Holding Out For A Fairy Tale
Title : Holding Out For A Fairy Tale
Series : Least Likely Partnership #2
Author : A.J. Thomas
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Mystery, Suspense
Length : 250 pages (e-book)
Published : May 9, 2014
Rating : ★★★★1/2
Spin-off from A Casual Weekend Thing.
When his vicious cousin Alejandro makes a violent late-night visit, San Diego homicide detective Ray Delgado gets a brutal reminder of why he left his family behind. Alejandro wants Ray to find his sister, Sophia, who disappeared from the UC San Diego campus, before the FBI digs too deep into his business.
Special Agent Elliot Belkamp spent his entire life jumping from one place to another, but his new assignment assisting a FBI task force offers him a chance to settle down. When Elliot catches a missing person’s case as his first assignment, the last person he expects to find poking around the victim’s dorm room is Ray, a one-time hookup he’s more inclined to punch in the face than kiss hello. After discovering Sophia’s disappearance is linked to a massive computer-based theft that has two powerful crime families ready to declare war, Elliot focuses on his investigation and tries to ignore Ray. As the search for Sophia turns dangerous, Elliot and Ray discover that tackling organized crime might be easier than resisting the urge to tackle each other.
Although it’s the second book in the Least Likely Partnerships series, Holding Out For A Fairy Tale is the standalone story of Ray Delgado and Elliot Belkamp, whom we both met briefly in the first book A Casual Weekend Thing, and can definitely be read on its own without losing anything of the story or character development.
It’s been eight months since Ray Delgado lost the only man he thought he’d ever loved to another man. As a matter of fact, it was Ray’s previous work partner, Christopher, that made him stop denying his attraction to men as well as women. Although he’s accepted that attraction, he’s still struggling with what it would mean for both his work and the already strained relations with his estranged crime family. After conceding defeat with Christopher’s new boyfriend, Ray consoled himself with FBI agent, Elliot Belkamp. It was a lot of fun for the week it lasted, until Elliot turned decidedly frosty and they both went back to work in different parts of the country. Now he and Elliot have been thrown together for a case involving drug dealers, missing money, a missing cousin and psychotic family.
Holding Out For A Fairy Tale is an action-packed crime mystery/romance that delivers well on both fronts, although the personalities of the two men make it lean a little more to the crime mystery side. Ray is a sometimes abrasive, somewhat socially awkward, very intelligent, focused man who masks his more sensitive, vulnerable side behind laughter and practical jokes. A mask very few people have managed to see past. Until Elliot’s interest is piqued and he starts to wonder if there is more to the man than the impression the end of their fling had left him with. Elliot is confident, smart, good at his job and knows what he wants. And what he wants is the whole fairy tale – a loving man to end the day with and wake up to the next morning as they grow old together. A man that previous experience had told him would most definitely not be Ray.
It took me a little while to really warm to Ray, but seeing him through Elliot’s growing realisation of who Ray truly is and what makes him tick was both fascinating and enlightening, and I found myself growing to like the man along with Elliot. Both the MCs were interesting and layered, sometimes frustrating and remained consistent in their actions and reactions throughout the whole story. There were times where I got completely frustrated with Ray and thought the author might be heading toward some fairly common plot cliches, but the actions were actually kept true to both personalities and ended up being really well handled between the two characters and in a very believable way. Once the motivation behind the actions became apparent, it made me reframe how I had been seeing them and did made sense in the context of the character’s personality. There weren’t any sudden acceptances, but things weren’t unnecessarily drawn out, either.
I loved the touches of humour and moments of banter. The crime/mystery was well paced with a tight plot that wove effortlessly through the romance of the two men. Their interactions felt believable and, when they get together, were undeniably hot. And the last line is a great one! It stayed with me long after I finished the book and still makes me smile.
Rated 4.5 stars by BookSmitten