Hard Line (Renee’s Review)

 Hard Line (The Woodbury Boys, #2)
Author: Sidney Bell
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: April 2, 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary/BDSM/Suspense
Page Count: 352
Reviewed by: Renee
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Premed student Tobias Benton is making amends for his past. He keeps his head down, mouth shut and colors within the lines. But when his close friend Ghost goes missing, Tobias will do whatever it takes to get answers—including using blackmail to enlist some help. The last thing he’s looking for is romance.

Private investigator Sullivan Tate isn’t above a little breaking and entering to solve a case, but when Tobias catches him in the act, it’s almost game over. Their uneasy alliance only gets more complicated when Sullivan learns that Tobias shares his interest in kink. Mixing sex and work could kill Sullivan’s career, but Tobias’s acceptance of Sullivan’s darkest urges is nearly impossible to resist.

Side by side, Tobias and Sullivan spend their days searching for the truth and their nights fulfilling their respective fantasies. But the answers they seek are far more dangerous than they realize, and soon they find themselves fighting for more than just each other.

This was a good story, but is my least favorite from Sidney Bell so far.

We met Tobias in Book 1, as one of the Woodbury threesome of men, and this was his story. Adopted as an infant by a lovely Haitian couple, into a loving (and strict/rigid) home, Tobias has always had abandonment issues. He’s the consummate pleaser. If he can keep the people around him happy, he won’t be left again, as his birth mother did.

Tobias was addicted to being chosen, ,and being chosen by someone like Ghost, who found so few people worth his time, was the best high of all.

And now Ghost is missing. Not the typical missing where Ghost checks out for a few days, but missing in a way that worries Tobias and Church.

This is not a standalone. The story arc of Mama and her band of Russians continues, and isn’t resolved in this book either. We should see the closure there with Ghost’s story.

Tobias meets Sullivan by chance, and decides to blackmail hire him as a PI to find Ghost. Head shaved on the sides, long and dark Mohawk on top, sleeves of tattoos………Sullivan is not exactly the type that Tobias’s parents would want for their premed golden boy.

Since these two are in each other’s pockets day in and day out, a significant bond forms. And then things turn lusty and then romantic. Sullivan is a Dominant and sees a “true” submissive streak in Tobias that’s blatantly obvious.

And here’s where it didn’t entirely work for me. I never connected with the MCs. I was told of their bond, feelings, etc., but I never got the feeling that I truly experienced it. And because of that, the sexy times weren’t as sexy for me either.

“I would very much like to hurt you, if you think you’d enjoy it.”

It’s rare that a romantic story with suspense elements has me enjoying the suspense elements more than the romance. But that was the case here.

Ghost’s story is next, with a lot unresolved from that end. I don’t know how to feel about Ghost after this book. He took a significant amount of page time (not complaining – he’s so damn intriguing), but his story is sure to be uncomfortable. That’s the best way I can describe it.

The writing was solid, and I did enjoy this book. Fans of the author should definitely read it, especially those who liked Loose Cannon.

The Woodbury Boys Series

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Hard Line (The Woodbury Boys #2) provided by Carina Press via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.


I love boys who love boys! I'm in my 30s, from the southern US, and my crack is m/m romance.