Title: Love and Payne (A THIRDS Universe Novel)
Author: Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 4th 2018
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 200 pages
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
A THIRDS Universe Novel
Austen Payne, THIRDS Squadron Specialist Agent (SSA) for Destructive Delta and TIN operative, has seen the worst the world has to offer, faced lethal killers, and helped bring down dangerous organizations. But nothing terrifies him more than falling in love. After years of undercover work, Austen is a master at defending himself and protecting his heart… until he meets Osmond Zachary.
THIRDS Defense Agent Osmond Zachary has a huge, doting family, yet something is missing in his life. After meeting grumpy, foul-mouthed, jittery cheetah Therian Austen Payne, Zach knows exactly what that something—or someone—is. Unfortunately Austen seems determined to avoid Zach at all costs.
When Zach foils an assassination attempt, he ends up in the killer’s crosshairs, and Austen is Zach’s best chance at staying alive. Zach hopes the crisis will bring them closer, but Austen has every intention of walking away as soon as the danger is over.
Happily ever after isn’t for guys like Austen, but Zach is determined to show him it can be…
If you are new to this series and/or author, I don’t recommend starting with Love and Payne; the previous books build the world, characters and premise for this latest installment.
Book blurb sums up the premise of the book fairly well. Austen Payne is in denial regarding his feelings for Osmund “Ozzy” Zachary. Or Zach to Austen. Austen, recruited at age 14 by TIN, has had a rough life and has build plenty of walls against being hurt again – mentally or physically. With the help of Zach’s HUGE family, Zach is determined to show Austen life can be so much more.
I enjoyed this installment more so than some of the others, and I think that was because it was Austen’s story. Austen pops in and out of the books much like he pops in and out of Sloane and Dex’s lives. I’d have to re-read, but I’m pretty sure Austen makes an appearance in just about every book.
I adored Zach’s family. I could totally envision the Bear Therian’s cabin in the mountains, everyone being noisy boisterous like big families are. I loved the scene with everyone out playing in the snow and our lone heat loving Cheetah chirruping his displeasure.
A few items detracted from my enjoyment, and I’ll admit, these are my quirks so take them with a grain of salt or two. The plot felt a bit disjointed – dramatic start with anti-Therian rhetoric and Zach getting hurt, segue to cabin in the woods to establish our protagonist’s relationship, and then circling back round to the dramatics with the anti-Therian group. I would have liked a stronger bridge between the beginning and end of the book.
While I understood the need to establish Austen’s background, his motivations and fears, the angsty relationship building became overly drawn out. This is where I would have liked to have seen more tie-in with the anti-Therian plot that established the setting, instead of references to Austen disappearing to make a phone call.
Recapping – I enjoyed this latest installment. I loved being introduced to a new set of characters and rounding out some familiar names. I am delighted that Austen finally gets his own story and I love how it ties in with the previous books. THIRDS continue to be a fun and engaging series.