Ante Up – Charlie Cochet

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Author: Charlie Cochet
Series: Four Kings Security #2.5

Pages: 41

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Look but don’t touch. That’s the rule concerning dancers at Sapphire Sands, the prestigious members-only nightclub where Seth works at as a bartender. Seth has never had a problem following the rules until the day one of the dancers falls into his lap. Literally.

Kit loves his job dancing at Sapphire Sands. Every day his job brings him closer to his dream of opening his own dance studio, so risking it all on the hot bartender is not an option. Or is it?

My last book of the year 2018. I’ve been busy this last days, so the review comes a bit later than planned, but… here I am!! Trying to write something about a short story that won’t leave a mark in my life.

In this story we follow Seth, a bartender in the Sapphire Sands club, and Kit, one of the dancers (the kind of dancer who uses few pieces of clothing…). There is a really strict rule about working not dating dancers, so they found themselves in a tight situation with the boss…

The story is plain. It seemed the main characters were going to have a bigger problem for breaking the golden rule about not dating. Frank is even presented as kind of an ogre that would eat them alive if they show any kind of personal relationship. But in the end… it wasn’t that bad. The boss even comes up with a solution without making a big fuss of the situation, so in the end the story feels a bit hollow.

There is also not enough time to make me a fan of any of the characters. I guess I prefer Seth. He looks like a good guy and, well, I’m not going to deny that the descriptions of his body also helps to put him on top of the list… It’s such a short story that I won’t apologize for being a bit shallow. I’ll alawys save whatever I can of a book to grant it higher marks.

This story is included in the Four Kings Security saga. Do not expect any mention of the previous books or any appearance of the guys (no Ace, no fun :_( ). The only point in common is the club itself that was mentioned in the first book. Yes, that weird club for elite gay men. Waaay to peculiar for my taste, if you ask me.

I wanted to cramp another book before the end of the year, but the crazy Christmas schedule at home has kept me from fulfilling that goal. But that also means that I’m starting the year with a book by the fabulous Teagan Hunter, so… :).

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2018 – Book Gallery

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Be Still My Heart – Charlie Cochet

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Author: Charlie Cochet
Series: Four Kings Security #2

Pages: 306

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Former Special Forces medical sergeant Russell “Red” McKinley knows a thing or two about wounds, like the fact some can take a lifetime to heal, if they heal at all. The scars Red carries run deep, and living with PTSD often means battling the memories of his past. Injuries he received while working an executive protection case with fellow Kings and co-owners of Four Kings Security, have once again forced past heartaches to the surface, but Red is determined not to let it derail his blossoming romance with sweet and sexy fashion photographer Lazarus Galanos.

Laz can’t deny there’s something special developing between him and Red, but Laz has wounds of his own. He’s hesitant to jump into a new relationship after his recent explosive breakup. Experience has taught Laz to doubt his judgement when it comes to men. Guys who seem too good to be true, usually are, and no one appears more perfect than Red.

When an attempt is made on Laz’s life, Red is determined to keep him safe. Laz may not be a client, and Red is still off duty, but Laz is one of their own, and nothing means more to the Kings than family. While an investigation is underway, Red and Laz are growing closer, but can they find a way to help each other heal and take a chance on love, or will their fears and insecurities cost them more than their future together?

Several months ago, I read the first book of Four Kings Security and I really enjoyed it. Not only the book, the author’s style was also almost totally attuned with what I want to find in a book of this kind. So, reading the second book before the end of the year was a must. Charlie is little by little climbing my list of favourite authors.

This time the story focuses on Red and Laz. After the accident in Colton’s party, they haven’t talked to each other again. But Ace is such an awesome friend that he had to bring the two of them together again. Too bad that happens at the same time an attempt against Laz’s life is carried out. Thankfully, Red’s big back was there to cover him and take him to a safe place. During the investigation, Red proclaims himself Laz’s defender against all evil and the romance begins…

I finished the review of the previous book saying that I wasn’t very happy about the relationship snippets the author inserted. Red and Laz looked a bit… boring. I have to admit that every character is boring if you put him side by side with Ace. That character is beyond awesome, so the rest pale in comparision. I knew that, so I read this book with an open mind. Yes, the main couple doesn’t make me laugh as much as the previous one, but they have their own strengths. Red is such a big softie!! I can’t believe he was single until now. The way he invests himself in the relationships, even in the worst moments, makes me want to kidnap him. The other half is a bit… meh. Laz’s insecurity is too big to swallow sometimes. Overall it is a romance I have enjoyed, despite the lack of sparks in some situations.

The story of this second book is better. The execution also has less black holes, but there are still some parts that doesn’t work. The author is very good misleading the reader. I was already gathering the wood to assemble the pyre to burn Bryan, one of the most annoying character I have met in a book. He being the bad one would have been perfect, but I prefer being surprised as I have been with this book. His time will come sooner or later. It is the big revelation that doesn’t fit very well with the plot. I love the unexpected of it, but I’m also struggling to make sense of it. Maybe the final actions were out of desperation and plain stupidity? It could happen…

The supporting characters on this book shine brighter than in the previous one. OK. I’m not impartial there. Ace is one of them. Every time he is on the spotlight the book gets so funny that I can’t stop smiling. I wish there were some kind of spin-off starred by him, because I can’t get enough of him. But he is not the only great character in this book. We get to know a little bit more of Mason and, let me tell you, I have enjoyed every single detail about him. His cocky flexing at the end… That was cruel!! It seems that Lucky and Mason are going to be a thing… So far, it’s a very explosive one (yelling and almost punching each other), so I hope it gets better. I’m not in the mood for an unhealthy relationship…

The book is one step behind of perfection. The romance and the banter is usually spot on, but the mystery needs some polishing. I will obviously keep reading the saga. The next is a short story with a couple of characters that I’m not sure we have met. Maybe a cameo in the previous one, but I don’t remember them.  It looks like I could skip it, but I hate skipping so I will read it anyway.

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2018 – Book Gallery

Love in Spades – Charlie Cochet

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Author: Charlie Cochet
Series: Four Kings Security #1

Pages: 268

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Ex-Special Forces soldier Anston “Ace” Sharpe is fighting a different battle these days—one involving the world of private security across the state of Florida. As part owner of Four Kings Security, Ace and his fellow Kings tackle everything from armed transport and investigations to cyber intelligence and executive protection. Cocky, fearless, and brash, Ace isn’t afraid to take risks.

After years of working alongside his father, Colton Connolly is ready to take the helm at Connolly Maritime, but his father’s retirement is put on hold when Colton begins receiving death threats. If that isn’t bad enough, his father signs a contract with Four Kings Security to provide Colton with round-the-clock protection, despite his adamant refusal. Colton’s life has been turned upside down, the last thing he needs is a shadow, especially in the form of infuriating, sexy-as-sin Ace Sharpe, who seems to be on a mission to drive Colton mad.

Sparks fly the moment Colton and Ace meet on a sultry night club dance floor. But getting involved with a client, even one as fiery and beautiful as Colton Connolly, is a line Ace is unwilling to cross. Colton might be attracted to Ace, but he’d been burned before. He might be willing to put his life in Ace’s hands, but not his heart.

As the Florida nights heat up, so does their passion, and Ace and Colton are faced with a difficult choice—take the plunge and risk it all, or play it safe and walk away?

If Ace can keep a deadly threat from robbing Colton of a future….

This is my first book by Charlie Cochet and it was about time. As you may have learned by now, I love reading M/M books, and Charlie is one of the biggest names out there writing that kind of books. So, a new saga was the perfect time to jump into the author’s bibliography. I don’t regret it!! I will make sure to put some other books by her into my pending list.

This book tells the story of Colton, the heir of a successful business that is being targeted with some nasty threats. His father takes action and hires the best security company he can find: Four Kings Security. One of those Kings, Ace, is assigned to shadow every move of Colton to make sure nothing happens to him. They are both very stubborn men and the mix is a bit toxic at first. Buuuuut, little by little they realize they are attracted to each other and something more serious starts brewing… Obviously, they need to keep it a secret while Four Kings Security investigates the threats.

Even though I consider this book Romantic Suspense, the suspense part doesn’t have a real highlight until the end. Usually, that would have made the book much worse; but Charlie manages to create an unexpected twist that makes the mystery salvageable. But I also must say the twist per se doesn’t make much sense. Was that all planned or there was a lot of improvisation? Because if it was a plan, they left a lot in the hands of chance… I guess everything was needed to make Ace more heroic in Colton’s eyes. Even though he was already awestruck.

My favourite character of the book is by far Ace. He is so much fun to read!! I LOVE his sense of humor. The way he banters with everyone and his goofy ways that make him so approachable and, I must confess, so much attractive. I always support a good clean sense of humor in Romance and, in this one, Charlie excels at it. I hope that is part of her trademark and it’s present in more of her books. Good job, really!!

I didn’t like Colton that much. That character is a bit confusing and, sometimes, he behaves like a rotten child throwing a tantrum. And other times, he behaves like an incubus throwing… well, other things. I know the true Colton is somewhere in between, but as a reader I couldn’t help yelling at him to get his act straight. I don’t know who I’m tryng to convince… He is really a good guy. I’m just jealous!!

Another fun fact about this book: it’s packed with gay men everywhere!! Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bad thing at all, but it’s a bit weird that almost every man in the book prefers dating other men. Where do you say the story takes place? I’m looking for a room… It makes me wonder why the Kings are all single when there are so many and willing candidates…

There is also something I don’t like at all about this book. It presents us too much of upcoming books: Laz and Red? Frank and Joshua? Those pairings are very similar and it looks like they are not going to be as much fun as Ace and Colton. But I could be wrong. I hope I’m wrong!! It’s just that I feel I’ve been robbed of the best part in Romance Books: the slow burn of the first encounter.

Next book it’s going to be published this month, so I will put it on my list to read it as soon as possible (this year, if I have time). It’s going to be Red’s and Laz’s story… I’m not feeling very optimistic about those two, but I will keep an open mind.

 

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2018 – Book Gallery