Title: The Assignment (Detectives Valenti and O’Brian #1)
Author: Evangeline Anderson
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M, Suspense
Length: Novel (Print)
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5
Detectives Sean O’Brian and Nicholas Valenti have been partners and best friends for six years. They are total opposites in demeanour and looks – Valenti who is from a wealthy Italian family is tall, dark and repressed and O’Brian who is small statured, blond and good looking is very much the product of his outgoing affectionate large Irish family. They have supported and depended on each other through Valenti’s divorce and other disasters while on or off duty, and each knows that the other would take a bullet for him in a heartbeat.
Their latest assignment is to go undercover at the RamJack, a gay resort, posing as two gay men to catch a drug kingpin who is flooding the gay bars in the city with poison cocaine. While at the resort Valenti would be the ‘sugar daddy’ and O’Brian his ‘boy,’ a designation that Detective O’Brian abhors, and he complains bitterly that he is being type cast. Nick has his own reasons for not wanting the assignment. Lately he has been seeing his best friend in a totally different light and he is attracted to him in a sexual way; when Sean suffered a near-fatal injury in the line of duty several months ago he realized he was in love with him. Nick knows it will be extremely difficult to hide his feelings from Sean while they are undercover, sleeping in the same bedroom and pretending to everyone that they are a couple.
Detectives Valenti and O’Brian
The assignment proves to be even more difficult than Nick anticipated as Sean proceeds to make his life miserable by touching him whenever possible in public and even in private under the guise of practising their role so that they would appear to be a genuine couple when they meet their ‘host’. In the middle of the danger all around them Sean seems to take a great deal of pleasure in tormenting Nick and upping the ante to get a rise out of him.
Their undercover assignment brings out feelings in Nick and Sean that they have kept buried and they can no longer hide their love for each other. Since they are both straight, this is a quandary that neither has any idea how to resolve and there is the added dimension of their job where being gay detectives is not something that is acceptable. The tension and the drama of the final take-down plays out very publicly and Nick and Sean are left to deal with the outcome and emotions they never anticipated having for each other.
The Assignment continues to be one of my favourite all time stories. It has everything, two great looking charismatic characters, heightened emotions which adds to the suspense, danger, a terrific story with excellent dialogue, wonderful pacing and a plot that held my interest until the very end. The first time I read this book eighteen months ago I loved the story and fell in love with the characters who were genuine and three dimensional. I thought that Sean O’Brian was so well drawn he could walk off the pages of the book and into real life and Nick Valenti was no slouch either. The two protagonists blew my mind – not only were they very much in love with each other, they genuinely liked and were sensitive to each other’s needs, even before they had sex which was so hot it seared the pages. Sean and Nick started out as long-time partners who were best friends and this history gave an added dimension to the love scenes in the book and made them seem very authentic and believable. The sex was tender, funny, affectionate as well as sensuous and there was great chemistry between them
I have no hesitation giving this book 5 stars and two thumbs up.