Hitman Vs Hitman – Cari Z & L.A. Witt
Ricardo Torralba and August Morrison don’t agree on much besides the fact that they hate each other. According to Ricardo, August is a spoiled brat who really needs to knock off the sass once in a while. August insists that Ricardo needs a sense of humor, a good lay, or a well-placed bullet. Maybe all three.
Fortunately, the assassin’s profession is a solitary one, and they can go about their lives without getting in each other’s way.
When a contracted hit turns out to be a setup for both of them, they narrowly escape with their lives. Now, even if they don’t like it (spoiler: they don’t), August and Ricardo have to work together if they want a shot at survival.
In between firefights and questionable interrogation methods as they hunt down their would-be killer, the cranky assassins discover that under all that mutual loathing is a spark of chemistry they can’t ignore. They want to ignore it, they probably should ignore it, but August can’t help flirting to annoy Ricardo, and Ricardo can think of at least one way to shut him up for a while.
But they need to focus, damn it, and figure out who’s gunning for them and why.
Assuming they don’t kill each other first.
Hitman vs Hitman is a standalone gay romantic suspense featuring two men who’d rather chew glass than fall for each other, a whole lot of inappropriate comments, and some buttons that will need resewing.
L.A. Witt and Cari Z had wowed me with their awesomely co-written series, Bad Behavior. Their latest book, Hitman Vs Hitman is a fun, explosive romp oozing with USTs between two hired guns who were contracted to take on an assignment that was set up to get them both killed.
Hitmen all over the world are ranked in a website called Rate My Hit. It’s where clients post reviews worded as satirical comments.
The #1 hitman according to the website is Ricardo Torralba. He’s a born planner who has a trunk full of props and costumes that lets him slip through security. He’s of Spanish descent but he can change his accent when undercover. He’s a grumpy, taciturn fellow with a drawer filled with burner phones.
And #2 on the chart is August Morrison, an unlikely person for such occupation. He is publicly known as the son of a billionaire. His mansion is built like Bruce Wayne’s. He loves clothes. Wears designer suits to his assignments. And jeeesus, when is he going to shut up?!
This book moved fast, much like the way Ricardo and August were constantly on the run from whoever had them in their crosshairs. They paused long enough to come up with a plan to turn things around. Along the way, their combustible combination finally combusted and they discovered, that despite their very obvious differences, they’re really good together in more ways than they expected.
The chemistry is off the charts! The sexual tension adding piquancy to the already strained interactions of two men on edge. I love the way these two threw off fireworks while constantly bickering. And that they took time before jumping each other’s bones.
I do think the way their backstories were presented could have been stronger. While we get a good picture of Ricardo’s and August’s personalities, I felt their pasts could have been explored further. We learn more about August and his quirks. Also him with his famous billionaire face, going about his secret missions sans disguise and not recognized is stretching it.
Majority of the book is spent uncovering the identity of the person who set them up. The mystery wasn’t hardcore mindboggling and you can kind of expect who the bad guy was. Still, it was an intriguing enough plotline.
We get an HFN that left some things open in case the authors decide to give us a sequel. I wish they would because that conclusion certainly felt like the start of events that will shake up the charts. I liked that Ricardo and August did not retire as is usually the case when assassins are given their happy endings.
Overall, Hitman Vs Hitman is light, humorous, suspenseful with OTT stunts and a lot of ridiculousness, mostly from August. It might not be a bullseye but it still hit its target.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
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You meet one King, you’ll love them all. Which is why I ended up binge reading this fantastic series by Charlie Cochet.
Four Kings Security is owned by the the Kings, Ace, Red, Lucky and King, along with their friends, Jack and Joker. All of them are ex-Special Forces, the remaining half of a unit deployed in Syria years ago. All of the men felt the loss of their brothers heavily, each of them carrying of traumatic memories of a mission gone wrong. These memories are gradually revealed as the stories progressed. They are the reason why these men started their security agency.
But this is not an angsty, tear-jerker of a series. These are, in fact, some of the funniest books I’ve read. Like its spinoff, Stacking the Deck, which was the one I read first, I keep remembering some hilarious scenes. It keeps me nicely entertained while going about my day. Talk about memorable!
This series also stands out for the wonderful friendship and camaraderie. These are men who would die for each other. There’s so much palpable warmth and love here, this quickly became one of my favorite found families ever.
This is a review of Love in Spades and Be Still My Heart, books 1 and 2. The books are not standalones. They pick up from events of the previous books. There are many recurring characters and scenes alluded to throughout the series, it’s definitely best to start at the beginning to get the most out of it.
I’ll be reviewing books 3 and 4 on Friday. First, let’s meet the King of Spades and the King of Hearts.
Four Kings Security: Love in Spades – Charlie Cochet
When the cards are stacked against you, the Kings will even the odds.
Ex-Special Forces soldier Anston “Ace” Sharpe is fighting a different battle these days—one involving the world of private security across the state of Florida. As part owner of Four Kings Security, Ace and his fellow Kings tackle everything from armed transport and investigations to cyber intelligence and executive protection. Cocky, fearless, and brash, Ace isn’t afraid to take risks.
After years of working alongside his father, Colton Connolly is ready to take the helm at Connolly Maritime, but his father’s retirement is put on hold when Colton begins receiving death threats. If that isn’t bad enough, his father signs a contract with Four Kings Security to provide Colton with round-the-clock protection, despite his adamant refusal. Colton’s life has been turned upside down, the last thing he needs is a shadow, especially in the form of infuriating, sexy-as-sin Ace Sharpe, who seems to be on a mission to drive Colton mad.
Sparks fly the moment Colton and Ace meet on a sultry night club dance floor. But getting involved with a client, even one as fiery and beautiful as Colton Connolly, is a line Ace is unwilling to cross. Colton might be attracted to Ace, but he’d been burned before. He might be willing to put his life in Ace’s hands, but not his heart.
As the Florida nights heat up, so does their passion, and Ace and Colton are faced with a difficult choice—take the plunge and risk it all, or play it safe and walk away?
If Ace can keep a deadly threat from robbing Colton of a future….
Ace is the chief purveyor of mischief and instigator of some of the funniest scenes in the series. He’s almost never serious, always riling up one or all of his brothers. All the jokes hide a smart individual who can be quite perceptive. And you got to hand it to the guy, he can be really professional when on the job.
Which is what he tried to do while working for the Connollys. Well, he tried. But when faced with the temptation that is billionaire Colton Connolly, he was sorely tested.
The thing that brought them together was a stalker threatening Colton. This part was almost forgotten through most of the story. The focus were on the interactions between the major characters and the development of the romance with the action/suspense crammed at the last quarter.
Can’t blame Ace for falling hard. Colton is a wonderful person. He’s a beautiful, hardworking, generous man who can stand toe to toe with Ace’s brand of crazy. He succeeded in driving Ace out of his wits with his 4-hour shoe shopping sprees and firm opinions on powder white vs snow white loafers.
The attraction was insta, the romance slow-burn, the USTs sizzling. Since this is bodyguard romance, it’s only a matter of time before they surrender to the inevitable. So I tend to judge this kind of situation on how fast they give in before they throw professionalism out the window. Ace wins my approval for holding out as long as he could, which was more than half the book. He put up a good fight but Colton was a very determined man. As they say resistance is futile.
<(￣︶￣)> 👞 ლ(ಠ_ಠლ)ᑦᵒᔿᵉ ᵒᐢᵎᵎ <— Ace met his match.
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
Four Kings Security: Be Still My Heart – Charlie Cochet
When the cards are stacked against you, the Kings will even the odds.
Former Special Forces medical sergeant Russell “Red” McKinley knows a thing or two about wounds, like the fact some can take a lifetime to heal, if they heal at all. The scars Red carries run deep, and living with PTSD often means battling the memories of his past. Injuries he received while working an executive protection case with fellow Kings and co-owners of Four Kings Security, have once again forced past heartaches to the surface, but Red is determined not to let it derail his blossoming romance with sweet and sexy fashion photographer Lazarus Galanos.
Laz can’t deny there’s something special developing between him and Red, but Laz has wounds of his own. He’s hesitant to jump into a new relationship after his recent explosive breakup. Experience has taught Laz to doubt his judgement when it comes to men. Guys who seem too good to be true, usually are, and no one appears more perfect than Red.
When an attempt is made on Laz’s life, Red is determined to keep him safe. Laz may not be a client, and Red is still off duty, but Laz is one of their own, and nothing means more to the Kings than family. While an investigation is underway, Red and Laz are growing closer, but can they find a way to help each other heal and take a chance on love, or will their fears and insecurities cost them more than their future together?
Red is the quietest King and the sweetheart of the group. He’s a gentle teddy bear everybody feels safe around with. He’s also a pansexual, disco-dancing, lavender-scented aromatherapy enthusiast who knows his way around the kitchen.
He and Laz met in book one at a party in Colton’s house. Laz is Colton’s bestfriend’s Gio younger brother. He had a huge messy fight with his then boyfriend. The asshole pushed Laz who hit his head and fell to the pool. Red jumped to his rescue.
The mission here was to protect Laz from death threats from an unknown person. Red being on leave since he was recovering from injuries that happened in the previous book, volunteered to stay with him.
I wasn’t terribly impressed with Laz. As a person, he’s sweet, driven, and talented. I loved how he stood by Red when he had a bad episode with his PTSD. But when Laz’s insecurities were triggered, it led him to some very stupid conclusions that hurt Red badly.
Red’s PTSD was something that had cost him his past relationships. Laz was badly burned by his ex so both man were hesitant to jump into a relationship. These issues were used effectively in the story while still keeping it light and fluffy.
This is an insta-attraction, slow burn romance with hurt-comfort thrown in. There’s a perfectly balanced mix of humor and drama. As with the previous book, it’s all about the relationship and the group dynamics. We don’t see much action till the later parts. Even if that is the case, there’s never a dull moment with this gang!
With support from their awesome family, Red and Laz promised to work around their issues and emerge a stronger couple. Red wins the day for his enormous capacity to forgive. He really lived up to his title as the King of Hearts.
ヽ(⌐■_■)ノ♪♬♡(‘∀’●) <— Red showing off his groovy moves
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bit
And OMG!!! you guys have to check out the faceclaims a.k.a. inspiration for the Four Kings in Charlie Cochet’s pinterest!!! So much eye candy!
Review of spin off, The Kings: Wild Cards book 1, Stacking The Deck 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.0