A thrilling plot with a cast that made my heart squeeze.
Aidan is still recovering from the loss of his husband and FBI partner when he is assigned a new case. And a new partner. Only his new partner is in the cave – the Cyber department – and he’s attractive to boot.
Jameson Walker, aka Whiskey, loves the anonymity of the cyber world after his high-profile basketball career. That changes when he’s assigned to Aidan and thrust out into the field. Not only does he have to be out in public, he is with the irascible Aidan and the unlikely attraction he feels for the broken man.
But Whiskey’s skills with the computer may be just what Aidan needs to discover who killed his partner and husband. As Aidan slowly begins to fall for his new partner, he has to ask himself if he can let go of the guilt or if it’s too much for him to handle.
Aidan touched my soul in this book. I honestly cannot think of another book that has done that – made me cry so easily and being so aware of how hard my heart hurt. Could I swoon any harder? I didn’t think so, but when Aidan opens up when he finally takes a step towards healing with Walker, Aidan proves me wrong. Sincerity is that man’s middle name, and he has a hard time trusting or letting people in because he doesn’t want to get hurt again. Who could blame him? Losing so many people? So, the moment he lets Walker tiptoe past a defense – even for only a moment – it’s so special to see. And the language is downright poetic at times:
“What color is that?” Aidan asked, putting aside the fact Walker had seen through the disguise he’d worn for three decades.
“Autumn,” Walker answered, voice dropping an octave. “Like a pile of fall leaves back home, right after it rains. Dark brown swirled with brick red and flecks of gold.”
Coffee with a dash of Goldschlager, Gabe used to say. But damn if Walker’s description, spoken in that seductive drawl, didn’t send another flare of desire scorching through him.
Then there’s Whiskey. Aidan assumes the man, with little to no training, won’t be the right fit for the field. Boy, is he wrong! Whiskey can hack into anything and dayum, the skills on this one! He’s the sugar to Aidan’s sour, and he had the right amount of charm and cunning to get the task done. The smarts are high in this one. And the humor!
“English, Whiskey. Translate the technobabble.”
Jamie shot out a hand, snatched the pen from Aidan’s grasp, and broke it in half. “Say ‘babble’ one more time, and I’ll break something else.”
I’d also like to mention the nicknames – Whiskey and Irish. Whiskey is a southern boy and his full name, Jameson Walker, is obviously taken from the smooth, slow burn of whiskey. Then there’s Irish. Hallooo there. I need to listen to the audible for this one! Also, Aidan doesn’t realize until a third of the way through the book that Whiskey leans towards men. It’s hilarious and when Whiskey comes out, Aidan’s flabbergasted – and relieved – because holla! Whiskey knows just when to push Aidan for more and when to pull back. The balance is disarming to Aidan, and I love seeing his walls come down one-by-one.
Single Malt is book one of a three book series, so it does end on a cliffhanger. As such, the external conflict dominates while the romance is slower to build. The FBI cases take the forefront with the death of Aidan’s husband and partner always lingering in the background. It was heavy on the plot-building, but I still found the intrigue high-octane, and I was so invested in the cases. It also allowed them to build a connection, revealing one layer at a time, and it made the impact of the romance all the sweeter.
I’m excited to see how the romance develops further in book 2. Fun, jam-packed with action, and a slow burn. A good start to the series.
Preorder Your Copy! Releases 2/27:
*I was given a review copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*