The Only One Who Knows by Cat Grant & L.A. Witt
Series: The Only One, Book 1
Published by: Samhain Publishing on January 7, 2014
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)
Lieutenant Josh Walker knew training to become a Navy SEAL wouldn’t be easy. But what he didn’t expect was the hard-assed Chief David Flint to push him harder than anyone else in his class. And he also didn’t expect he’d develop a mad crush on Chief Flint, either. And when the two of them wind up at the same bar on New Year’s Eve, Josh learns that for Chief Flint–David–the feeling is mutual. They launch into a brief fling, cut short by Josh completing training and shipping out.
Fast forward a few years and their paths cross again. This time David–Senior Chief Flint–is under Josh’s–Lieutenant Commander Walker’s–command. And despite all of the reasons they know they should steer clear of each other, their attraction gets the better of them. The two find themselves going around in circles about whether they can truly be in a relationship; there are rules about these things after all. And when a member of their team overhears one of their conversations and uses the information to blackmail Josh right before they deploy on a dangerous mission to North Korea, they find themselves launched on another journey: one where they must decide what they mean to each other and what they’re willing to sacrifice to keep what they have.
When I finished this book, I went back and looked at the word count. I was surprised that the number of pages seemed so much shorter than what I read. The authors have done a great job of packing a lot of action into this 220-page book. It’s paced well, the character development follows a steady and believable arc, and the background characters help bring life to the world of the story. I enjoyed this and give it a strong recommendation, especially if you like m/m military romance…
Starstruck by L.A. Witt
Series: Bluewater Bay, Book 1
Published by: Riptide Publishing on November 3, 2014
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)
Levi Pritchard moved to Bluewater Bay to retire and get away from all things Hollywood. Although he always loved acting, he loathed everything that came with it. And he disliked needing to live a certain way or keeps parts of his life a secret the most. It was more than enough to deal with on top of his alcoholic, conservative parents. So Levi finds himself conflicted when he’s offered a role on one of television’s hottest new shows being filmed right in Bluewater Bay. It would be the ultimate comeback, but even in the offer there is mention of him doing whatever it takes to make sure the old rumors about his sexuality don’t resurface. And that’s exactly the kind of thing he doesn’t want to deal with.
Carter Samuels is the hot lead on one of television’s hottest shows. He’s been open about his sexuality before he made it big in the business, so there’s no question of where his interests lie. And when he spots the man who inspired him to go into acting, Levi Pritchard, touring the set, he seizes the opportunity to track him down. And while he really does intend to just ask him for some advice, when the two hit it off and become friends, Carter can’t help wanting more. But he knows he can’t have it. Yes, there were rumors years ago, but Levi is straight. Right?
I’m not sure why it took me so long to pick up this series. I remember hearing about it when it kicked off, but I think I just had so much else to read. Of course, they’ve kicked it off with an excellent author, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that it starts off strong. I found this to be an enjoyable read. I did feel like Levi’s decisions near the end seemed a bit abrupt, but aside from that, I do give this a solid recommendation.
Title: The Distance Between Us (Distance Between Us, Book 1)
Author: L.A. Witt
Published: July 6, 2010
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher’s Website: link
After being in a relationship for a decade, Ethan and Rhett are over. But there’s a slight complication: they can’t sell the house they purchased together until they pay down the mortgage a bit. So they’re stuck living together even though they’re no longer involved. But to speed up the process of paying the mortgage, they agree to rent out a room, and they’re surprised (and feel quite lucky) to get someone like Kieran as the renter. Kieran is a bartender at one of the hottest bars in town, and it isn’t long before both Ethan and Rhett move in. Neither Ethan nor Rhett can fault the other, and Kieran doesn’t seem bothered to be spending time with each of them. And then Ethan announces that he’s interviewing for a job back home in Toronto, and the delicate balance that has built in the house just might topple over.
This was definitely a unique story–I don’t read many where the relationship is over before the book even starts. But despite not actually seeing the breakup on the page, readers should have no trouble picking up the emotions, the angst, and the complications that exist between these two. And, thankfully, it’s not exactly a predictable story, either. I found myself wanting to yell at the characters several times–especially Rhett–but they were all absolutely endearing at the same time. If you like your romance stories with a little more than the average complexity (with full knowledge that it also equates to some extra steaminess), this one is definitely for you.
Title: The Left Hand of Calvus (Warriors of Rome, Book 1)
Author: L.A. Witt
Published: November 5, 2012
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
When Saevius learns he has been sold to a Pompeiian politician to serve as a bodyguard, he is thrilled to leave his life as a gladiator behind him. But as soon as he arrives at the home of his new master, Calvus, he learns that there is something else in mind for Saevius. Calvus wants him to infiltrate the ludus of a notorious lanista, Drusus, and discover the man with whom Calvus is certain his wife is having an affair. It’s a dangerous endeavor on its own, but once the other men begin to suspect something is up with Saevius, he knows he’s not safe. And then there’s his fascination with Drusus which he can’t quite explain.
I’m such a fan of historical fiction, to be honest, and this is a specific era I find particularly fascinating (see my love of the Spartacus television series). L.A. Witt tells this story very well and there are definitely more twists here than I expected. Nothing like a little mystery wrapped into a historical romance to add to my enjoyment. The only thing that threw me off a bit is that things seemed to move very slowly until the end when it suddenly everything was really fast-paced and a few major confrontations and plot points seemed to just slide by more easily than I would have expected. That said, I do recommend this one for anyone interested in romance, historical fiction, and/or mystery.
Content warnings: discussion of past abuse and past sexual assault; violence