Monday, March 5, 2018

Broken Protocol by A.R. Barley

Title: Broken Protocol
Author: A.R. Barley
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Smoke & Bullets #2
Main Characters: Dante and Luke
Release Date: March 2018
Publisher: Carina Press
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Dante Green’s a police officer with a solid career—a career that for the past ten years has kept him far away from the one temptation he won’t let himself give in to: his younger foster brother. But when he bumps into the now-out-and-proud firefighter at Smoke & Bullets, he finds himself wrestling with fantasies and desires he thought were long behind him. 

Luke Parsons fell in lust with Dante when he was thirteen years old, but he’s not a kid anymore. He’s a New York City firefighter, and he’s done chasing after things he can’t have. Until he and Dante witness a hate crime, and it becomes clear that Dante might not be as straight as Luke always thought. 

With Luke to introduce him to the local gay scene, Dante dives into an unsanctioned investigation as the attraction between them grows.Unfortunately, Luke is completely and totally off-limits. Dating him would be a betrayal of their foster father’s trust. But Luke isn’t about to let anything get in the way of their happily-ever-after—even Dante’s fear of commitment.

This book is approximately 60,000 words
My Review:
Family...brothers. Two words that should keep these two men apart. They basically grew up together, becoming foster brothers when Luke was nine and Dante was fourteen, but somewhere along the way an attraction developed. As a result, Dante has stayed away. For ten years, he's done every job that would keep him away from his foster brother, away from temptation. 

But now Dante is back and the two of them end up working together on a case...even though Luke is a firefighter and not a detective like Dante. Luke was raised in a family of cops...he has excellent instincts, which is how he realized that there is a serial mugger attacking gay couples as they leave clubs. And it's becoming harder and harder for both men to continue to hide their attraction. 

This was a good book...and don't worry, it's not written like a taboo book. While Dante sees it as an issue, his main problem is that his foster father taught him to protect Luke at all costs. Dante sees himself as not good enough for Luke, so he feels like he's failing in his job to take care of Luke. For Luke, he's tired of being taken care of. He's fighting so that Dante sees him as the man he's become, tough and capable as a man, not the teenager that Dante once knew. 

The thing that's great about this romance is that despite their separation of the last ten years, these guys have a close relationship like best friends that know everything would. So there's no need for a relationship build-up between them. They already know the in's and out's of each other's characters and know that they truly like the other person. (That's one of those things that makes friends to lovers stories so strong...and this book had that same element.)

I'll admit, I've never been drawn to the stepbrother trope that's been popular the last couple of years. While this book isn't exactly that, it's close enough to count. But this one definitely worked for me. I liked it...a lot. I thought the story lines for the guys were well-done and honest. I loved the background for each of them. I just truly liked everything about this one. Even the suspense line playing in the background held some surprises and twists that I didn't see coming. Well done to the author. I can't wait for more from the series. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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