Reviewed by Vicki
TITLE: A Shot of J&B
SERIES: Vasquez and James Spin off
AUTHOR: Lou Sylvre
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 214 pages
Six years ago, Brian Harrison helped save the life of Jackie Vasquez, and he’s never really forgotten him. After the rescue, Brian ended his employment with Jackie’s uncle Luki and left the US for England, aiming to distance himself from the confused feelings—not lust, but not brotherly—that then sixteen-year-old Jackie engendered. Now Jackie has become a man, and when they meet again by chance, lust with a dose of D/s rope kink is definitely on the list of possibilities. As they get to know each other, though, lust shows every sign of growing into love, deep and true.
When Jackie moves to London for graduate studies in criminal psychology, he and Brian hope they’ll be able to enjoy each other’s frequent company. But they haven’t factored in the claim Brian’s police job with Scotland Yard will make on his time, especially when the “Gaslighter crimes” sap investigative resources. An abandoned aide dog named Soldier leads to a breakthrough clue, and a chain of discoveries fall like dominoes. As Brian rushes to beat the criminal’s game before it escalates to true terror, he comes to an undeniable conclusion: Jackie Vasquez, the man he loves, is in mortal danger.
Oh I was so happy to see this pop up for release! I have enjoyed the Vasquez and James books and I was sad to see them end. I had hopped Jackie and Brian would get their own story, and here we have it!
Brian and Jackie have appeared in previous books in the Vasquez and James series, Brian worked for Luki, Jackie is Luki’s nephew that had some serious issues. Brian helped rescue Jackie from a kidnapping, and bonded with the younger man, but knew the time was not right for anything to happen between them. Brian leaves Luki’s business and heads to England to make a life for himself. Jackie heads off to get some serious counseling.
Brian returns to the US to celebrate Christmas with his parents, and visits Luki and Sonny while he’s in the area. Jackie is also visiting Luki and Sonny, and Brian gets a look at the beautiful man Jackie has become. They share a car ride to the airport, exchange email addresses, and show some interest in one another. This starts a very tentative, long distance relationship between the two. They agree there may be something beautiful between them, Brian being dominant, and Jackie being submissive. They talk through their likes and dislikes, kinks and such, and seem compatible. They reunite at Jackie’s graduation and the relationship is cemented. Yum.
So there are two sides to this story, as happens with novels like this. The lovely relationship that carefully builds between Brian and Jackie. Jackie has some trust issues, having been abused by his father, then kidnapped and tortured, he is rightly slow to trust. But he’s healed both physically and mentally. He has always been submissive, but has to walk a careful line in his submission, not liking pain, and having been abused. Brian is dominant, but is more in to bondage, Shibari specifically, and less in to providing pain. They actually are the perfect matches for the other. But damn, do they make it hard for each other to get together! I loved the slow gentle buildup, I loved their scenes together, and the sex. Just perfect.
Then there is the mystery. Creepy. With a capital “C”! I won’t say what happens, it was slightly predictable, I could see what was coming, but it was still well done. Lou gives us just enough of a plot to give Brian and Jackie’s romance a nice background and drama, something to pull Brian’s focus away, and leave Jackie open to make some poor decisions. I wanted to slap him, watching him do it! Duh. I liked the catalyst for the drama, it is a hobby my husband I used to do, and I like seeing it used in a book, but was disturbed to see how it was used! It had never dawned on me that it could be a bad thing. See how I’m carefully not saying what our hobby was? Anyway, good use of that hobby, creepy characters, and a great ending.
I loved seeing glimpses of Luki and Sonny, and I love Brian and Jackie as a new couple. I’d be happy to read more stories involving the two of them. Seems like they have an exciting life ahead, career-wise and in their D/s relationship!
I like Lou’s writing style, although I admit it took me a book or two to get in to it. I don’t really have the words to describe it, slow and meandering maybe, but not in a negative way. She’s very gentle, even when telling a hard story, or when describing a naughty bit of BDSM. It worked very well in this book. The relationship needed to be slow between Brian and Jackie, and that slow easy style was perfect.
If you have read the Luki and Sonny books you’ll like this one. If you haven’t, you should! But you would probably be ok reading this one as a standalone. There is certainly background stuff for both of these men you’d be better off knowing, but you could enjoy the story with out it. But I’d go get the first Luki and Sonny book and start there!
Oh yes, I should say that I love the cover, and the title is very clever!