Title: Pros & Cons of Vengeance
Author: AE Wasp
Publisher: Independently published
Release Date: January 20, 2019
Genre(s): War & Military
Page Count: 322
Reviewed by: ParisDude
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
There’s nothing like being blackmailed by a dead man to really bring a group of cons together. And what a group we are: a hacker, a thief, a con artist, a thug, and a Federal agent with an axe to grind. The deal is simple, we do the jobs and Charlie’s lawyer wipes the slate clean for each of us, one at a time.
Since job number one calls for some muscle, it looks like I’m up first. I’m Steele Alvarez, ex-Special Forces Close Protection Specialist (aka, a bodyguard for some not so nice guys).
After learning what the job is — taking down a seemingly untouchable senator with a penchant for beating up young male prostitutes — I’m in. No questions. A bullet ought to do the trick.
Then I met Senator Harlan’s latest victim: Breck Pfeiffer, the gorgeous hooker with a heart of gold and the soul of a fighter. One look at him and I’m gone. That kid laid me out harder than any punch ever did. I’ll do anything to protect Breck, even kill for him. But Breck doesn’t want the senator dead, he wants vengeance.
If we’re going to find a way bring down the slimebag and get the blackest mark on my record erased, I’m going to need all the help I can get.
Like it or not, we’re all in this together.
Charlie Binhgam has earned loads of bucks gathering and selling illegally retrieved information. Now he’s dead. His lawyer, spry Miranda Bosley, invites five never-convicted mastermind criminals to his funeral. Not because Charlie’s last will was to be duly mourned, but because he wanted them to carry out several special missions. And if from his grave he has to resort to blackmail in order to make them comply—well, what’s a bit of blackmail to a man who’s earned his life with it. Especially now he’s dead.
Amongst the five chose ones: Leo Shook, FBI Special Agent with issues who’s been chasing Charlie for years; Wesley Bond aka Zero, best known for his ingenious hacker activities; Carson Grieves, con man with incredible playacting talents and looks so all-purpose he can pull off any role he chooses (and pull money out of the pockets of anyone he targets); Ridge Pfeiffer, angel-faced thief so stealthy no one’s ever seen what his shadow looks like; and Castille “Steele” Alvarez, ex-US army and broad-chested, olive-skinned bodyguard cum hit man. Plus, the splendid seaside villa Charlie has bequeathed on this group comes with Josie, the larger-than-life householder slash cook slash cocktail provider.
The team’s first mission leads them to Washington DC, where they rescue Ridge’s twin brother Breck, a college student become high-society hooker, from the claws of unscrupulous anti-gay senator John Harlan. The assignment is obviously to expose senator Harlan’s villainies and bring him down once and for all. What Steele hasn’t bargained for is the fact that Breck’s not only sizzling hot, but also makes him realize that beneath his impressive muscles, there’s a heart beating, a heart that only asks to be taken. Likewise, Breck thought he controlled his life and his emotions. But as he participates in the five men’s activities, he discovers fear. And love.
To be honest, when I first read the blurb, I thought, “Right—five criminals forced to work together. All of them gay. All of them essentially good men at heart. Golly, I’m afraid my review will be a butchery…” Then I started to read. And lo and behold, would you believe it, only two pages into the story, I had forgotten my earlier misgivings. Completely forgotten. Because AE Wasp’s prose is well-paced, the woman has rhythm, she knows how to tell a story, she knows how to make you live it, she knows how to build believable, albeit peculiar characters out of nothing. The five criminals? From the POV of law enforcement, bad men, no doubt. But they have values, they have morals, they have hearts (nothing cheesy, however, thank heaven).
They have bodies, too. The hot scenes almost made me smoke a cigarette after the protagonists’ climaxes. And each has a past. In this book, told in the first person alternately from Steele’s and Breck’s points of view, you’ll read some very authentically touching scenes where you’d better keep a hanky ready.
As I’ve understood it, AE Wasps has planned this to be a five-book series (five main characters, each having a mission to carry out). This is therefore the first instalment, and what a good read it turned out to be! You get emotions, you get heat, you get witty dialogues, you get likeable characters, you get a gripping plot. I for one can’t wait to start book #2.
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