Title: Bone to Pick
Author: T.A. Moore
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: August 14, 2017
Page Count: 240
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Cloister Witte is a man with a dark past and a cute dog. He’s happy to talk about the dog all day, but after growing up in the shadow of a missing brother, a deadbeat dad, and a criminal stepfather, he’d rather leave the past back in Montana. These days he’s a K-9 officer in the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and pays a tithe to his ghosts by doing what no one was able to do for his brother—find the missing and bring them home.
He’s good at solving difficult mysteries. The dog is even better.
This time the missing person is a ten-year-old boy who walked into the woods in the middle of the night and didn’t come back. With the antagonistic help of distractingly handsome FBI agent Javi Merlo, it quickly becomes clear that Drew Hartley didn’t run away. He was taken, and the evidence implies he’s not the kidnapper’s first victim. As the search intensifies, old grudges and tragedies are pulled into the light of day. But with each clue they uncover, it looks less and less likely that Drew will be found alive.
Special Agent Javi Merlo and K-9 Deputy Cloister (his mother’s maiden name) Witte have worked together in the past and hate each other’s guts. Cloister rocks the “principled redneck” vibe while Javi is “a tall, dark man with a good haircut and a better suit.” There’s a strong sexual sizzle between the two men but their attraction takes a back seat to finding a child missing from an upscale new age camp/retreat outside town. 10-year-old Drew is the grandson of Javi’s FBI mentor and there’s a lot of pressure to quickly solve the case and find the boy.
T.A. Moore has created a very tight complex plot that really carries this book from start to finish. Turns out Drew’s disappearance may be linked to other unusual events spanning many years (no spoilers here!). Once the mystery plot gets fully underway, we get some very steamy scenes between Javi and Cloister, but these two are not closet romantics and there is no glowingly tender HEA here, but more of a cautious entanglement:
“I don’t even know why I want to fuck you,” he said as he worked the tight rubber of the condom down over his cock. The sheath was a slippery, wet look against the darker skin of his cock and snug around the base. “You aren’t my type.”
Cloister was thickly erect. Reflected in the window, his cock jutted at a proud, untouched angle between his spread thighs. “Yeah, well, I wouldn’t ask you to prom either,” he said. “But you’re here, so….”
We get tantalizing bits and pieces of Cloister’s childhood but very little about Javi other than he prefers to keep his sex life and his life separate – no emotional involvement. Yet, there is something between the two that begs further exploration:
Laughter wasn’t a usual element of Javi’s sex life. He liked his encounters to be planned, intense, and mutually satiating—not funny. So he was surprised at how hard the rough growl of Cloister’s easy humor left him.
I loved how the mystery unfolded, and while the crime is solved by the end of the book, I hope there are more books from T.A. Moore about these two because it seems like we’ve barely scratched the surface of their fledging relationship or their pasts.
Also Big Bonus – Cloister’s K-9 dog Bourneville is really the star of the show. The author writes like they know and understand dogs and we get a great deal of fascinating information about how K-9 dogs process information and do their jobs. I give Bone to Pick 4.5 stars and highly recommend it!