Release Day Review ~ Vodka & Handcuffs by Brandon Witt
Title: Vodka & Handcuffs
Author: Brandon Witt
Release Date: April 26, 2017
Vahin Arora, Hamburger Mary’s sexy bartender, plays the flirtatious role so well even his closest friends—his chosen family at Mary’s—don’t realize Vahin hasn’t had a hookup in months. Then Tall, Dark, and Handsome steps through the door, and Vahin’s libido races back to life.
Being a black cop on the Denver police force is no easy job—Marlon Barton can’t imagine adding being gay to the equation. And while Marlon loves his work as an officer, his life has taken a turn for the hellish because of his new partner, the nephew of a senator.
Fleeing his partner’s company one night, Marlon stumbles into Mary’s for the first time… and wakes up with a hangover in the bartender’s bed. The one-night stand heats up into a budding romance, but not without stress as Marlon’s partner’s actions threaten Vahin’s livelihood and Marlon’s future on the force. Can Vahin and Marlon face the challenges and hold on to the love, friendship, and family they’ve found?
Vodka & Handcuffs is the second novella in Brandon Witt's Mary's Boys series. It's possible that you could read this novella without reading the previous one, but I think to fully enjoy it, the series should be read in the appropriate order. This series is set around Hamburger Mary's with recurring characters.
In the first novella, we had two young guys in their early 20's, this one was with men in their 30's and I loved it! Vahin is a bartender at Hamburger Mary's and though he's always been all about hook-ups before, he's found that he's no longer interested in one-night-stands. When Marlon comes into Mary's, Vahin is willing to make an exception for him, but he'd love more than just one night. Marlon isn't looking for a one-night-stand, or anything else, but when he's had too much to drink, he's willing to take Vahin up on his offer. Even though Marlon's life doesn't allow for a relationship, there's something about Vahin that keeps him interested and willing to go outside his comfort zone. Unfortunately, they have more than just Marlon's uneasiness to work through.
I loved that this novella had diversity and men in their 30's! Even though Vahin comes across as a guy with no worries, we learn that he has lived a solitary life after telling his family that he's gay. And though Marlon still has the love and support of his family, he doesn't have their complete support as a gay man. This story covered difficult topics that are so pertinent to the times we live in. Vahin is Indian, living in the US where people with his skin tone get suspicious looks. It's a difficult subject matter, and I know there are plenty of people in the US that want to believe this is not an issue for a person of color, but it is and Brandon handled it wonderfully!
I'm not always a fan of novellas (I feel like I say that often!), so much story has to fit into those pages and it doesn't always feel like I'm getting the complete story. For this novella, I didn't feel that way! It ended with the men in a good place, and I'm sure we'll get to see more of them in the upcoming Mary's Boys novellas!
Rating: 4.5 stars