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Michael May is losing it. Long ago, he joined the Metropolitan Police to escape his father’s tyranny and protect people like himself. Now his father is dead, and he’s been fired for punching a suspect. Afraid of his own rage, he returns to Trowchester—and to his childhood home, with all its old fears and memories. When he meets a charming, bohemian bookshop owner who seems to like him, he clings tight.
Fintan Hulme is an honest man now. Five years ago, he retired from his work as a high class London fence and opened a bookshop. Then an old client brings him a stolen book too precious to turn away, and suddenly he’s dealing with arson and kidnapping, to say nothing of all the lies he has to tell his friends. Falling in love with an ex-cop with anger management issues is the last thing he should be doing.
Finn thinks Michael is incredibly sexy. Michael knows Finn is the only thing that still makes him smile. But in a relationship where cops and robbers are natural enemies, that might not be enough to save them.
If I hadn’t been reading this for the blog, I might have put this book down too early, and that would have been my loss.
Why was I pondering dropping it in the first early chapters? Well, I’m not the biggest contemporary romance fan to begin with—I picked up this book, the first in a new series by Beecroft, because I saw that a later volume will have an asexual character. I couldn’t dive into book 3 without trying the earlier ones, right?
But why I almost put it down was because the beginning of this book is GRIM. Grim and morose, much like its MC Michael May, a policeman who starts this story with a truly terrible case, one so horrifying (even to this reader), that it changed the entire course of his career, and his life.
From those horrors that have drained his life of color and vitality, Michael May returns to his hometown to take care of the house his jerk of a father left him. He is a dejected man, having to break into his own home because his father, still a dick even when he’s deceased, hid the keys from him.
The beginning chapters of this story were a bit dark in mood, and mirrored Michael’s depressed, exhausted mental state. Having a hard week myself, I didn’t know if I could finish this, but then I saw Ami’s review. I didn’t read it, because I won’t read other reviews while mid-read, but I gleamed the glowing stars around it, and I know she’s a tough critic, so if it made it by the Ami-meter, I had to have faith that this was something special.
And it is. And I recommend hanging in there with Michael as he weathers those first rough nights back home, because once he comes upon the window of an eccentric bookshop, and is compelled to open the door to go inside, a light falls onto his dim life, one that’s part fiery and warm, and part brilliant and electric. The entrance of Michael’s polar opposite, Finn, is a heady mix of energy, cleaned-up chaos, classy refinement, and snark. His keen gaze sees right through Michael, and even if pursuing something might be hazardous for both of them, they find themselves falling into each other’s orbits, with Finn’s flirty, secretive nature and Michael’s earnest shy honesty coming together into a surprising stunned, but hungry union.
That’s long way to say that the MCs really work well together, even though they are very much opposites, and at times, those opposing natures cause fear and distrust within both of them (and at one point bring on one of my Least Favorite tropes in contemporary romance—the Misunderstanding, followed by jumping to conclusions.) Thankfully, Beecroft doesn’t draw this instance out for long, and our MCs realize they are adults and they can talk through misconceptions, especially for the right incentive.
This is the first time I’ve read Beecroft, and I thought her writing was stellar. Lots of detail that paints the scenes without feeling overblown. (What is up with these hyper-evocative British writers? I’m looking at you, Harper Fox!) Smooth writing that’s easy to sink into, and well-crafted transitions in style when we shift POVs between Michael and Finn. This was a great introduction to Beecroft, and I’m excited to check out more of her work.
Overall, I thought this was a very enjoyable read, once I got past the grim beginning. Michael and Finn’s chemistry is very palpable, and as a reader, I was rooting for them to push beyond their mutual hang-ups and see how together they were the golden glue that fills in the broken cracks in each other’s lives and reveals something whole and beautiful.
I look forward to reading what’s next in Trowchester. It’s certainly off to a wonderful start.
Ami – 4.5 stars