Title: Backstreets (Hot Wire #2)
Author: Kat Cassidy
Release Date: March 7, 2019
Genre(s): Thriller / Suspense, Contemporary
Page Count: 160
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
“Where there’s nothing to gain and everything to lose.”
It’s modest, but after a lifetime spent barely holding on, former car thief Peter Bauer is proud of what he’s managed to achieve. He’s got a legal, legitimate job as a mechanic, a firm grasp on his addictions, and a steady relationship with Nikos Petrakis—stable, handsome, and recently widowed. Nothing is going to upset that, not the ever-present memory of Nik’s wife, not the claustrophobia Peter is starting to feel trapped in domestic bliss, not even the sudden reappearance of Peter’s ex—the sexy and dangerous Stavros Giannopoulos.
But when Nik’s daughter goes missing, Peter will be forced back into the seedy underbelly of the LA crime world, where anything goes. Can his and Nik’s relationship survive? Can Peter?
Backstreets is the second book in Kat Cassidy’s Hot Wire series which contains themes of crime, suspense, family drama, hurt/comfort, dark humor, addiction, and abuse. It should not be read as a standalone.
“Backstreets” is the sequel to “Hot Wire” which was at times a difficult book to read. One of the MCs, Peter, survived a horrible childhood with an absentee mother (who disappeared one night never to be seen again) and a psychopath for a father. It’s gut wrenching seeing Peter’s father Erik crush his soul (as well as his bones).
As “Backstreets” starts, Peter is still standing due to equal parts dumb luck and sheer determination. He’s out of prison and is struggling to find his place in Nik’s life as well as home. Nik’s home is overflowing with loving memories of his wife Helena and Peter is desperate for assurance of his place in Nik’s life. “I just want you to make some space for me in your life. Like you want me. Like I fucking matter to you.”
I love how Kat Cassidy explores all the nuances of their relationship – the love they share that Peter can’t quite vocalize yet, the way Nik supports and accepts Peter, the way the two are better together than apart. But just as they are working on their issues, Nik’s beloved daughter Mia is taken. The plot kicks into high gear as Peter, Nik, Peter’s sister Liv and Nina (Nik’s sister-in-law) work to find the little girl while dealing with old rivalries and old loves.
Cassidy constructs a plot that really holds your interest, pairing it with a relationship that, on the surface, seems so unlikely yet is what each man needs. The sex is hot, but the way they are willing to really work on the relationship together is even hotter. And I love the way Cassidy fleshes out her characters, particularly Nina’s off-beat budding romance where guns left on the porch substitute for candy and flowers. It’s more than a bit heartbreaking to watch Liv try to keep the family business together in the ruthless way her father taught her, all the while acknowledging “Pretending shit’s fine when it’s not is what we do best.” And Peter’s sharp sense of the absurd keeps me laughing:
“Good morning, handsome,” Nik said. Peter need a shave, […] He was pretty sure he looked like a greasy sack of shit. But it was nice of Nik to lie to him.
This book really worked for me – a great tight plot, fascinating multi-dimensional nuanced characters, a love that suffered some major setbacks yet survived and thrived, and an epilogue that really capped off the tale. There is a final book to the Hot Wire series coming Winter 2019; I can’t wait to see if Liv gets a chance at happiness, I’m sorta giddy imagining the progression of Nina’s gun-fueled relationship, and I sincerely want to see Peter and Nik safe, settled and still deeply in love. 4.5 stars.