I don’t often take chances on books like this one, but it had too many elements that interested me to resist, so I indulged myself specifically for a vacation read. I have zero regrets after the fact, and I’ve added this author to my watch list for further installments to this series. Books in which the main characters meet and interact via hookup first and get to know each other later can be hit or miss, but this book pulled me in immediately with Kai’s fantastic narrative voice, the intensity of his encounter with Gates, and the fascinating hints that immediately let me know something bigger was about to hit these characters.

An additional excellent surprise was that this intriguing closed-world urban fantasy takes place in a science fiction world! This combination might not work for some readers, but this is the blend of cross-genre shenanigans that I’m always on the search for in my fiction. Leah errs on the side of only explaining what’s necessary for the immediate story while making it obvious that they know more about the world they’ve developed than they share with readers. There are a few moments where I did wish I knew more, but overall, I was okay with going along for the ride.

Ride here is literal, in one respect, because there’s no better force proximity than a road trip for secrets to be revealed and for characters to grow closer. Kai and Gates are ultimately on the same side in the greater scheme of things, but Leah injects just enough drama caused by their personal circumstances to create friction that is understandable no matter the speculative fiction setting. Leah does an excellent job of balancing the power exchange aspect of their relationship, which is much more about their connection than specific actions, with the realities of these men’s lives and the roles they play in their secret world.

This story doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but it very much acts as the overall inciting incident for a larger storyline that I’m eager to pursue. I do hope that Kai and Gates continue to play strong roles because even though I’m convinced, at the very least, by their “happily for now” status at the end of this book, I wouldn’t be opposed to spending more time with them as they reach their “happily ever after.”

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars
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