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How do you love someone who exists entirely in the shadows? How do you love a man who describes himself as dead? How do you get that ghost to love you back? Ex-SAS soldier Ben Rider falls in love with his enigmatic married boss Sir Nikolas Mikkelsen, but Nikolas is living a lie. A lie so profound that when the shadows are lifted, Ben realises he’s in love with a very dangerous stranger. Ben has to choose between Nikolas and safety, but sometimes danger comes in a very seductive package.
The title of this book, is what really drew me in and made me want to read it. I am obsessed with music and the song of the same title by the Eurythmics is one of my favorites. In fact, I have it on repeat while I write this review. The lyrics… they have so much depth and emotion and this book, oh boy it does the same and then some.
I don’t know how much of a review I can actually give for this. There is so much that happens in the story with so many twists, turns and secrets revealed that I would be doing a grave disservice to spoil that for you. So you know what? I am just going to fangirl all over this one.
Let me begin with a short history on two characters whom I love for being swoon masters; Jake Riordan from the Adrien English Mysteries by Josh Lanyon and Julian Cross from Warriors Cross by Madeline Urban and Abigail Roux. Those men with their tough guy, alpha testosterone exterior and ridiculously romantic interior are on my shelf as Swoony Mc. Swoonsters. But you know what? Sir Nikolas Mikkelsen kicked their asses, tossed them on the shelf and sat his blond self at the top. This man, just thinking of some of the things he says to Ben and what he does for Ben make my heart hurt. I have a thing for endearments, even when the endearment is someone’s proper name and Nik simply saying, “Hello, Benjamin”, makes me squirm in my seat. Good lord.
Ben, our narrator and lover of all things impossible was stellar. Though I would love to be in Nik’s head, just once, I don’t think I could handle it. Besides, Ben does an amazing job of letting me see who Nik is and through his eyes, he is resplendent. Yes, I used that big word because it’s true, Nik is also maddening, extremely powerful, sexy and the master at avoidance and deflection. He really is but when he gives in to his Benjamin, watch out and be prepared to take a cold shower or three when these two get honest and then get down and dirty.
Back to the title, the stranger in this love affair of course is the mysterious Sir Nikolas.
…mostly he was thinking about Nikolas. He was the proverbial riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Every time Ben thought he’d found the real Nikolas, that man he found slipped away again into shadows and illusion.
Yeah, right there with you Ben and I couldn’t wait to get more of you and Nik as you unraveled the man’s history and his resolve. Usually I am good with mysteries and can figure them out early on but this? Nope, I had no clue where the story would go and each time something turned around on me, I was lost worse than a GPS leading me through rough paths to a fairy tale land. I mean, how in the world could I have guessed any of this? Sure, small hints lead to big reveals but it was never what I expected and that in itself is amazing. Talk about talent, this author has hooked me in and I am so ready to marinate in this series.
Have I told you about the story? Let’s do the short/short version shall we? Nik is Ben’s boss. They do some work for the government, things don’t go the way they planned and they gave to restructure and regroup. They have a relationship that has been going on for four years but what do they really know about one another? Well, Ben knows jack about Nik aside from what he feels but don’t worry. That will all change as you turn page after page and though it will shock you and make you yell at your ereader like I did, it’s so freaking fracking worth it. So worth it that right now I want to sit down and tell you exactly what you will find out and the numerous highlights I have and notes that I am looking over. I want to share it all with you but at the same time, I want YOU to read it and share it back with me so we can swoon, and flail and fall in love with two utterly beautiful and broken men who couldn’t be more perfect for one another.
It was fate, Nik, you know that. You can rationlise things as much as you like, but everything had led us to this place and to each other.
Gah! I am so lost and in love with this book! I have the rest of the series ready to go. I am sure they will hurt me in the best way possible and I am ready for it. I am a glutton for punishment and I need to have Nik and Ben in my life.
Choosing this book as my new author read was a match made in reader heaven. Love is a Stranger is a stellar read, a wonderfully crafted tale of intrigue, romance and the rewards of what you get when you give in.
***Note***There is one minor deal I have to mention and the reason this didn’t get a 5 star from me though it’s clearly going on my favorites shelf. I know the author has addressed this in a group but…. There is lack of lubrication in the book. These men, they have an intense relationship that goes from the daily grind to the bedroom, a lot. I loved the emotions that you get with their intimacy because it’s not overly detailed and yet you feel the connection they have during sex. But each time they do, there is never mention of them using lube. I don’t need the actual word “lube” to be used but a slick or a slide before entry would have made me relax a bit instead of cringing each time thinking these two were going at it dry. That hole, is not naturally lubricated and a dry finger is intrusive enough but the way they go at it? Ouch. It would pull me out of the scene momentarily and had me thinking of this image and hearing the words in my head. For me as a reader, I don’t need the one/two/three finger scissor prep but I want to feel… I don’t know, at ease with how they get it on. Totally personal, I know. I just had to toss that out there.
Shelley: 3 stars