Here are the rules:
Take your current read and compare it to what you reading this exact time last year. Which one do you like better? What is different about the books? Any special facts/things you want to make note of or bring attention to?
The Kings: Wild Cards: Sleight Of Hand – Charlie Cochet
Former Special Forces Green Beret, Sacha “Joker” Wilder, is well-versed on the subject of demolitions. As a silent partner of Four Kings Security, Joker spends his days working alongside his brothers-in-arms and his best boy, Chip—a bomb-sniffing Belgian Malinois with sass. Years of military and private security experience have prepared Joker for almost anything, except the explosive attraction between him and Giovanni Galanos.
When Gio returns from his travels abroad, everyone is charmed by the handsome billionaire philanthropist, but in Joker’s experience, anyone who’s too good to be true usually is. Gio is hiding something, but the more time Joker spends around Gio, the more his walls start crumbling, leaving him exposed and at risk of losing his heart, something he swore he would never do. Love is for suckers, and that’s not him.
For years Gio has dedicated his life to his charity work, helping people around the globe, but when things go horribly wrong during one particular trip, Gio decides it’s time to come home for good. The desire for family, and a certain ex-Green Beret with a chip on his shoulder, has Gio eager to restart his life Stateside. For all of Sacha’s blustering and griping, no one makes Gio feel safer. If only Sacha could see how right they are for each other.
Danger lurks in the shadows as someone sets their sights on Gio, and secrets are forced into the light. If Gio and Joker are to have any kind of future together, they’ll have to face difficult truths, because where love is concerned, it’ll take more than sleight of hand to make things work.
The Kings: Wild Cards series is a spin-off of the Four Kings Security series.
Among the ex-Special Forces Green Beret co-owners of the Four Kings Security, cybersecurity specialist Jack is my favorite. But my most anticipated story is his best friend, Joker’s.
Our boy Joker is the group’s wild child. He grabbed my attention from the start. He hates being called by his real name, Sacha. He boldly declared he was never going to fall in love, EVER. He is short of stature, with an even shorter fuse, sloppily dressed, occasionally skips showers yet still managed to be very adorable. Jack might be his brother but his best friend is Chip, his black, bomb-sniffing Belgian Malinois. This lovable duo charmed their way into everyone’s hearts.
When Gio made his appearance and Joker expressed his dislike of the do-gooding billionaire, I knew right off the bat that what these two have was something special. The author teased us with glimpses of their USTs-filled, long-distanced interactions in previous installments. Gio has always been upfront about his interest in Joker who he calls Sacha. This, despite never having met him face to face yet.
Now home after a long stint abroad, he was very determined to show his beloved Sacha how good they could be together. Meanwhile, Joker was very determined not to fall for Gio’s considerable charms. Still, the very enticing billionaire has a way of breaking through his walls.
The magic of Sleight Of Hand was how it brought Gio and Joker together in the most delicious and satisfying way possible even if we already know what to expect. I loved how naturally Gio and Joker fell for each other and the way Joker came to terms with his feelings. This was one of the most enjoyable and well orchestrated relationship progressions I’ve ever encountered. The chemistry was off the charts!
Joker’s antagonistic approach to Gio stemmed from preconceive notions fueled by trust issues. Despite his best efforts to disliked the billionaire, he was attracted to him. The more time he spent with Gio, the more he realized how truly kind-hearted and sincere about his intentions the other man was.
Gio is awesome! He is sweet, generous and caring. He is a self-made billionaire who’s always smiling and genuinely enjoys helping people. He has so much love to give. Joker was surprised at how much the billionaire cared for him. Also, the man loved his dog Chip almost as much as he did. So really, our boy stood no chance of resisting.
I lived for that moment when things fell into place for Joker and he realized, oh fuck, he was indeed in love! With last person he expected to fall for. It was so damn GOOD!
My favorite part was how the two showed they care. These are men who take action. And their gestures, no matter how grand or small, really showcased the depths of their feelings. Joker, for all his griping about Gio, always made sure the busy man had eaten properly. What Gio did near the end made me a bit emotional. It was a touching tribute that meant the world to Joker.
The book is mostly romance with bits of action/suspense and mystery to move things along. The bad guy’s identity was very obvious but even with the elements of predictability, the story never felt stale to me. The plot moved fast while still giving Gio and Joker enough time to slow-burn their way towards each other (and make us squee).
The book is written in that inimitable Charlie Cochet style that’s always humorous, engaging and immersive. There were a lot of ridiculous dialogues and gags. Also, very thorough with details, especially the actions, yet never dragging.
The best thing about her books are the people and their wonderful dynamics. Joker and Gio belonged to a big family of ex-Green Berets, their boyfriends and their friends. Since the first time I meet this group in Jack’s book, Stacking The Deck, they felt very real to me. The author created such a fabulous cast, every one of them is memorable. And watching them interact with each other is always a treat.
However, the real star of the show is Chip. I loved all his cute doggy antics! New dog Cookie is also a sweetheart. You need to see how Cookie came into the picture. This part is pure heart-melter!
Sleight of Hand gave us everything we hoped for for our boys, Joker and Gio. Theirs was a fun, emotional, fluffy, sweet, delicious and happy coming together, with furry friends to light their way and human friends to cheer them on. Well played, Charlie Cochet!
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
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Because the very determined Gio won the elusive heart of one Sacha ‘Joker’ Wilder.
This meme was created by Reading Marie. It’s a great meme because it’s nice and easy to do.