Author: Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 08/03/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: M/M Romance, Paranormal
As the fiercest Defense Agent at the THIRDS, Destructive Delta’s Ash Keeler is foul-mouthed and foul-tempered. But his hard-lined approach always yields results, evident by his recent infiltration of the Coalition. Thanks to Ash’s skills and the help of his team, they finally put an end to the murdering extremist group for good, though not before Ash takes a bullet to save teammate Cael Maddock. As a result, Ash’s secrets start to surface, and he can no longer ignore what’s in his heart.
Cael Maddock is no stranger to heartache. As a Recon Agent for Destructive Delta, he has successfully maneuvered through the urban jungle that is New York City, picking up his own scars along the way. Yet nothing he’s ever faced has been more of a challenge than the heart of Ash Keeler, his supposedly straight teammate. Being in love isn’t the only danger he and Ash face as wounds reopen and new secrets emerge, forcing them to question old loyalties.
Every time I read a new THIRDS book I think it can’t get any better …. But it does!
Against the Grain is the first book in the series that doesn’t concentrate on Dex and Sloane but instead we get a closer look at the often strained ‘almost relationship’ of Ash and Cael. I have to admit to liking Ash from the start. He is such a grumpy ass but he is also fiercely loyal to those he considers friends and would literally die for Cael. We have had previous insights into Ash’s childhood and subsequent treatment under Dr Shultzon but in Against the Grain we learn the true impact of his younger days and how that is keeping him from the man he loves.
Throughout the first 4 books we have got to know Cael as the quiet, cheeky and nerdy brother of Dex. He is a fun character often in the shadow of his extroverted brother but when the need arises he is not one to sit in the background and keep quiet. His love for his brother and the team is all consuming but he feels his love for Ash, a man he wants his forever with, until recently was unrequited. Now things have definitely changed between them but Cael is unsure of himself and doesn’t know how hard to push for what he wants. That uncertainty comes from his past – it seems we and also his team didn’t know him that well at all.
Against the Grain picks up right where we left off in Rise and Fall. Tony Maddox is on the war path and swinging ‘Old Betsy’ around for all her worth. The two men in his sights are the same two that are playing with both is son’s hearts and boy does he have plenty to say about it! It would appear the secrets these boys thought were well kept have been completely obvious to some people and Tony Maddox is one of those people. Before the night is over we learn Cael’s secret and when Ash walks away he feels like killing someone.
With drugs, feral shifts, strange callouts and a disappearing body there is still plenty of work and mystery for the team to concentrate on and once again it seems someone is not being honest and working for a dark cause. Although this is an important part of the story I think Against the Grain is more about personal side of things. The times spent over Thanksgiving and Christmas gave a real glimpse into their family life with Tony as the matriarch who seems to be long suffering with his two boys antics. Charlie Cochet managed to write a lot of humour and laugh out loud moments into the story to lighten up the darker moments. It also gave us a closer look at Dex and Cael’s relationship and certainly the depth of it is something even Ash has to respect. There are even some tender moments between Dex and Ash …. Whoever saw that one coming?
To survive the ending of this book they must once again work as a team and that is something they do so well! It really is unclear right up until the end who exactly is playing for which side but it does give Cael a chance to finally put to bed some of his demons.
Next up – Calvin and Hobbs – Can’t wait!
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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,
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