Title: Caught by Surprise
Author: L.D. Madison
Publisher: Loose Id
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: short novel (151 PDF pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Summary Review: A fun kidnapping leads to love.
Partners and Federal Agents, Jason Lowery and Noah Black wake up in bed together naked, but neither one knows how they got there, or to the remote cabin the bed’s in. Jason’s interested, very interested, but he fears his partner’s reaction and the potential fallout if their superiors ever find out. He misread a fellow officer’s interest once and lost it all — his career, his friends, his family’s respect. This time around, he won’t be the one risking everything.
Noah has always been curious about sex with another man, but his strict upbringing and life in law enforcement made it impossible to explore that side of his nature safely. When he and Jason get locked in a cabin by a well-meaning friend, Noah wants to sample the forbidden. Both men agree to a single afternoon of passion. Just to see.
When they are released from the cabin, Jason wants to see where a relationship with Noah might lead. However, Noah is not ready to make such a radical lifestyle change — and he doesn’t think he’ll ever be ready to come out to friends and family.
Imagine this scene: You’re a Supervisory Special Agent for the FBI and you’re drugged, captured and taken to another location where you wake up in bed with a man – your friend and also subordinate at work. To make things even more interesting, he has his hand around your cock and you’re getting off on it — but wait, you’re straight! This is the situation in which Federal Agent Noah Black found himself. Noah was angry at how easily he and Agent Jason Lowery were kidnapped and were now minus clothes, gun, money, cell phone, etc. in a cabin at a remote location where the doors were reinforced, locked from the outside, and the house phone was apparently not working.
A phone call relieved their minds that this was not something their enemies had dreamed up to harm or embarrass them and the Agency, but instead was Jason’s friend’s idea of a prank to get them together. Noah soon figured out why he was Jason’s ‘gift’ from Nicholai Papov, a Homeland Security agent. To complicate matters, he had been having doubts about his sexuality and had even seen a shrink who suggested that he explore his curiosity by having sex with a man. He thought that this escapade was a not-to-be-missed opportunity to find out whether he was straight or bi now that he knew Jason was gay and wanted him. He asked Jason a few leading questions and then suggested that instead of ‘telling’ he should show him what having sex with another man was like since they had the entire afternoon free.
Jason was reluctant to do so because he was in love with Noah and did not want a one time roll in the hay. He was hoping for something much more meaningful, like a committed relationship, despite an affair in the past which had almost destroyed him. Several years ago when he was in the Armed Forces at Ft Benning he had an affair which was discovered and led to him being asked to resign for “conduct unbecoming,’ after 12 years in the military, due to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. His relationship with his family had ended when his sexual orientation was exposed, and he was not sure whether he wanted to ‘out’ himself again even for Noah, unless he was willing to commit.
However, Noah was very persuasive and eventually Jason did what he had wanted to do all along, make love to his friend and partner. The sex was wonderful and way better than any sex Noah had ever experienced with a woman, but despite this he was not prepared to commit to anything beyond that one afternoon because he could not face the fear and shame of coming out to his family and friends, so he hurt Jason by saying that he could not agree to see him any more other than at work. Since Jason wanted a relationship with Noah, he was upset by his decision, and they parted on somewhat unfriendly terms when they were released from their gilded prison.
The following week Jason was in full protective mode on his emotions and the air between him and Noah was frigid, as neither man was prepared to move from his original position. Their work situation was further exacerbated by an unreasonable new boss who seemed to have his own agenda, which included trying to get rid of Noah. Noah, in the meantime, was becoming fixated on Jason and he could not sleep at night or concentrate at work. He was so confused at his reactions to what had happened at the cabin that he started stalking Jason’s home, trying to get up the courage to ring his doorbell. When he couldn’t bear the uncertainty any more he showed up at Jason’s door and demonstrated how much he wanted him by committing to a relationship. Although they reconciled and everything in bed was great, all was not well at work as their boss continued his vicious campaign to get rid of Noah even to the point of interfering with his assignments and threatening him. Would this affect Noah’s and Jason’s budding relationship and Noah’s career with the FBI? Would their work colleagues and friends support or betray them?
What I didn’t like:
The author kept referring to Jason and Noah as “the blond” or “the brunet” throughout the book. I suppose she was trying to avoid using their names or a pronoun too many times, but after a while this became too repetitive and made it seem as if she couldn’t remember their names.
There was a bit of head hopping – not too much, but it was noticeable.
Noah’s and Jason’s boss was one dimensional with no redeeming qualities. He seemed unbalanced and it was apparent that the Agency was aware that he had had problems in the past with other subordinates.
It was not explained how the kidnapping actually took place except off page through vague references, and the incident made it appear that the two men were incompetent and unaware, even though their ‘kidnapper’ was very skilled and did it for fun. Also it wasn’t clear how the phone only worked for Nick.
Noah’s subservience to Jason during the first week after their adventure while they were trying to work around the incident and its aftermath. This was inconsistent with his characterization as a respected leader of his team who was valued by the department and members of the police forces to whom his unit provided technical and tactical assistance.
There were elements of an OK Homo world in the book because outside of Noah’s boss and one other agent, everyone else accepted his and Jason’s relationship.
What I liked
The writing, which flowed well. This debut novel was engaging and kept me engrossed until the end.
The protagonists, who were 3 dimensional. The secondary characters were also well drawn. I liked the relationship between Jason and his best friend, the very autocratic Nick who was funny in spite of his wealth and tendency to play god. Also Noah’s friend Devlin, another agent, who was really supportive.
The camaraderie between the agents who worked for Noah, and their loyalty to him when he most needed them.
Despite never being in a relationship that lasted more than a few months Noah was prepared to try something outside of his comfort zone – a relationship with a man with all it entailed.
The great sex. (Did I say that before?) 🙂
Despite the concerns I had with this book I really enjoyed Caught By Surprise. The protagonists were engaging and the investigations they were working on seemed realistic. There were quite a few funny moments in the book which relieved the serious tone and tedium of typical FBI investigations and helped me relate to the agents as people rather than just authority figures. I think you will enjoy Caught By Surprise because there’s a whole lot more to this complex book, and the author’s fresh writing style will make you want to immerse yourself in Jason’s and Noah’s story.
Caught By Surprise is part of Loose Id’s Coming Out series.