Love is a Stranger by John Wiltshire
Series: More Heat than the Sun, Book 1
Published by: MLR Press on May 16, 2014
Rating: 4 stars (★★★☆☆)
Ex-SAS soldier Ben Rider never expected that when he joined a secret intelligence department that he would fall in love with his boss. After all, Sir Nikolas Mikkelsen is married to a beautiful woman, but he’s so intriguing that Ben doesn’t really stand a chance. He might feel bad about carrying on an affair with a married man, but he’s never felt anything as intensely as what he feels for Nik. But the life of a shadow operative is a dangerous one, and things can change so quickly one doesn’t know where to turn. And when such a turn happens that might allow Ben and Nik more time together, Ben is cautiously optimistic. He really shouldn’t dismiss the cautious part of that optimism, though, because he beings to realize more and more that he really doesn’t know much about Nik at all. Well, except that he knows Nik is his soulmate. But is that enough to look past any dark secrets that might be lingering in Nik’s past?
I had a hard time putting this one down. There’s such a great combination of relationship development between these two and suspenseful plot elements, that when I wasn’t caught up in Ben and Nik, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for what would happen next. There’s some complex history that lingers underneath the surface for both of these guys, and neither of them is really willing to confront it. And even when Ben does start to learn the truth, I felt like his reaction was very authentic and made a lot of sense for him as a character.
The only thing that really bugged me about this one–and it’s what brought this very quickly down from four stars to three stars–is the ending. There is a great deal of build toward the ending–chapters, even–and then it cuts off RIGHT before what should be the climax of that aspect of the plot. I know this is part of a series, but it was such an abrupt ending that it was jarring; it didn’t really feel like a cliffhanger, either. It would have been smoother to cut it off a bit sooner and leave some lead in to start the next book.