Friday, April 6, 2018

Hard Line by Sidney Bell

Hard Line by Sidney Bell

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary (add to Goodreads): Premed student Tobias Benton is making amends for his past. He keeps his head down, mouth shut and colors within the lines. But when his close friend Ghost goes missing, Tobias will do whatever it takes to get answers—including using blackmail to enlist some help. The last thing he’s looking for is romance.

Private investigator Sullivan Tate isn’t above a little breaking and entering to solve a case, but when Tobias catches him in the act, it’s almost game over. Their uneasy alliance only gets more complicated when Sullivan learns that Tobias shares his interest in kink. Mixing sex and work could kill Sullivan’s career, but Tobias’s acceptance of Sullivan’s darkest urges is nearly impossible to resist.
Side by side, Tobias and Sullivan spend their days searching for the truth and their nights fulfilling their respective fantasies. But the answers they seek are far more dangerous than they realize, and soon they find themselves fighting for more than just each other.

Review: This is the second book in the Woodbury Boys series. It's okay if you want to read this on its own, but I do kind of recommend reading the books in order. You meet Tobias in the first one, but you also get a lot of needed back story for the plot in Hard Line. However, I also really loved Hard Line a lot more than the first book, Loose Cannon, so if you find yourself a bit "meh" about the first book, try and read on! Now, Tobias is someone who almost always tries to do what's expected of him. He loves his family but they can also be really suffocating. When his friend, Ghost, goes missing, he ends up hiring private investigator Sullivan Tate, whose current case coincides with Tobias' interests. The two don't really start out on good terms, as Tobias is essentially blackmailing Sullivan to help him.

However, the two do start to get to know each other better during the investigation and an a relationship of sorts starts. I thought the relationship was handled well, because Sullivan doesn't just suddenly forget how the two started working together. He's not okay with Tobias blackmailing him. As time goes on though, the two begin to work with each other a lot better and the relationship really works. I should also note that they have a bdsm relationship of sorts, though pretty much only when it comes to sex. Sullivan doesn't want Tobias to submit in everyday life, and Tobias is definitely not going to do that as he's done it throughout most of his life already. However, when it comes to their intimate relationship, the bdsm aspects work well for them, and I thought it was portrayed safely, which is a positive.

I don't know if there will be a third book, but I do think the answer will be yes, and I hope that it features Ghost as the protagonist. We've learned a lot about him in the first two books so it would be interesting to be "inside his head" for a change. Tobias considers Ghost his best friend, but Ghost isn't one to reveal real emotions or let people get too close, so he's hard to figure out sometimes. However, there is a moment near the end of Hard Line where Ghost does something that, I believe, really shows how much he cares for Tobias - though obviously this moment is very Ghost-like.

Definitely an interesting series with an over-arching mystery/story line that goes from book one to book two, just with different couples focused on for each book.


Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity said...

I've been wanting to try and read more romance lately because even though I love YA, sometimes it doesn't give a romantic storyline that's featured enough. Which everyone complains about, but I love romantic storylines! So I thought I should probably branch out into actual romance books for my romance fix, haha.

My favourite genre is mystery, so I feel like this series would be the perfect fit for me! I like the way you've described Ghost. I hope there's a fourth book in the series that focuses on him because he sounds super interesting!

I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Lauren! Lovely review :)

Lisa Mandina said...

I like that the story is able to leave the bdsm as just the sexual part of the story. I always wonder if it is going to carry over into real life, or if maybe that part of someone's interests is only during that part and the rest of the time they are not submissive, dominant, etc. Glad to hear this one was good. And I guess it's good you decided to keep on reading since it was better than the first! Great review!

Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight said...

That's great when those types of relationships where one person starts out treating the other badly or there's a power imbalance or something are handled well. If it's just brushed off quickly, then yeah, it bothers me. But if it's acknowledged and things happen slowly, it can work! And it's always good to see bdsm being portrayed well (since half the time it's just abuse disguised as bdsm). Glad you liked this one!

Verushka Byrow said...

I like there's a mystery in here, as well as the safe exploration of BDSM with consenting adults. Definitely need more of that in lit.