Title: Packing Heat
Author: Kele Moon
Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs
Publisher: Loose Id
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novella/29K words/
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
Review Summary: A hot adrenaline laden romance with two protagonists who couldn’t have been more well matched.
Dark and brooding firefighter Brad Archer has spent months denying his attraction to his roommate, Police Officer Gavin Connolly. Gavin is just the kind of guy he likes, tall, tough and buff enough to actually handle Brad’s big size and rough nature.
To hide his real feelings Brad holds the handsome, seemingly straight cop at arms length until a shooting at work leaves Gavin a little too vulnerable to ignore. What starts out as a simple attempt to comfort his roommate blows up into something wild, sexual and wholly unexpected when Gavin wants more from Brad than a strong, firefighter’s shoulder to lean.
The sexual magnetism drawing the two of them together forces secrets to be revealed and though the sex is mind-blowing it may not be worth weathering the storms their relationship could stir up. In order to protect him, Brad realizes he loves Gavin enough to let him go. The problem is—The stubborn cop may not let him.
This is the first book I have read by Kele Moon (she writes mainly heterosexual romances) so I had no idea what to expect, and I was blown away.
At 38, Firefighter Brad Archer had learned to separate his private and professional lives. His roommate Gavin Connolly, a Police Officer, had secretly lusted after Brad for years. When he saw Brad’s ad for a roommate on the GBLT rec. center notice board he was the first person to apply, and he begged and pleaded with Brad to rent him his spare room. Brad had already figured out that Gavin was either in the closet or curious so he wasn’t that keen to live with him since everyone knew that he was gay and it was obvious why a straight man would want to share an apartment with him so badly, but he decided to listen to his little head rather than his big head. Brad was open about his sexuality while Gavin was deep in the closet but he tried just about everything to entice Brad to take him to bed, outside of directly propositioning him.
Gavin had shot a teenager in the line of duty and he was freaking out that evening about it even though what he did was right and the 19 year old had been charged with attempted robbery. He had been drinking to drown his sorrows but at the same time he was trying to use the opportunity to get into Brad’s pants. Brad had also had a few drinks while trying to comfort Gavin and get him out of his depression, so when Gavin jumped into his lap and started kissing him he couldn’t resist the gift of free sex. The frotting was so hot it burned up the pages, as Brad did what he had wanted to do all along, give in to his roommate who had been asking for it for a long time.
The next morning when Gavin woke up and realized what had happened he was horrified because he figured that Brad would shove him out the door. At 6 ft. 2 ins and 220 pounds, tough no-holds barred Brad was his ideal man and all he wanted was to be his bottom boy; being asked to move would be the worst thing that could happen to him, especially since he had worked so hard to be Brad’s roommate. When Brad showed up later that morning, as Gavin expected he suggested that he move out but Gavin pleaded to be allowed to stay and indicated that he wasn’t really straight, something that was so obvious only a fool would miss the signs. He mentioned that he had tried to go to gay clubs to hook up but it never worked out for him because the men would take one look at his size and assume that he was a top.
Brad decided that since they wanted each other he would take what was being offered but there would be no expectations. The lust between them was an 11 on a scale of 1 – 10 as they fed on each other. Their coupling was off the scale as they pushed each other further than they had ever been before and the down and dirty sex was like debauchery. Brad wasn’t comfortable talking about feelings so as far as he was concerned this was going to be just sex despite the fact that Gavin was everything he wanted in a partner, which scared the crap out of him. As the attraction grew and changed from just the physical to something more spiritual Brad started freaking out because he didn’t want Gavin to experience the same hurt he went through when he came out.
What I loved about this book was how truly three dimensional the characters were, especially Brad who changed from what was a hard-assed, controlling, uncouth, brash, tough man to a wonderfully crafted complex character. He had used sex as a weapon throughout his adult life, only to have Gavin outsmart him as he played him like a well tuned fiddle. All of Brad’s insecurities came to the fore and I was really surprised at the way the two sides of this very complicated man merged and Brad showed that he was not the guy he appeared to be on the surface. His background had played into his psyche in a big way starting when his parents had disowned him at 18 when he came out, which destroyed all his feelings of self worth. He had no dreams of forever and wanted to spare Gavin the pain he had experienced. I am not often surprised by characters, especially one that started out like Brad, but when all of his insecurities came to the fore I fell in love with him.
Gavin acted and looked a lot younger than his 34 years and started out being clueless about how to attract Brad. When Brad asked him why he didn’t just ask to be laid he was surprised that something so simple would have worked, if only he had been smart enough to figure it out. However I also liked how he turned the tables on Brad when his Irish temper took over.
The dialogue between Brad and Gavin at times was priceless as well as very funny. The sex was bases loaded, out of the park home run hot so if you’re looking for a book to get your adrenaline pumping, with two MCs who complement each other in every way, you don’t have far to go.
This book is told in both Gavin’s and Brad’s third person POVs.
Highly recommended for those readers that love alpha heroes who can be tender and emotional but at the same time make out down and dirty with no holds barred.