Pretty Policeman – Fifer Rose
Detective Micah Hart wasn’t sure when his fairly safe, predictable life became something more closely resembling a dumpster fire.
But if he had to pinpoint an exact moment, he would say it was the first time he went undercover as a prostitute in an attempt to bait the notorious serial killer who was stalking New York City’s streets – the media-dubbed Hooker Hunter.
It’s when Damon Romano plows into his life, with his fierce protective energy, and those thick thighs, and the bluest pair of eyes Micah has ever seen.
If only he wasn’t also a temperamental mafioso in charge of running one of the city’s largest criminal empires.
Damon fixates on Micah, obsessing over feeding him and making sure he always has a coat. He spoils him rotten with gifts and insists on taking Micah on as his personal escort – a “boyfriend” to get his nagging sisters off his back.
It’s weirdly sweet, and Micah doesn’t know how he’s become a soft spot in the ruthless man’s otherwise hardened exterior, but it would be a lie to say he didn’t want even more: a real relationship with Damon.
There was just one teensy, tiny problem with that.
Despite what Damon thinks, Micah isn’t actually a prostitute. He’s a cop for the NYPD.
Pretty Policeman is an MM billionaire/mafia romance, sprinkled liberally with rom-com elements, served with a side helping of sugar daddy kink and mistaken identity trope.
I’m not a fan of Pretty Woman because I don’t find Julia Roberts and Richard Gere attractive or appealing as actors. But I could see that the trope could be hella romantic if done correctly.
Pretty Policeman is a take on Pretty Woman, but instead of a sex worker, we have an undercover cop, Micah Hart, playing rent boy in order to catch a serial killer. He was rescued from an abusive john by billionaire Damon Romano, who then fed and clothed the underdressed, underage-looking Micah. And showered him with presents without expecting anything in return.
Micah tried several times to reject the care and the presents, but the older man sincerely and quite firmly wants to help get him off the streets. Thing is, Micah has a case to solve. Later, Damon gave him an offer he can’t refuse. And it turned out the caring billionaire is also a ruthless mafia don.
The premise grabbed me immediately, and I didn’t initially realize what trope it was referencing. Author Fifer Rose sold me the fantasy and spiced it up with forbidden love between an undercover cop and a mafia boss, and I bought it hook, line, and sinker.
And she made it so much fun! Written in Micah’s POV, his internal dialogues were hilarious, especially with how clueless he is in many situations and how we, as the reader, could see disaster written all over it. The writing also tends to use cutesy mini-explanations in parenthesis. It could have been annoying, but it worked with the tone of the story.
Both characters have a duality to them. Our boy Micah, lovable as he is, is a total himbo, suffers from verbal diarrhea, prone to making spectacularly bad decisions, and should avoid vodka at all costs. As a newly minted detective, he is surprisingly good at his job. Micah is eager to prove himself, works his cases with dedication and diligence, and has good instincts he utilizes to maximum effect during investigations.
Damon is known to Micah as a kind, protective, and generous man with a sugar daddy kink. He is a total gentleman, respecting Micah’s virtue even when the dork came on to him while completely smashed. Unknown to our boy, Damon is a much-feared mafia don whose wetwork makes even his hardened chauffer, Geoffrey, queasy.
We never see Damon’s POV, which I wanted so badly. On the other hand, seeing him through Micah’s eyes enhances his mystique. And boy, does he cut a dashing figure in his sharp suits and greek god good looks! Not to mention all that TLC he showers Micah.
In the last scene, we are teased with Geoffrey’s POV of his boss, where he comments on the changes to Damon’s character (“pep in his step” among them). While he secretly thinks Micah is an idiot, he couldn’t deny the dork’s good for the don. Heck, their chemistry sizzled and zinged! Even a grizzled mafioso could see that.
I hope we get Geoffrey’s POV again in book two because I am intrigued by a third person’s POV of the mismatched pair.
The trick to this book is to suspend disbelief, take it with a heaping pile of salt, and just let the romance sweep you away. The plot is OTT ridiculous but the case is actually interesting and is woven well with the crazy, implausible sugar daddy shenanigans, family drama, and workplace woes. I haven’t had this much fun with a book in a while!
Pretty Policeman isn’t the kind of literary masterpiece people rhapsodize about. But to me, it is a masterful take on a classic romance trope, a novel of pure escapist fun, and a swoony fantasy of dark knights sweeping pretty boys off their feet. It doesn’t get more perfect than that!
5 Stars – absolutely perfect
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This is a round up of the books I read on the 1st half of this year that I’m too lazy to do a full review.
Zero Hour: Zero Divergence – Aimee Nicole Walker
Zero Divergence, noun: no deviation from a course or standard.
After a key piece of evidence goes missing, a suspected serial rapist and killer evades prosecution. More than Royce Locke’s reputation is on the line when his investigation into the failed chain of custody suggests Franco Humphries might’ve had inside help. There’s no one Royce trusts more than Sawyer Key to help him right a wrong and uncover the traitor in their midst, but can they do it before the Savannah Strangler strikes again?
Relentless plus fearless equals flawless. Sawyer and Royce have come full circle—from hostile strangers to best friends and lovers. Neither a sniper’s bullet nor an arsonist’s fire could keep them apart, but what about a psychopath hell-bent on revenge? The stakes are high, and there’s no turning back now because the zero hour is upon them. Tick tock.
Zero Divergence is the conclusion to the best-selling Zero Hour series, which follows Locke and Key’s investigations and evolving relationship. This is a series you MUST read in order. It contains mature language and sexual content intended for adults 18 and older.
Trigger warning: Part of the storyline involves coming to terms with a friend’s suicide, which may be difficult for some people to read.
Back when Zero Divergence was newly released, I read a review complaining about the unsatisfying parking lot HFN closing scene of the series finale. It put me off this book, but now we know author Aimee Nicole Walker has something more in store for Sawyer and Royce, in their second series, Sawyer and Royce: Matrimony and Mayhem.
Before I delve into that, this finale needs to be read.
The story picks up right after the big fire in Book 2, Devil’s Hour. Sawyer is coping with the aftermath of his injuries, bit of a blow to his vanity but trying not to let it so. Royce is the extra supportive and loving boyfriend so relationship-wise, the boys are stronger than ever. Uptight Sawyer now shows his playful side more often.
The plot tackles the case of a serial killer who was convicted but released after key evidence went missing. It is a disturbing tale of how charismatic serial killers could be and the lengths their rabid, deluded fans go through to aid and abet their evil schemes.
So the detectives had to play it smart, especially with the killer easily gaining sympathy and many people still believing his innocence. The investigation brought together various frenemies with the necessary skills, many of them characters from the spin off series, Sinister in Savannah.
This is the kind of mystery where I enjoy tagging along with the detectives. I am also heavily invested in them giving the villain his comeuppance. The bad guys were already known, and it was a matter of retracing evidence, and gathering new ones to make sure the vile bastard stayed in prison for good.
Zero Divergence doesn’t read like a series finale, and we now know why. But it gives us one hell of a showdown and a satisfying conclusion to a gripping investigation. Overall, a solid police procedural and a romantic suspense that delivers the squees and the thrills!
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
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Zero Divergence: US
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