More love for the Kings today.
The Four Kings Security is owned by ex-Special Forces Ace, Red, Lucky and King, along with their fellow Green Berets, Jack and Joker. They built their security firm to continue their mission of protecting people in honor of their fallen brothers in their unit.
This is the second part of my review of this well-loved series by Charlie Cochet. In the first two books, we meet Ace, the troublemaker and Red, the sweetheart and how they found their persons (review of books 1 & 2 here). The next two books is about the King of Clubs and The King of Diamonds.
Four Kings Security: Join The Club – Charlie Cochet
Eduardo “Lucky” Morales is a fighter, from his childhood days in Cuba to his time as a Special Forces Green Beret. Scarred by the wars of his past, Lucky has learned nothing lasts forever. Guarding his heart is second nature, and getting emotionally involved is not an option. As co-owner of Four Kings Security, Lucky works hard alongside his former brothers-in-arms and fellow Kings, but he also plays hard. Flirting with sexy Texas cowboy and detective, Mason Cooper, is too much fun to resist, until Mason turns the tables on him.
Mason Cooper may not be a soldier, but he’s fought his share of battles as an openly gay cop and now a detective for Major Crimes. Mason has no idea when things changed between him and Lucky, but the gorgeous, fiery Cuban has turned his world upside down. When a mistake leads to his suspension from the force, Mason turns to the least likely person for help: Ward Kingston.
Determined to keep Mason at arms’ length, Lucky is surprised to find the man at Four Kings Security. The Florida nights might be getting cooler, but the heat between Lucky and Mason burns hotter with every passing moment. Working private security can be dangerous and unpredictable, but so can falling in love.
Lucky got his nickname because he has all the luck with the ladies and gents. Unlike his cousin Ace who is half-Cuban and raised in the US, Lucky grew up in Cuba until he was 14 when his Aunt was able to bring his family to Florida.
Lucky still uses his native tongue sometimes, especially when emotions ran high. I really enjoyed that he’s bilingual and the author uses Spanish words liberally. I liked that her Cuban roots gave the story much authenticity.
All the Kings, Jack and Joker had gone through much in life, but I think Lucky had a few more challenges to hurdle. He grew up dirt poor with barely anything to eat. What his parents, especially his mother, had to go through just to put food in the table was tough to think about.
As a result, he had a special appreciation for the finer things in life. Not in the materialistic sense but more of a reminder of how far he had gone and what he had accomplished. Lucky is a man who can appreciate a pair of limited edition Gucci loafers. He and Colton could go shoe shopping together.
Mason Cooper is a drawling cowboy transplant from Texas and a recently promoted detective who’d worked with the Kings in some cases. After a failed drug test (he forgot to mention the cough syrup) that caused his suspension, he requested King for a temp job. He was paired with Lucky.
Lucky gets along with everybody. Except Mason. Who is Ace’s ex. Also, the guy he had some sort of moment with. And so they’re always riling each other up a.k.a. flirting. They not so much as throw off sparks but more like burn for each other since the previous books. It’s so palpable everybody already expected the inevitable sooner or later. They’re just too stubborn, the idiots.
When I started on this, I was a bit meh. I’m not particularly keen on cowboys and Mason was probably the character I’m least drawn to. But the deeper I got into the story, the more I became engrossed.
A big part of the book showed the day to day of a security specialist with Lucky showing Mason the ropes. I liked this peek into their working lives. It made Mason realized how much he could achieve working for Four Kings. There is a nebulous threat to Mason’s life and this came to a head at the last 20% with a twist I least expected.
This installment is different from the rest. This is more of an antagonistic partners-to-lovers romance. The forced proximity of working together made all their excuses not to get close disappear in a cloud of lust and feelings. There’s a lot of push pull and a lot of heat. The chemistry was explosive. So was the love.
The King of Clubs has everything he could ever want.
˛˛ꉂ ◞•̀д•́)◞⚔◟(•̀д•́◟ ) <- Lucky and Mason being idiots.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Four Kings Security: Diamond In The Rough – Charlie Cochet
When the cards are stacked against you, the Kings will even the odds.
For Ward “King” Kingston the role of protector, forged by fire and tragedy, is one he takes seriously. When King is asked to safeguard the son of a four-star general and friend, he is pulled back into the world of government black ops on a mission that raises painful memories from his past. The moment King meets Leo, amid the chaos of a lockdown at a secret black site, it’s clear he’s never faced a challenge like this—one that will test his unwavering sense of control.
Leopold de Loughrey is a misunderstood genius whose anxiety and insecurities are sent into overdrive when he is forcefully recruited to work on a top-secret project. Terrified of what his role as “invaluable asset” means, Leo’s stress leads to disappearances, arguments, and blowups that threaten the project and Leo’s future. King’s arrival is a calm in the storm for Leo and his frenetic thoughts.
King and Leo couldn’t be more different, yet as they navigate the dangers of a secret multi-agency operation and face unknown threats, their differences could be what saves them. Neither man believes a happily ever after is in the cards, but their hearts might just prove them wrong… if they can survive a deadly betrayal.
Saving the best for last because The King deserves a Leo.
King is the group’s alpha. He was the second in command of their former unit so the men naturally follows his orders. He’s also the most enigmatic of the Kings, always there but almost in the background. He’s a known grump who shoulders the world’s responsibilities.
His book picks up right after the epilogue of Join the Club. King just completed his mission. He was asked a favor by his friend, their old general, to protect his son. Little did King know, it was more than he bargained for.
A hell lot more.
Leopold de Loughrey is a tech genius recruited a.k.a. blackmailed by the government to create a program for surveillance. Leo has always been special, according to his dad who feels very protective of him. He has anxieties and health issues that made it hard for him to work in such a difficult environment as a tightly-guarded government facility. Especially with the other analysts being downright hostile towards him.
Leo is also a master escape artist.
It began with a ridiculously cute meet-cute in the middle of chaos inside a bunker hidden in a black site. While everyone was scrambling about looking for the missing Leo, King, standing still while taking stock of the situation was offered fish crackers by an unidentified but admittedly very cute young man. Guess who.
I have to use cute 3 times there because Leo is so freakin’ adorkable!!! That he was inspired by Dylan O’Brian made me love him more. The moment King laid eyes on him, the man was a goner.
The mission here was to protect Leo from the Russians and the traitor who was working with them. They used code names from the Avengers. I’m totally living for the Marvel references.
This is an age-gap, opposites attract, slow-burn romance with a lot of humor and heart. King and Leo formed a great partnership. I loved how King paid attention to the little things that make Leo ticked. Their dynamics was so funny and sweet. I loved the contrast between the brawny, protective grump and the brainy, quirky nerd.
The scene I like replaying in my head was the part where the rest of the guys met Leo. All of them were so flabbergasted to know that King, who never laughs, laughs and smiles with Leo. Like, all the time! Even Ace was impressed. It was hilarious!
Of course King will never hear the end of it.
(*･∀･)_Ω~ヽ(o_o–) <- King and the fish cracker incident
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
I can’t recommend Four Kings Security enough! This is one of the most enjoyable series I have read. The camaraderie and the humor alone made this worthwhile. I loved the huge cast and their group dynamics.
The series tend to focus on the relationship development and the interactions between characters. The action/suspense usually occur in the latter parts. However, there is still a good balance between the various elements. This is definitely a series worth binge-reading!
The books are best read in order.
Review of Love in Spades and Be Still My Heart, books 1 & 2, here.
If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to get your copy of Four Kings Security. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.
Secret Admirer – D.J. Jamison
You deserve all the kisses you want …
I want you to know how amazing you are. You won’t believe me, because I’m just your brother’s best friend, but it’s true. Each day my feelings for you grow, confusing but undeniable.
With a few anonymous love tokens, I finally have an outlet for all the things I can’t say. And with each gift and note, you smile. For me. Not your brother’s straight friend, but something new. Something more. Something that will change everything if we can both find the courage to believe.
All I have to do is confess who I really am:
Your Secret Admirer
Secret Admirer is a super cute, feel-good offering from D.J. Jamison. She’s one of the more enjoyable MM romance authors out there. I said this about her before, she can make me read and like pure contemporary romance, a genre I typically struggle with.
This is an opposites attract, nerd + frat boy, brother’s bestfriend romance. It’s not really breaking new grounds but it makes up for it by all the adorkable moments.
First off, I really liked that the identity of the secret admirer was known to the reader right off the bat. I don’t have to drive myself crazy trying to figure it out. This is dual POV.
Benji is out and proud. He’s been secretly crushing on Ace, the best friend of his older brother, Jeremy, since forever. He knows it’s hopeless because the guy is straight. Ace has always been kind to him. Now that he is in college, Ace looks out for him on behalf of Jeremy. Ace treats him like a lil’ brother. Or so Benji thought.
Normally, I’m all over the shy, nerdy types and I was so ready to love Benji. But as the story progressed, his insecurities got the better of him. He gradually lost his charm.
Ace was the better guy here for being genuinely nice, caring, sweet and selfless. He had to reflect on his attraction to Benji a bit, especially in relation to his bi-curiosity and his best friend who might not think too highly about Ace hooking up with his baby brother. Eventually, he became honest with himself and took a chance to see where his feelings would lead.
There is the spectre of Jeremy hanging over most of the story with the guys holding off from telling him. He made his grand entrance, surprising both Ace and Benji. Then it tapered off to a blessedly drama-free but yeah, also anti-climatic, ending.
Secret Admirer falls somewhere between like and love. While there were many scenes that gave me warm fuzzies, these were mostly because of Ace’s efforts. The Benji issue could be a ME thing because many other GR reviewers were okay with him. I could still say the romance developed nicely despite Benji not appealing to me as a character. The story is low-angst and humorous, ideal for days when you’re in the mood for light, fluffy college boys shenanigans.
Posts on D.J. Jamison’s works here.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to get your copy of Secret Admirer. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.