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Tracy Brandt considers himself a lucky man. He has a wonderful family, good friends, and a dependable job. His love life, however, features a cheating ex who, though out of the house, is not yet out of the picture—with a past that just might get Tracy killed.
Homicide inspector Cord Nolan wants nothing more than to show his best friend’s little brother that he’s a reliable man, but to do that he’ll have to get Tracy to look past the player he used to be. It’ll be a tough sell; reputation is everything, and Cord’s is tarnished by his past indiscretions.
Tracy and Cord have spent five years trying to suffocate their fiery attraction under a blanket of grudging antagonism. When Tracy finds himself with a target on his back, Cord finally has the chance to ride to the rescue and break through the dam of Tracy’s reserve. But he’d better be careful: if Cord is breaking the floodgates to wash away the past, he’s going to have to hold tight to Tracy to make sure they’re still standing when the tumult recedes.
So here’s where I lay the groundwork: Mary Calmes just does it for me. I don’t know that I can explain it. I like sap. I like smut. I like HEA’s. I like possessive, growly “Mine”s. I sometimes get a craving for the perfect characters to find their perfect mates and live their perfect lives. I like when the story goes just this side of over-the-top. Or at least…I like all these things when MARY does it.
Floodgates, for the most part, is probably one my favorite of the author’s books to date. It’s not so much that it’s written differently, it just resonates with me (especially the San Francisco locale and some of the Russian bits…since I’ve lived in both places). And, honestly, it was one of the more emotional ones…running the full gamut of emotions, really…that I’ve read from her.
There are definitely your signature Calmes bits: an everyone-loves-him MC (Tracy), an eccentric boss/friend (Dimah…though he’s technically a partner), a grouchy-but-hot love interest (Cord), bend-him-in-half sex, gunshots, danger, and a full host of side characters. And yes, I know the exact height of each of her MC’s. :) But it’s not…formulaic…as some of her books can be. It’s familiar, but adds something to the typical recipe.
What I loved best about this book were the characters:
Tracy – in his mind, he’s an average Joe among beautiful people. What we come to find is that he has his own beauty, both inside and out, and I loved that about him. He’s strong but vulnerable. Sometimes sassy, sometimes tender. Is kind. Loves and is loved so greatly. There are parts of Tracy, the ones in his head, the times when he describes himself…that I completely identify with. I really loved him.
Cord – ahhhh Cord, you sexy beast. When Tracy finally ‘sees’ him…the transformation is this big jerk of a guy turning into a MAN…an over-protective, I-need-only-you kinda man. And it’s frickin’ HOT. Admittedly, the bit of insecurity that bleeds out and then gushes out towards the end of the book kinda irritated me (enough with the “please tell me you won’t leave” demands during sex). But, if Tracy’s family can adore you, so can I.
The Brandt Family – 3 brothers, a dad, and a dog. The Brandt family parts are what MADE the book for me. The deep love and the particular personalities of them all were SUCH a warm combination. I love how they love. I want there to be a tv show, and then a move, and then merchandise, and then a reality show…about the Brandt family! I want more of them all!
I do admit that the plot was, as it tends to be in her books, a bit over-the-top. The mystery element took away from the story, in my mind. But honestly, it was secondary and I’m fine to keep it there. I also didn’t love the last 30%’ish of the book. As I mentioned, Cord turned a little whiney, the scenes tended to be repetitive, and the characters started to shift back into generic versions of the typical Calmes characters. Even the HEA was gushier and more OTT than usual.
BUT…I had such a love affair with the first 2/3 of the book, I was totally blissed-out by that point. So completely satisfied with this read…I miss the characters already!
And as the discussion has always been, this book won’t be for everyone. You have to know what you’re getting into with Mary…and that has to be your cup o’ tea…because she hits you with her style full-force. And for me…well, it works. :)
Author: Mary Calmes
Release Date: March 3, 2014
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner