Review: Dual Surrender (Duality #2) by Kate Hawthorne

Hawthorne mentioned on social media that this was a difficult book to write, and part of me worried that this book would not mesh, thematically, with the previous installment of this trilogy. It features an established couple, and their lifestyle as white-collar professionals does not necessarily “fit” with that of hitmen and almost-mobsters. However, I already adored Kevin and Ronan from meeting them in a previous short story, so I went into this book with an open mind.

Rather than the traditional “meet cute” of a typical romance novel arc, Kevin and Ronan are an established couple approaching a year together. Hawthorne does play with reader expectations by revisiting their initial meeting in the guise of a fun anniversary date. However, it’s already obvious to those of us familiar with the couple that something is not quite right. The timeline of this book significantly overlaps with that of Dual Destruction, creating plenty of opportunity to show how Sage and Foster’s “interference” in Ronan and Kevin’s stable lives is only part of the conflict in this story.

The kink levels in this book are not for the faint of heart, but it’s not there just to up the spiciness of this romance. The point of this book is that because people are not stagnant, neither are relationships. Even as Ronan and Kevin remain committed to each other as a couple, the added stress of whatever Foster has dragged into their lives upends the fragile balance neither man had necessarily been ready to address yet. On the one hand, Foster’s unintentional manipulations allow them to re-evaluate the dynamic between them. But just as they are adjusting to a new normal, Foster once again throws a wrench into the works. And because Foster is Ronan’s best friend, the conflict there needs to be addressed as well, leading to one of the sexiest scenes in the book (and poor Kevin isn’t even there!).

So, while this might not be a traditional romance novel, it works as a solid installment in this trilogy full of fascinating characters and unconventional relationships. This story solidifies Ronan and Kevin as one of my favorite couples created by this author (and they have some steep competition). I already look forward to re-reading this book before the final book is released.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Published by J.L. Gribble

Author, Editor, Worldbuilder

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