Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Pages: 79
Date: 28/01/2014
Grade: 4+
Details: Received from Riptide Publishing
            Through Love Romances and More
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“Two seasoned operatives finally meet their match: each other. 

Cillian works for the mysterious Special Branch 20: an organization that runs black ops commissioned by the British government. His specialty is deep undercover assignments with virtually no support. He’s been alone for so long that he no longer knows anything else. 

Mal’s also used to being alone. Wanted in several states and even more countries, he’s not allowed in the vicinity of any of his former Navy SEAL teammates. And his current assignment is to track Cillian in order to discover the spook’s endgame. Except he’s no longer sure which one of them is getting played. 

Cillian isn’t about to let the mission that’s consumed him for the past several years crumble because an outsider is poking around where he doesn’t belong. But Mal forces his way through Cillian’s defences—and into his heart—exposing a devastating betrayal that could destroy them both.”


My thoughts:

The first word I see when I open this book is ‘Amsterdam’; a great start considering I lived there for over 30 years. I have to admit that even though the city isn’t described in any detail and I couldn’t tell you exactly where the story plays out, the fact that it’s set there did give this book an extra edge.

Not that this story wasn’t edgy enough without the added interest. In fact, I think the word edgy was invented to describe books like this. Mal and Cillian, two undercover agents, are both chasing the same man be it for different and personal reasons.
While Mal knows who Cillian is and more or less what he is up to, Cillian has no idea who or what Mal is. When contact between the two men is established it takes place almost exclusively through Instant Messaging. It is also highly sexual in nature, with both of them vying for domination over the other while secretly graving the potential of submission.

Mal may have some advantages over Cillian because he knows more about his opponent than Cillian knows about him, neither of them knows enough to prevent shocking revelations. Revelations that come after the men have found a need for each other they can neither explain nor deny, no matter how much they might want to. Revelations that will shock the reader and create an urgent need for the next book in what appears to be a trilogy.

This was a very well written story. The tension starts on the first page and doesn’t let up for a moment. In fact, that tension had only gotten stronger by the time I read the last word in this novella. And it is a tension that exists on all levels of this story. It is never completely clear who knows what. There is the mystery as to who is killing Cillian’s informers. And then there is the sexual tension between these two men; a tension so hot it steams of the page both during their online encounters and when they’re together.

These two men are very similar and more than a match for each other. They also seem to be made for each other, if only they weren’t on opposite sides of the same mission. I can’t wait to see how the rest of this story is going to unfold and can only hope it won’t be too long until ‘Dirty Lies’ comes out.

After I requested this book for review but before I read it I discovered this book ties into previous titles by this author – The Hell or High Water series – which I haven’t read. Don’t let that stop you from picking up this book right now. At no point while reading this novella did I feel as if I was missing vital information. In fact, if I hadn’t seen somebody else mention this fact in a review, I would never have guessed there were earlier, connected books.

I also didn’t realise this wasn’t a stand-alone title when I requested it. The way this story ends makes that fact perfectly clear though. The author leaves us with an unexpected and shocking cliff-hanger, but it wasn’t one that bothered me (and trust me I’m not a fan of cliff-hangers in general).
Although I’m more than ready to find out what happens next and can’t wait for the sequels, I have to say the story ended with perfect timing. My curiosity is well and truly awakened and my mind is running riot, trying to come up with all the possible future scenarios. Somehow I feel that whatever my mind may conjure up for me, S.E. Jakes will still manage to surprise me.

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