Review Summary: In a word – delightful!
Fifteen years with the Los Angeles Police Department, Mike Graham is a seasoned cop and a damn good training officer. On the brutal streets of LA, he’s witnessed every type of crime and taught countless rookies how to survive while they protect and serve. Nothing surprises him anymore. That is, until he meets Nathan York.
Nathan York shouldn’t be a cop. With his Beverly Hills background and pretty-boy good looks, he’s fit for the land of movie stars and nose jobs. Too bad being LAPD is all he’s ever wanted. No longer a rookie, he thinks he’s ready for any-thing, even if the next challenge is working with his hard-assed yet magnetic ex-training officer.
Partners on the job, Mike and Nate both struggle with an attraction that has no place in their world. Their explosive chemistry reaches a point it cannot be ignored, but the same chemistry that consumes them could destroy the very thing that binds them together.
The first thing I noticed about this book was the intensity between Mike and Nate, and the heat burned up the pages as the story progressed.
In the first scene they were responding to a domestic disturbance call which went bad very quickly. As they were holed up outside, a deranged man with a gun was threatening to shoot everyone in sight –
.… York’s eyes grew bigger. He looked at Mike, waiting for his lead, waiting for his command, like some pup in obedience training. The analogy wasn’t far off.
This situation soon changed when Mike, a police trainer and Nate, his student or “boot,” became partners on the job. As trainer, it was Mike’s job to ensure that Nate acquired the skills he needed to save lives including his own, but now that they were equals Nate had lots of attitude and demanded to be respected in his own right, which brought a different dynamic to their relationship.
Mike had been struggling with his attraction to Nate during the three months he was his trainee, and now that they were partners for a year it was very difficult to deal with because he no longer had to obey the “keep off the grass” signs. He wanted Nate with an overwhelming passion and the struggle made him even more bad tempered than usual which Nate, who was quite intelligent, noticed and wondered about the cause. As the stress kept getting to Mike he reached a breaking point and asked for a new partner. Nate hit the roof when he found out and demanded an explanation, as he suspected that Mike wasn’t telling him the real reason he wanted them to go their separate ways.
As this situation played out it became clear that Nate suspected why Mike wanted to stay away from him and he wasn’t about to let him go, not without a fight, as he had his own reasons for wanting Mike to stay.
Nate was from a well-to-do-family but his ambition was always to be a cop and his girlfriend couldn’t understand why. They had many disagreements about his career, ultimately leading to their breakup. But that wasn’t the only reason why Nate was happy to see her go, he recognized that Mike was attracted to him even though he went to great lengths to hide it, and Nate was not averse to walking on the wild side as he had had inclinations in that direction himself, although he hadn’t acted on them.
The scene where they came together was emotional and sensual and so believable as Mike tenderly initiated Nate into man on man sex, taking care of him and only giving him what he could bear. The sex was awesome and the prose and dialogue were incredibly moving. As for the kisses — oh my, those kisses would make anyone’s toes curl.
The kiss was filthy. Like no way he’d ever kissed a girl. Deep sucking and shoving of tongues. A struggle for lead. The hot, wet slide burning Nate from the inside out. Any time he sucked hard, the thrust of Mike’s hips matched it. Nate heard himself moan with a particularly deep thrust.
I could feel Nate’s hesitation and uncertainty about the newness of sex with a man, as he said at one point:
“I don’t know how…” The sentence died, and he started again.
“I was thinking about what you’d feel like.” His voice was rough too, and Mike thanked God he wasn’t alone in feeling hoarse. He slid his fingers back up and found the head of Mike’s cock, pressing in and circling it. “What’d be like to touch you.” He traced a path back down to the root, and Mike had to bite back a groan. The touches, so careful, the way Nate’s gaze darted between Mike’s face and what he was doing—
“And the conclusion?” Mike choked out.
This book was a lot more than the sex and the emotions. It was also about the differences in their personalities, their perspective on life, and what it took to make them come together in the end. Mike was more than 10 years older than Nate and loved him enough to give him up if that was what it took to protect him. He knew how much Nate’s career meant to him and didn’t want to wreck his life and chances of promotion in the police force if their relationship were discovered. The story was also about Nate whose life was just beginning. At twenty five he felt that he was quite capable of making his own decisions and mistakes. He grew a lot in the book and wasn’t prepared to let the best thing in his life go, even though it took a tragedy to make him realize what he could lose if he let Mike go. However, knowing and accepting that he was gay took a little longer.
There was lots of on the job police action which was authentic and well crafted and it was sprinkled strategically throughout the story; at times it was almost like watching a movie.
I can’t say enough about the writing talent of Sam B. Morgan who won me over from the beginning. A Rookie Move went full circle from the gritty police procedural work to getting to know the characters on a basic level. This is one of the few realistic GFY or OFY books that I have read in a long, long time as all of Nate’s fears about the sex act came to the fore when Mike said those words “roll over”.
I have never read any other books by this author and hope that he has a backlist because I’m going hunting. The dialogue and prose were exceptional and at times the dialogue was so funny it made me wonder where he had been hiding and why I had never heard of him. His characters were well drawn and so flawed I felt they were real people rather than characters in a book – the fights were knock down, last man standing as they pushed each other’s buttons as far as they could to get what they wanted.
One last thing, this was one of the few epilogues that I actually loved and thought that it wrapped up the story in a way that made it better. Nate’s dog Lucy was just as delightful as the book.
Great job Mr. Morgan. Highly recommended.