Title: Love in the Line of Fire
Author: Michael Murphy
Release Date: January 23, 2017
Agent Jonah Pratt heads the Secret Service team guarding the President’s husband. When a routine day turns into a dangerous assassination attempt, the stranger who dives into the melee and takes down the assassin complicates the situation, sparking Jonah’s anger.
Just back from multiple tours of duty in Iraq, Benji hides the fact that he brought the war home with him and that it continues to haunt him. His actions in stopping the would-be assassin are more instinct than strategy. And his first conversation with a furious Jonah doesn’t end well.
Losing a member of his team turns Jonah’s world upside down. And if Benji seems to know exactly what Jonah is experiencing, it’s because he went through the same thing in combat. Jonah’s work consumes him, leaving little room in his life for anything else, and Benji focuses on his studies, working to keep his nightmares at bay. But when they get together, Jonah and Benji recognize a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for love and happiness—one worth fighting for.
Jonah is a Secret Service Agent in charge of protecting the President's husband. What was a normal day changed drastically when a shooter tried to take out the President's husband. Jonah's team performed like they were trained, but unexpectedly a stranger came out of nowhere and tacked the shooter and held him down until police and secret service could get to them. Part of Jonah appreciated the help from the stranger, but another part was mad about what this stranger did. The stranger, Benji, expected to lead a boring life now that he's no longer in the military. But that changed one day when he was finished with classes and had to stop a shooter. Jonah and Benji clash over his actions, and after meeting a couple times for Jonah to vent develop a friendship that continues to grow.
Jonah is good at his job, and that's the only thing he has in his life. He keeps his personal life personal, and even though the President is gay and married, Jonah keeps his sexuality a secret. Jonah is cocky and annoying in regards to the shooter situation. He cannot handle that he's not the best, most skilled person. And it was understandable, he wants to be the best there is because he protects the President's husband, but I found it annoying that he gave no consideration that there were skills he could learn and that he didn't know everything. Benji's life revolves around trying to live normally and graduate college. He focuses on his studies and tries to keep focused on his life moving forward.
I loved the beginning of this book, and hated to put it down! The story flowed well and was engaging. The middle part dragged a little for me, as the relationship and dialogue between the men felt stilted and became more of montage of their relationship and less of the relationship. We didn't get to read of the developing relationship, since it was more that we were shown clips of them having dinner after work. And it really seemed weird that when Jonah was injured, we didn't get his perspective or any information about what had happened to him, it went from him being in the hospital to him being back at work, so I felt a bit cheated. Overall, this was an enjoyable story, although the second part didn't quite work as well as the first portion for me.
Rating: 4 stars
Very, very nearly a 5-Star tale, until the abrupt ending had me crying, 'Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Please don't leave these guys, or me, here.'
As an intro to this author, I couldn't have asked for more. I got great writing, one of the best-done of this type of storyline, which has popped up a few times recently, a couple of great leads, some of the most realistic and yet connecting and sexy sex scenes ever, a connection between the guys that I believed in from the get-go, a bit of 'kind of beautiful' heartache (sorry!), a couple of great side characters, ending in what I thought would be a glimpse into the leads' HEA. Because I got all but the latter, this is a 4-Star read for me - I went to turn the Kindle page expecting to see some get-back-together lovemaking (not sex, as it hadn't been about just sex between the guys for ages) and a bit about the leads' future plans and life, but the author ended it on them in the early days of getting back together again, cuddling on the sofa???? Why??? I don't mean this rudely, simply as a stunned reader who wanted more, more, more. This tale was on track to be a 5-Star read, but it ended so, so un-satisfyingly for me as a romantic and a reader of romance. Not unsatisfactorily, as the implication was that the guys were it for each other and would be having a HEA, but for what they'd just been through, they needed more. I, as a reader vested in them, needed more.
The tale was brilliant and I can't fault the quality or believability, and I loved how the leads' relationship developed, how they learned to trust each other and be there for each other. I loved seeing how accepting and protective Jonah became when Benji's secret came out, and how patient he was with the latter's fears. His subsequent actions were out of love and out of a sense of duty, but they really hurt Benji and I was so, so pleased when they seemed to be getting back on track. But, Benji needed more, as he'd been the one hurt the most emotionally, and had made the first move more than once. I still would have given this a 5-Star rating up until this point, as the author made me love the tale and feel for the guys. It's not put me off reading more of MM's books, but I might read reviews first!
ARC courtesy of Dreamspinner Press and Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure.