Title: Model Exposure (Haven Investigations, #4)
Author: Lissa Kasey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 2, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 275 pages
Reviewed by: NeRdyWYRM
Heat Level: 4.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
After being rescued by Ollie, Kade continues to suffer the aftermath of his ordeal, both physically and psychologically. Not knowing how else to clear his head, he pours his energy into Ollie—the love of his life—and Haven Investigations, but neither Ollie nor Kade can continue to ignore what they learned from their last case: Ollie’s brother, Nathan, might have betrayed Kade.
As they dig into Ollie’s past, secrets are revealed. Was Nathan’s death a suicide? Were Ollie’s parents much more than they seemed? Is someone out to kill Ollie, or is it Kade’s past coming back to haunt them again?
Amidst questions and uncertainties, one thing is clear: after everything they have been through together, Kade and Ollie have never been more in love and they want to get married. But first, they’ll have to deal with the continued threat of Kade’s past, the emotional wounds Kade fears are drowning him, and the possibility that everything Ollie believed about his family was a lie. A beautiful happily ever after awaits them—as long as they can survive long enough to make it to the altar.
Exposing Great Themes
This title is not a standalone and really shouldn’t be read as one. As such, I’m having a hard time separating this book from the rest; they build on each other. That said, there were some fantastic themes in this series and in this book. You’ve got a gender-fluid character, an MC who’s former military, murder and mayhem, a genuine mystery, PTSD, disability, anxiety/depression, anorexia, and basically a spectrum of whattheactualfuck stuff that all gels nicely together without being too much. Let’s face it, with so much going on, it could have easily pegged out on the bad side of the bullshit-o-meter. Thankfully, that didn’t happen here.
I can’t say too much without being spoilery, so I’ll just say this. I loved Kade. Loved, loved, loved. He was almost unbelievable at first, a guy who had been through so much remaining so cheerful, open and optimistic smacked of disingenuousness … but! We eventually learn that all is not sunshine and roses as it appears. Instead, Kade has done a remarkable job of dealing with most things, others he’s stuffed down or run from, and still more he’s forgotten about entirely. Ironically enough, the trauma he went through was the cause of some of the lack of memories he had about the trauma he went through. Weird I know, but it worked!
It probably didn’t help that Ollie’s voice in the first couple of books was just so loud. The things he was unwittingly caught up in stretched credibility a bit, but we don’t find out about a lot of it until this book anyway, so no harm no foul. I loved the Alice in Wonderland thread throughout. Although that was largely Kade’s influence, it truly felt like Ollie was down the rabbit hole half the time. I got it. Add Ollie’s high volume to Kade’s easygoing personality and it could have been easy for one to drown the other out, but no. They’re both heard pretty equally, although the focus doesn’t shift (almost) entirely to Kade until later on in the series. In between, there’s quite enough external drama going on as it is and Ollie himself is a bit of a mess all around, even though it’s mostly justified.
The character and relationship development in this series are stellar. It’s not exactly insta-love although a long-term connection was there already even if there had never been an opportunity to nurture it. Ollie and Kade do not have an easy go of it and events really conspire against them, but they do the work, a lot of work, both separately and together. In this way, the author was able to lend quite a bit of realism to the relationship and cut into some of the implausibility inherent in an action-packed plot that crosses several books.
I caught myself being reminded occasionally of Mary Calmes’ A Matter of Time series in that I had to stop and wonder sometimes how it was possible for two people to constantly be immersed in such life-altering crises. Ollie and Kade were, in a way, shades of Jory and Sam. There was just so much going on all the time. I think you get the idea. This was a relatively fast-paced read that had me praying on several occasions that the MCs would catch a freaking break already. Truthfully, all four books were like that.
Supporting characters were also well-fleshed out and likable, and I was satisfied with resolutions to crises and with the various intertwined themes and plotlines overall. I learned a great deal more about gender-fluidity which is something I’ve missed out on before in titles with similar characters. I feel like I’ve finally got a grasp on a concept I’ve never had enough experience with to understand. In that respect, Ollie was awesome. Oh! And his jacket at the end? I freaking want one so bad. So. Bad.
All in all, I enjoyed the series. The last book, this book, wrapped things up nicely and Ollie and Kade do end up getting their hard-won HEA. And hell, if they hadn’t, I might have done something drastic, or criminal, or drastically criminal. It would have been bad, let’s just leave it at that. So! Crisis averted! On to the next one. Read the series. I luuuuurved it.
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Haven Investigations Series