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Trouble Brewing: Imperial Stout – Layla Reyne

Layla Reyne spins off from her pulse-pounding Agents Irish and Whiskey books with Imperial Stout , the first installment in the Trouble Brewing series

It’s a good thing assistant US attorney Dominic Price co-owns a brewery. He could use a cold one. Nic’s star witness has just been kidnapped, his joint operation with the FBI is in jeopardy, his father’s shady past is catching up with him and the hot new special agent in San Francisco is the kind of distraction best handled with a stiff drink.

Kidnap and rescue expert Cameron Byrne has his own ideas about how to handle Nic, but his skills are currently needed elsewhere. The by-the-book FBI agent goes deep undercover as a member of an infamous heist crew in order to save Nic’s witness, break up the crew and close the case before anyone else gets hurt. Nic in particular.

Things heat up when Cam falls for Nic, and the witness falls for Cam. As the crew’s suspicions grow, Cam must decide how far he’s willing to go—and how far into his own dark past he’s willing to dive—to get everyone out alive.

I liked Aidan and Jamie but their series, Agents Irish and Whiskey, as a whole was wonky. I am glad to say that Imperial Stout was much better.

Nic Price, who dated Aidan briefly, piqued my interest before for being sartorially correct and him hooking up with Cam Byrne was something of a pleasant surprise when it was revealed in Blended Whiskey

Imperial Stout takes you immediately to where the action is as several teams stake out the bad guys. Slight niggle on the part where Nic is part of the stakeout team and started shooting people himself. I agree with one GR reviewer who mentioned that lawyers usually come in after the fact and not while the Feds are in an operation. I also wanted to see Nic doing lawyerly things so a courtroom scene would have been nice.

Cam goes undercover and did what he did best, rescuing kidnapped victims, namely Nic’s star witness, Abby. For this job, Cam digs into his not so stellar past and tries not to get involved in a threesome with Abby and her girlfriend, the main antagonist, Becca who both found him attractive. All the while dancing around his attraction to Nic and the memory of their kiss.

The book could be read as a standalone but I still recommend reading Agents Irish and Whiskey since most of the characters there play significant roles in Imperial Stout. The group dynamics is still as enjoyable as ever and I am happy that Lauren had more page time. She is fast becoming my favorite female character along with Mel. And for some reason, I might be seeing sparks that weren’t there because I was shipping Lauren with Percy Hunter, the B&E guy they nabbed.

Suspension of disbelief is still necessary at some instances but the story as a whole was entertaining. One of my issues before with Aidan and Jamie, aside from the plot holes and long drawn out investigations, was that they were too emotionally compromised to do their jobs properly as working partners. With Nic and Cam, there was less of that complication since they were from different departments. Overall, their book was simply better written compared to the original series.


Meh ratings on Agents Irish and Whiskey here.


3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

Soundtrack: Overnight
Artist: Parcels


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