I enjoyed Serve & Protect - the first book in this series - and when I read the summary for this one, I just knew that I had to read it. Second-chance romance is like a catnip for me. Dangle it in front of me and I usually will be very tempted to read it. Plus the cover promises interracial couple, which I always welcome as part of romance-diversity.
Well, I will say that this is my favorite Linden’s book so far. It’s not without flaws though – and for me, thy name is Adam Davis. I am very certain that Adam will not be most reader’s favorite boyfriend of the year. Actually, he’s not mine either. He clearly hurts Michael not once but twice. He sabotages his relationship with Michael over personal fear that sounds both unfounded and weak. He doesn’t do enough groveling and maybe, just maybe, Michael deserves a lot better.
BUT, I cannot deny that I loved this book despite Adam’s misgivings. I thought that Linden has written a quite convincing second-chance story. I believed in the awkwardness and tentativeness of their first meeting after ten years. I believed in the progress of becoming friends again after all these years. I also thought that Linden wrote the past and present time – for us to see how Adam and Michael became best friends during their childhood – quite seamlessly. It didn’t disrupt the story for me, in fact it gave me understanding towards both characters and how they arrived as they were right now.
And I LOVED, LOVED Michael Lorne. I loved him when he was just a ten-year-old boy with broken arm who found a best friend one summer. I loved him when he was teenager coming out as gay to Adam and his parents. I loved him when he fell in love with Adam and navigated that first intimate moments. I loved him when he was heartbroken. I loved him when he was an adult man who was still in love with his best friend. I simply loved his heart and his soul. Somehow, my love for Michael helped me throughout the book when Adam reacting like an ass. I know that it should’ve actually made me hate Adam more – but I couldn’t dislike the book as overall because I loved Michael too much. Does that even make sense?
So I thought this was a good second-chance romance. I liked that the steam level was also moderate – so this was a story driven by the plot and characters rather than the sex. My love towards Michael elevated my reading experience too. I was somehow could be convinced that Adam would treat Michael like his precious from on. Or his grandfather would probably swat his bum *laugh*. Oh, yes, Adam’s grandfather is probably another favorite character of mine here.
In addition to all that, I also need to state my appreciation towards the setting. I usually avoid politic in my romance. Politic is usually messy and manipulative, and for LGBT romance tends to be, well homophobic. But the political situation in this series seem to stay in the positive sight. Nobody raise a ruckus over the fact that both Chief of Staff and his Secret Service agent are gay. The political issue that is front and center in this one is more about budget problem and none about the sexuality of the political players. I really, really, like that.
One more thing, while Megan Linden herself has reassured readers that all these titles are stand-alone, I kindly advise that you try the first book prior reading this one. There are recurring characters making appearance, and I’m sure characters in this book will probably be the main couple in the third book. It is always nice to be with familiar faces when you read series from beginning to end, I think.