Title: Pros & Cons of Deception (Pros & Cons #2)
Author: AE Wasp
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Release Date: March 1st, 2019
Genre(s): War & Military
Page Count: 312
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. The deal is simple, we do the jobs and Charlie’s lawyer wipes the slate clean for each of us, one at a time.
Job number two lands right in my lap. I’m Bond. Wesley Bond. (I can’t resist saying it that way. Blame my dad, if you can find him.) You could call me a hacker. I redistribute wealth – moving it from rich slimebags to poorer but infinitely more deserving people – and make a tidy profit as I do. My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to bring down some modern-day slave traders.
I definitely choose to accept it.
With the life of the one person in this world I love on the line, I can’t afford any screw ups or distractions. Unfortunately, my biggest distraction is my biggest asset – Danny Monroe. Danny is a leftover complication from our first job; a victim of the vicious senator we’d gotten locked up. He’s a smart, funny, gorgeous, ex-prostitute, who can’t seem to keep his clothes on. I can’t seem to keep my mouth shut around him. But I need a fake boyfriend, and Danny is the only option.
Fooling the world into thinking we’re in love will be easy; fooling myself that I’m not might be impossible.
We don’t know who the bad guy is, we have no idea how to prove anything. There’s no internet on the island, no cell service, and i’ll have only the bare bones of my gear. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to need all the help I can get.
Like it or not, we’re all in this together.
If you’ve read AE Wasp’s first book in the “Pros & Cons” series, you’re already familiar with the main characters: the deceased Charlie Binhgam, late broker of illegally retrieved info, his lawyer, spry Miranda Bosley, and the five mastermind criminals Charlie blackmails from his grave into carrying out his last missions: FBI Special Agent Leo Shook, hacker Wesley Bond, conman Carson Grieves, thief Ridge Pfeiffer, and hit man Castille “Steele” Alvarez. The team can also count on mysterious housekeeper Josie and the two ex-hookers Breck and Danny, rescued from an unscrupulous and violent hook-up in book #1.
This time, the new mission is entrusted to 28-year-old, red-haired Wesley, the group’s nerdy tech specialist with limited social skills. The clue Charlie has provided points to the White Sands Resort, a private holiday retreat for the ultra-rich situated on Isla de Santa Rosa off the coast of Florida and owned by Marvin Mason. Apparently, most of the people working on the premises are Philipinos or coming from Central and South America. They’re enrolled through an employment agency and kept like modern-day slaves, with their passports and supposedly even their wages withheld.
Wesley manages to provide five of his team mates vacant jobs on the resort. To his dismay, he and handsome, 19-year-old Danny will have to pose as a fake well-off couple enjoying a short last-minute vacation. Upon their arrival, they immediately spot that there are several things amiss. There’s Mr. Davis, Mr. Mason’s assistant, for instance, whose whole demeanor just screams “federal law enforcement”. What is his agenda? Then there’s Brandon, Mr. Mason’s sleazy-creepy son, who despite Wesley and Danny doing some amazingly convincing love-befuddled playacting, can’t keep his hands off Danny’s hot body. Last but not least, what if both Wesley and Danny weren’t so much playacting as falling head over heels for each other? If they ever succeed in rescuing the enslaved employees, who will rescue them from love?
If you’ve read the first book of this series and take a look at the blurb, you might think that the author has just taken all the ingredients of her first instalment, mixed them anew, and the second book was ready. Some sort of tired rehash of the first success. Spoiler-alert: that’s exactly what she’s done. But of course, if the ingredients are well-chosen, if the mix is done with effectiveness and skill, and if the first book was a delight, why wouldn’t she? The result is something you might expect if you have read the first book, but there’s no sign at all of any tired rehash. For one, the first-person narrators are different in this book: here we alternately get to know Wesley and Danny. Meaning we’re granted with new personae, their emotional lives, their insights, their struggles, their slowly falling in love with each other. Truth be told, I even started to like the other characters better because the POVs were different.
Let me stress the fact that I read this second book immediately after having finished book #1. And I really enjoyed it as much as I did the first. The plot is gripping, even if in places the build-up felt a bit slower. But there’s everything that worked so splendidly in book #1: the fluid and assured prose, pace and rhythm, hateable bad guys, loveable good guys, cutie-pies galore, steamy scenes, inner reluctance to accept love in one’s heart, touching scenes, outright funny dialogues, yummy cocktails, and sizzling kissing scenes. Add some swaying palm-trees, the tropical sun, and a whirlwind ending, and you get the picture. I admit there were some typos in this book, but I understood that I didn’t receive the final version, which, I reckon, will probably be as well edited as the first book.
Five books, I gather, this series will have. I really do hope AE Wasp will invent some additional characters in the next instalments, because I’d honestly could do with more than five. Can’t wait to get my hands on #3 as we speak.