions and no clichés. Recommended.

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