Three the Hard Way by Sydney Croft ~ Book Review by Lirtle

three the hard way cover 1 Title: Three the Hard Way

Author: Sydney Croft

Publisher: Riptide

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Rating: 3.25 of 5 Stars

Blurb:

Lovers Taggart Brody and Justice McKinney possess special abilities that make them valuable to agencies who employ—or enslave—people with extraordinary talents. When tragedy tears them apart, Justice finds purpose working for the good guys: ACRO, the super-secret Agency for Covert Rare Operatives. But he never forgets Taggart or the past they once shared.

Heartbroken, Taggart runs from who he is . . . right into the arms of Ian Bridges. But Ian, battling his own demons, betrays Tag to the terrorist organization Itor. After months of torture, Tag manages to escape, but kills an ACRO agent in the process.

With nowhere left to turn, Tag disappears into the Alaskan wilderness, but it’s only a matter of time before his enemies track him down. He reaches out to Justice, and somehow Ian finds him too, hoping to right his wrongs. With ACRO and Itor both bearing down, the three men must figure out how to forgive, how to work together, and how to love each other—or the coming battle will destroy them all.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Twenty percent of all proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the It Gets Better Project.

The It Gets Better Project’s mission is to communicate to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth around the world that it gets better, and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them. Visit their website for more information and to find out how you can get involved: http://itgetsbetter.org/pages/about-it-gets-better-project.

Lirtle’s View:

Taggart – known as Tag – and Justice have been friends, and more, since they were kids, blood brothers. As an adult, Justice has been an agent for Agency for Covert Rare Operatives, aka ACRO, a place for people with enhanced abilities like his, and Tag’s. Taggart has not. His journey has been quite different since the day that changed both of their lives forever.

There’s the giant twitchy rub, the one that angers Justice when he thinks about Tag not joining him, leaving Justice and abandoning their blood oath. Enter: tension, and my curiosity.

Of course, Taggart sees it all mighty differently. In his mind, and heart, Justice abandoned him when he joined ACRO. On the surface, and evidenced by his actions, Justice is the one who has essentially been living up to his name, while Tag’s life has been controlled by those who wanted to use him for anything but justice, and did.

What would happen when these two saw each other again after having been separated these last few years? How would they react to each other? Hurt, anger, sadness, love?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, er cold, dreary, metal cabin…

Pleasure streaked through him, erasing all that emotionally charged bullshit in his head…

Amen to that.

I like being dropped into a story at a point when the difficult, mixed history of a friendship or relationship has both people struggling. That appeared to be the case here with Tag and Justice.

The set up for this story is rather improbable and very convenient, but it still made me smile. Not everything has to be serious and realistic, amiright? Especially when you’re dealing with ultra-alphas growling and snarling at each other, all while speaking on love, injured love, in the wake of an avalanche. I was grinning at what felt like was going to be some ridiculous fun. Let the games begin!

Welp, the games devolved into not much of a plot of which to speak. We’re told about ACRO and Itor (the baddie yang to the out-for-justice ACRO yin), we’re told about the history between these characters, we’re told about the danger and consequences. Told. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel much of the intended tension.

Taggart and Justice are the supposed leads in this story and Ian is painted as the outsider to an extent. Gotta tell ya, Ian was easily the most intriguing of the three. Each time he’s alone with his own thoughts, taking emotional and motivational stock, I was interested. These were usually short scenes. As for Tag and Justice, I understood the facts of their lives and friendship and love. What I didn’t was feel all of that. I was told things that were meant to make me feel the connection but there was a tonal lack of emotion for me. Again, the exception was Ian. Connection made.

The writing itself is good, with an ease and confidence that comes through in the portrayal of the distinct personalities of the characters. These authors know these guys well, but maybe that’s the problem. I want to know them as well as you clearly do, but the storytelling didn’t get me there. There are a stumbles in the form of repeated words in single sentences and phrases in single paragraphs. Otherwise, a good job is done on switching points of view clearly and each one feeling unique.

There is sex, lots of sex. Tag and Justice. Tag and Ian. Tag & Justice & Ian. There are moments that inject some emotion and work to make me believe in their connections between each other, but if I’m to buy into this arrangement, despite everything we know about their pasts, there needed to be more than sex to bolster the idea. I think the other issue is that nothing is left unsaid; it’s all spelled out, whether in dialogue or thought. That translates to a rather shallow reading experience for me.

Now, when you’re in the mood for mucho sexo, hell yeah, this is a book waiting for you. Three alphas, all struggling for and relinquishing some power as they try to work out this thing between them all, rummaging around in uber-alpha central. They work out that thing through sex, by the way, with a few tender moments in between. 😉

Story wise, this is a 2.5 for me.
Alpha male sexcapade wise, this is a 4.0
Average is then 3.25.

Go forth and have some fun with these alpha agents because they’ve got some fun lined up for you. 🙂

Twenty percent of all proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the It Gets Better Project.

Buy Links

Riptide
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks
iTunes / iBooks
Barnes & Noble
Kobo US

This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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