Reviewed by Susan Lee
TITLE: Roughed Up (Book #3)
SERIES: Up to Trouble
AUTHOR: Hank Edwards
PUBLISHER: Loose Id Publication
BLURB: FBI Special Agent Aaron Pearce and his lover Mark Beecher are taking a well-deserved vacation relaxing on the beaches of Barbados Island. They spend lazy days in the sun, on scooters seeing the sites, or in their hotel room making love.
When Mark sees a young girl in a bar who may be in danger, he begins an informal investigation into her situation, even as Pearce reminds him they are not citizens and have no legal power on the island. Mark is determined, however, and, while investigating on his own, is taken captive by a sex slavery ring.
Pearce panics when Mark goes missing. He has a good idea what happened to Mark and who has taken him, but he cannot prove it. While working with the Barbados Royal Police Force, Pearce realizes he has become the detective’s prime suspect, and understands he needs to conduct his own personal investigation if he has any chance of finding Mark before he is either sold into sex slavery or murdered.
I have to be honest with you. I didn’t love the first 2 books of the series. When there are so many better pretty-boy-dating-a-cop stories out there, it was hard for me to give books 1 and 2 more than 3 stars. The thing is: I’m a sucker for pretty-boy-dating-a-cop stories though. And I’ve become attached to the MC’s Mark and Aaron enough to read on. Turns out, book 3, “Roughed Up”, is the best of the series and solidly entertaining.
Backstory: Mark was witness to a high-profile mob crime. Aaron was the FBI agent (ok, not cop…but alpha law guy? SOLD! I am IN!) assigned to protect him. They fell for each other, got involved in some danger and drama, it happened twice (thus book 1 and book 2), and the two ended up moving in together and growing their relationship.
Now, in book 3, Mark and Aaron decide to take a vacation in Barbados. The setting is romantic and without all the pressure that their relationship had been under to date, the 2 are able to relax and enjoy each other. When some unexpected danger in the form of a sex/slave trade comes their way, Mark and Aaron are forced, yet again, to put on their “good guy” hats and save the day.
What actually made this book so enjoyable was how surprisingly emotional it was. From the 2 MC’s coming to realize how much they’ve grown to love each other, to the frustration and irritation attached when a couple is really getting to know one another, to the fear and concern when facing true danger… I hadn’t anticipated enjoying this as much as I did. And I like Mark and Aaron more than ever now!
This book does not work as a standalone – you definitely have to read books 1 & 2 beforehand. The series as a whole is decently entertaining with the payoff being a solid book 3.
Susan Lee is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love
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