The Assignment by Evangeline Anderson

         Yay! First post back! This book showed up on a bunch of lists that I was looking at. I actually find myself getting lost in those lists, and can wander through them for hours, but This book just kept popping up and after deciding not to read it a couple of times I finally gave in.

         Detective Nicholas Valenti, tall, dark and stoic, has been best friends with his partner, Sean O'Brian for six years. The two men have seen each other through divorce, disaster, and danger, and saved each other's asses more times than Valenti can count. Exactly when he started seeing his blond, intense partner in another light, Valenti isn't really sure. He only knows that he wants O'Brian in a way that had nothing to do with friendship and everything to do with possession. It is a desire he will have to hide forever because O'Brian is undeniably straight. 
          Just as Valenti is coming to grips with his new, unacceptable feelings for his partner their police captain puts them on a new case that could blow Valenti's cover once and for all. He and O'Brian are going undercover at the country's largest and most infamous gay resort to bust a notorious drug lord and stop the shipments of poison cocaine that are flooding the gay bars all over the city. 
          Now Valenti will have to make a choice between friendship and desire. He and O'Brian will play the roles of gay men that will push the limits of their relationship to the breaking point. Will their time at the RamJack forge a new bond between them or destroy their partnership forever?
Click to View on Amazon: The Assignment

         The first thing that hit me about this book was the strange timing of it. This might just be because I never experienced them, but when the book said that this was set in the 80s I couldn't hold back a shudder. I thought, Oh dear, this is going to be painful and neon colored. But it turns out I was wrong and I don't think the story really even needed to tell us that it was set in the 80s. The story could have been something that happened today. I mean, I am assuming it could have, I haven never experienced anything that these characters went through but as far as the feelings of time and place, it felt very modern to me.

         I actually really liked the characters. It sometimes bothers me when characters are afraid of their sexuality, sometimes it just seems to contrived. And sometimes I just want to smack them until they get that being attracted to another man is not a bad things, but the struggle in this case felt pretty natural. O'Brian was so flirty and naturally physical that it never seemed forced between the two characters, even when it was forced on them. It was a bit of a "gay for you" story, as both the characters were very much interested in women until Valenti's divorce, but I have always thought that makes the story sweeter. Like they are so drawn to each other and so perfect for each other that something as little as orientation doesn't matter. So lovely.

         I felt that the whole "sleep with each other as blackmail" thing was a little forced. I understood it but it was predictable and I felt myself going, really? REALLY? But at the same time it did tear my heart apart a little because Valenti was so torn up about it, and he loved O'Brian so dearly and that made me tear up a bit when he started hating himself over it. And the chemistry between those two was sweet. As straight men they were so comfortable with each other that they were always touching, and I don't know about you guys, but my boyfriend rarely casually touched other guys, and if he does it is never more than for a few seconds... but they were ok with it and, it was great. The best part was when they were in the hotel and O'Brian finally saw his opening to get closer to Valenti. Ah it was so sneaky and sexy haha, though thinking about a pretty boy twink type with a bunch of chest hair was a bit difficult.

I  liked this book, it was a fun read and I should have read it sooner. I give it 3 stars!

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