Bargaining with the Devil (Death and the Devil #2)

Title: Bargaining with the Devil (Death and the Devil #2)
Author: L.J. Hayward
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: June 30, 2018
Genre(s): Suspense
Page Count: 78
Reviewed by: Maya
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5


Meta-State spy Jack Reardon believes it’s all been taken care of. He has his verbal agreement with his boss to “keep Blade happy,” and Jack is more than willing to do his best in that regard. He also has his bargain with Ethan, to keep seeing each other. Small victories, interspersed with exploding bombs, smashed cars and miffed co-workers, all while consorting with an international assassin.

Contract killer Ethan Blade values his security, and Jack’s the first time he’s found that with another person. Wiring a warehouse or outback shelter for safety, no problem. Keeping safe a prickly ex-soldier-turned-spy who’s a magnet for trouble, not so easy. Instead of faceless, nameless jobs, he’s poking his fingers into Jack’s cases—a car bomb gone awry, a Hen party gone wild—much to Jack’s mounting dismay.

They have a deal; neither one of them can seem to stick to it. It’s Jack versus Ethan as the two men learn to navigate their ever-evolving not-a-relationship without losing the benefit of the bargain.

They have a deal; neither one of them can seem to stick to it.

This, right there was what got me reading. I dived right in despite not having read previous books. Luckily, that turned out not to be a problem because Ethan and Jack are easy to like. The writing is smooth and we are seamlessly introduced to the world they live in.
The first scene already gives us fairly good portrayal of two men and they relationship up to date: they are attracted to each other and willing to engage in occasional bout of enthusiastic sex despite misgiving they still harbor toward each other and electric connection between them. They are still adversaries, they challenge each other and always try to get one up on the other. The whole setup s practically crackling with heat.

The fact that they are trying to fit their relationship around demands of the job (secret agent and assassin) leads to some funny moments.
It’s not all sex and explosions. Ethan is skittish and Jack is trying to bring their relationship to solid ground. The result is exciting and engaging read.

We only get Jack’s POV and I would dearly love a peek into Ethan’s head. He has a strange way of showing affection, which frustrates and confuses Jack. The story jumps from encounter to encounter each time adding a bit to their connection. It’s an interlude in their lives and despite its shortness it shows the way they change each other. I am now curious what happened in the first book and also what will happen in the next!

Death and the Devil series

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Bargaining with the Devil provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.