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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The Killough Company: The Assassin – M.D. Gregory
Gabriel Mancini represents everything Ardan Murphy hates.
‘Honor’ isn’t a word he knows.
He is also too damn handsome for his own good.
When mob boss Sloan Killough finally gives Ardan permission to find and kill Mancini, the job isn’t as straightforward as he expects. Ardan’s never had a target quite like Mancini, and the ex-CIA agent always seems to be one step ahead of him.
When their game of cat and mouse turns into something more, their heated connection changes in ways neither expects, and their history becomes irrelevant. When enemies close in from both sides, Ardan and Gabriel must choose between their budding romance and the promises made to very dangerous men…
The Assassin is part of The Killough Company series. It’s best to read this book as part of this series to understand this story fully. Please read the trigger warnings before beginning The Assassin as this book is a dark romance.
This is the kind of obsessive hate that turns raging hard ons from figurative to full on.
Ardan Muphy, assassin, is obsessed with hunting down Gabriel Mancini, hitman. You’d think they’re basically doing the same job but apparently there’s a difference as stressed by Ardan.
The two hired killers had a history together. They had crossed paths now and then. They would have been friends but then Gabriel betrayed his boss. Such disloyality was something Ardan could not abide. And he made it his mission to put a bullet in Gabriel’s head.
Gabriel Mancini is very much enjoying his cat and mouse game with his favorite Irishman. The Italian always stayed one step ahead. He will be found only when he wants to be. Which happened when he was in a ‘safe no killing zone’ where he met Arden. Who had no choice but to postpone the kill or risk a war between The Killough Company and The Norse Lords, the MC who owns the territory.
This is where the real fun starts.
I love enemies to lovers stories, especially ones where intense feelings were involved. This has been an ongoing hunt that started in the previous books so the emotions had been simmering for a long time. I especially liked the timespan because there’s nothing less convincing than an enemies to lovers story where supposed enemies fall in love after 5 minutes.
The book was very effective in making you feel those complicated, burning I-really-really-hate-you-but-I-want-you-so-bad feels that culminated in a messy fist fight and a messier hatefuck. Whether they liked it or not or even admit it to themselves, their chemistry was explosive.
It’s not just the way these two throw off fireworks that made the book so enjoyable. The mob part of the story was equally compelling. There were bigger things afoot. Crime families made their moves. Innocent lives were in danger. A birthday surprise is in the works.
Ardan’s boss, Sloan Killough and his pet Conall, had major page time. I just love these two! They still couldn’t get enough of each other. It was Conall who suspected Ardan and Gabriel will eventually find their way into each other’s pants given the way Ardan was so determined to get the guy. Conall is rarely wrong about these things.
The Assassin felt more like a transition story bridging the series to a wider world of underworld crime and motorcycle clubs. I liked how this sets up the plot for future stories and introduced the lead characters for upcoming books. I’m especially excited for Elio and Mateo’s book. These two are from the Follieri, an Italian family that had strong connections to The Killough Company.
The ending unfortunately left me hanging. It felt rush and headed towards a cliffy I wasn’t prepared for. On the upside, we will see more of Ardan and Gabriel. They will be doing their best to outsmart the CIA and (hopefully) get their HEA. Can’t wait!!!
As advised, it’s best to start at the beginning. The Killough Company series opened with a bang so I’m sure you’ll be delighted to find out how badass mob boss, Sloan, won over his beloved pet, Conall. Read reviews of books 1-2 here.
M.D. Gregory books here.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits0
The Hitman’s Guide: The Hitman’s Guide to Making Friends and Finding Love – Alice Winters
What happens when a snarky hitman and a by-the-book PI cross paths?
Being a hitman has its perks, but I never thought getting an accidental mooning by an attractive PI while he’s caught on a fence would be one of them. While it’s not exactly love at first sight, he’s captured my interest and won’t let go.
Suddenly, I find myself caught in a game of cat and mouse, determined to attract the attention of Jackson, the PI who should be my enemy. He pretends like he’s not flattered by my flowers and the mentions of my totally-not-fictitious blow-up doll Randy (or was it Dandy?), but I know better. Why else would he be teaming up with me to bring down Hardek, one of the city’s most ruthless criminals?
Even though the cops are telling me that the hitman is a notorious contract killer, I can’t help but admit that I’m drawn to him. He’s funny, charismatic, and attractive. There’s no way this ridiculous man can be the person the cops are after.
But when Leland ends up at my doorstep injured, I’m faced with a tough choice. It’s my duty to hand him over to law enforcement, but my heart has other plans. I want to keep him. To protect him. To be with him.
Though one question remains: why in the world does the man have so many d*mn guns?
Contains: shenanigans on a swing that you would NOT find at a playground, a car chase that sadly doesn’t have flips or explosions, a horsey ride sans horse, cuddles, an exuberant mutt, a suspicious chief of police, and lots and lots of laughs.
Expect a whole lot of cray in Alice Winter’s hyperactive novel, The Hitman’s Guide to Making Friends and Finding Love. Like any mania, it’s all damn good fun but it could leave you exhausted too.
I had a great time reading about Leland and Jackson’s shenanigans but I could hardly keep up with Leland’s ADHD? Question mark because I’m not qualified to say if he has it or not. The man jumps from one outrageous idea to the next with lightning speed. He is serious about every single one of them. He makes them happened too!
I don’t know how he keeps sane while doing so (maybe he’s not) but Jackson lets himself be swept away by the force of nature that is Leland. At the same time, he keeps the hitman grounded. I think that is the beauty of their relationship. Their snark and banter were hilarious AF. Their polar opposite dynamics really made the book.
I loved how OTT everything is. There were indeed moments when things got a bit tiresome and repetitive but overall the author was able to deliver action-packed insanity wrapped around a sweet and tender romance.
This novel is my introduction to Alice Winters’ work and definitely not my last. Recommended if you like lovers from the opposite sides of the law, (kinda) enemies working for the same cause and fence jumping with varied levels of success.
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away0
If The Seas Catch Fire – L.A. Witt
Sergei Andronikov was a child when the Mafia wiped out his family, leaving him with nothing but a hunger for revenge. Years later, through ruthless strategy and tireless patience, he’s a contract killer working for the three families ruling Cape Swan… and he’s nearly in position to bring them all down from the inside.
Domenico “Dom” Maisano is Mafia royalty, a made man… and a hitman. He’s caught up in a violent life he can’t escape, struggling to maintain an image he doesn’t want, and suppressing desires he can’t have.
A chance encounter throws the killers into each other’s paths. Though Dom knows he’s playing a dangerous game, he’s intrigued and keeps coming back. Sergei can’t resist him either—Dom is everything he set out to destroy, but he’s also everything he’s ever ached for in a man.
Then Sergei gets the contract he’s been waiting for—the hit that promises to bring the town’s Mafia to its knees.
But when a capo makes an unexpected move, Sergei must choose between dropping the hammer on the families he vowed to annihilate, and protecting the man he swore he wouldn’t love.
And the wrong choice—or even the right one—will destroy them both.
I picked this up because I specifically wanted to listen to Michael Ferraiuolo. I went in blind and came out awestruck . It was so good!
First of all, I was delighted to discover that the main characters were an assassin and a mafioso. I love stories with these kinds of antiheroes and double the thrill that this is a love story between the two.
Sergei and Dom met in less than ideal circumstances, parted ways then met again because Dom couldn’t stay away. At first it was just for sex then the arrangement became something of an emotional lifeline for the two men desperate to escape a situation where the only time you get out is when you are dead. The book painted a good picture of the struggle Sergei and Dom went through. It was pretty much gutwrenching. It was such a convincing no-way-out scenario that I half expected the ending to be tragic. The only guarantee this ends happily is this being MM.
Sergei saved the day with his resourcefulness and quick thinking. The man is deadly as fuck. Dom was the most reluctant made man there is. He had no choice because his uncle, the don, effectively traumatized him to submission. Dom was also his uncle’s personal hitman. Thing is, he is really just a gentle soul so even though he was bigger than Sergei, he could learn a thing or two about intimidating a target from the smaller man. They were supposed to kill each other but the chemistry between the two hitmen were off the charts. The enemies to lovers aspect was executed really well here.
If The Seas Catch Fire is a book about people with guns so violence and death are a given. It was described as dark, but although there were scenes of torture, I felt it didn’t cross over to the disturbing territory. However, the protagonists make morally gray decisions so if you are not comfortable with these kinds of characters, this might not be the book for you.
Author L.A. Witt impressed me yet again with her story telling. The twist and turns, the gritty atmosphere, the heartbreaking family situations and intense scenes all came together in a powerful emotional rollercoaster that I have come to associate with her angstier books. She makes her characters go through so much shit that I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up dead. How Sergei and Dom pulled it off was pure suspense. It was almost perfect but of course, something had to go tits up and there was a very close call so boy, was I relieved to see them miraculously survive!
I had a great time with this book. It’s a winning combination of good writing and outstanding narration so I recommend experiencing If The Seas Catch Fire in audiobook form.
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away0