Title: Against the Grain (THIRDS #5)
Author: Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: August 3, 2015
Genre(s): Shapeshifters/Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Page Count: 220
Reviewed by: Renee
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
As the fiercest Defense Agent at the THIRDS, Destructive Delta’s Ash Keeler is foul-mouthed and foul-tempered. But his hard-lined approach always yields results, evident by his recent infiltration of the Coalition. Thanks to Ash’s skills and the help of his team, they finally put an end to the murdering extremist group for good, though not before Ash takes a bullet to save teammate Cael Maddock. As a result, Ash’s secrets start to surface, and he can no longer ignore what’s in his heart.
Cael Maddock is no stranger to heartache. As a Recon Agent for Destructive Delta, he has successfully maneuvered through the urban jungle that is New York City, picking up his own scars along the way. Yet nothing he’s ever faced has been more of a challenge than the heart of Ash Keeler, his supposedly straight teammate. Being in love isn’t the only danger he and Ash face as wounds reopen and new secrets emerge, forcing them to question old loyalties.
Against the Grain is just what the doctor ordered if you’re a THIRDS nerd. I’m one, so I enjoyed this next book in the series. It begins immediately where book 4 left off – with Maddock interrogating Sloane and Ash with a baseball bat over their relationships with his boys.
Ms. Cochet does what she does best – she cooks up a recipe of semi-angsty romance, combines it with extremely witty moments, and rounds it out with suspense from their operations related to the THIRDS.
Ash and Cael have been dancing around each other since Book 1. Is Ash even gay, bi? Well, yes, yes he is. He just has issues. Like a whole magazine subscription of them. Some may think them eyeroll-worthy. And I wouldn’t disagree with you. But who am I to judge?
Cael doesn’t exactly play the doormat, but he doesn’t tell Ash to put up or shut up either. He’s got his own issues from the past. I’ll be honest – there was a lot of back and forth, push and pull. So much so that we get to the halfway mark with no real resolution of the will they/won’t they? It comes soon after though… And it does add to the relationship UST.
If you’re a THIRDS nerd, you will enjoy this story. I didn’t love it as much as Dex and Sloane’s story, but it wasn’t far behind. Why not 5 stars? 2 reasons. The first is the side story of Ash’s mom. If that shit happened, there is no way that bitch could just come back sniffing around. She doesn’t get or deserve to be a part of Ash’s life or even lay eyes on him, in my humble opinion. But that’s just me, and this is MY review! And the second – the parts of the story that showed the lovey-dovey moments were a tad on the wrong side of cheesy. Some of the phrases were a wee bit over the top.
Other than that, my friends, this is exactly what I’ve come to expect with Charlie Cochet and the THIRDS world she’s built. And the way she’s set up the suspense with regard to the future of Destructive Delta… delicious!