I do really like the high intensity of the law enforcement partners-turned-lovers trope in m/m romance. It gets the blood pumping to see two alpha, physically honed men turn their fire and focus from mortal danger to stirring pleasure. When one or more is suffering from some emotional trauma, for me, that’s even better. This is my first book in AE Via’s Nothing Special series, which is devoted entirely to cops in a narcotics task force who find love with other men. Each book features a different couple, and while the characters overlap, this works fine as a standalone.
Ruxs and Green were supposed to be the straight guys on the team. Well, at least it seemed that way because they only dated women. Green is actually bisexual. It’s just that he hasn’t had much time lately for dating. Ruxs, on the other hand, has always been straight. But lately, it’s been getting harder and harder for him to ignore the growing attraction he’s been feeling toward his partner. He tries to push it down, believing there is no way Green could ever return his feelings. But it’s always there, simmering in the background.
Poor Ruxs is also dealing with some mommy issues. His mom is a crackhead who treats him horribly. He tries so hard to help her. She is just not interested. And when she actually physically attacks him, he hits an all time low, needing Green more than ever. He finally shows how he feels, and from there, nothing stands in the way of these two making a go of it. The story follows them as their relationship intensifies and as Green moves to adopt Curtis, a teenage boy who has been a recurring character in the series.
For the most part, I enjoyed the book. Ruxs is pretty miserable and I liked seeing how Green filled the hole in his heart, making him finally feel wanted and loved. Green is a little less explored as a character. He seems to be a pretty regular guy with nothing remarkable in his past. He serves as the balm to poor Ruxs; the steady one, who knows what he is doing in love and sex. It’s not so much that something is lacking with him, but that he seems more reactionary to Ruxs than the reason why anything happens.
I liked these two together. I liked the scene that revealed Ruxs’ feelings, but I have to say that I might have rolled my eyes once or twice before we got to that point. Like when Ruxs made it a thing about them saying each other’s names… or random straight guy oil-massages. This happens somewhere in real life? Moving on. I thought the sexual elements were well done: hot and detailed, without taking over the book. I appreciate the realism of dealing with a newbie to the physical elements of a gay relationship. But I have to say I felt a little less realism on the emotional side of that coin. I am always a tiny bit skeptical of a gay-for-you story line; and that is compounded when the formerly straight guy has no freak-outs at all about such a massive life change.
There is stuff happening in the background to help the story move along. A big drug deal. Stuff with Ruxs’ mom. Adopting Curtis. I liked Curtis and seeing Green’s feelings for him helped round out the character a little. But we jumped into the “son” and “dad” bit fast for me. And Curtis is gay? Is everyone gay in this group? Is something in the water? I know that in a traditional m/f series with rotating romantic leads, the authors have to pull from a recurring pool of people to keep the world building consistent and familiar. But that all of these task force cops are gay, their brothers, their sons… it strains credibility. A lot. I really had to fight with myself to let that go.
Despite my nitpicks, I did enjoy the romance overall. I cared about poor Ruxs and his messed up life. He and Green really do work well as a couple. Yeah, it’s kind of easy, but it’s also hot and it’s satisfying.
*ARC provided by author for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
Here Comes Trouble
by AE Via
Release Date: November 28, 2014