Title: Dangerous Ground
Author: Josh Lanyon
Genre: Contemporary M/M, Action Adventure
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Special Agents for the Department of Diplomatic Security, Taylor MacAllister and Will Brandt have been partners and best friends for three years, but everything changed the night Taylor admitted the truth about his feelings for Will. And when Taylor was shot a few hours later, Will felt his reluctance to get involved was vindicated. For Will, the team and the friendship have to come first — despite the fact that he hasn’t failed to notice just how…hot Taylor is”.
Taylor’s and Will’s partnership and friendship are in danger of being severed forever and the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife, all because Taylor had the audacity to admit to being in love with Will who rejected him and, adding insult to injury, he had the bad taste to get shot in the line of duty a few hours later . Now Will feels guilty and tries to protect Taylor from himself; Taylor hates being coddled by Will and resents his lack of trust and guilt about his injury. Neither of them has a clue how to put their relationship back together as they bumble along making all the wrong moves. Their camping trip which was Will’s idea to try and mend fences doesn’t seem to be doing the job and in fact appears to be making things worse. But they have to figure something out pretty fast when they find $2 million which had been missing from a casino heist and some pretty dangerous folks start pursuing them relentlessly to get their hands on the cash and dispose of our heroes at the same time.
I’ll get the superlatives out of the way first before I actually review the book. I love the characterizations in this book and found them totally believable. Will is the quintessential alpha – strong, practical, cool under pressure, hard headed, reserved and a man of few words. Taylor is just as tough and my assessment of his character would include similar adjectives except I would add that he has a vulnerable core to offset his alpha personality and he doesn’t mind a bit of emotion peeking through his “tough guy” exterior. Clearly these men exhibit like qualities but are sufficiently dissimilar to make for a very interesting and dynamic personal relationship
What I most like about Dangerous Ground is the economy of words used by the author throughout the book to describe the action and set the stage. Notably, he loves the word “ground” and uses it on as many occasions as he can to make a point and here it actually works. Mr. Lanyon is a master in the art of world building and I have to applaud his brilliance in using the location of the crime as the major element of the ambiance for the story thus making the reader feel part of the action. His prose is spare, tight, terse and clipped but occasionally he lets go and here is an example of why I love his language “Those crepuscular rays — golden shafts of light — penetrating the snowy rafters of clouds ……….The fields around them were bathed in amber light, the trees glinting and flashing in the duelling sun and shade. The surrounding mountains looked purple and blue.” WOW.
I do love a bit of action and adventure – make that a lot of action and adventure – to complement servings of man on man loving which is pretty hot in this book. This is a departure of sorts for Lanyon who is not as well known for sensuous making-out sessions under the sheets (or under the skies) as he is in setting up suspense and action sequences of a different kind. Maybe he’s been reading Man Oh! Man. Whatever the reason, readers have a real treat awaiting them in Dangerous Ground with two hot men doing what comes naturally; the adrenaline begins pumping even before Lanyon’s trademark action adventure scenario with the bad guys plays out.
While on the run our heroes seem bent on stirring the emotional waters in more ways than one and a hot tub played a key role in their attempt to make up, taking the meaning of water sports to a whole new level as “they grappled amiably, hands slipping on slick bodies, tussling and twisting in the steaming water”. Okay!
Dangerous Ground is even better than the hype. I rated the plot 10 out of 10 – the pacing is just right and the author does his usual flawless execution in wrapping up the story tight as a drum without any loose ends. There is also his signature dry humour in the book to lighten the dark storyline. The protagonists are not as flawed as we have come to expect of this author’s heroes. Switching from first to third person POV seems to have changed the dynamic between his two main characters and this works exceptionally well here and, in my opinion, added depth to the book. Once the action gets going it doesn’t stop and the story is an intense adrenaline rush powered by the attraction and conflict between Taylor and Will, giving readers a nail biting roller coaster ride.
Did Will and Taylor get their HEA or even a happy for now ending? Like the rest of us you’ll have to read the book to find out. Kudos to Mr. Lanyon for another excellent adventure that is more than worth the price of admission