Agents Irish & Whiskey Series: Single Malt, Cask Strength, and Barrel Proof by Layla Reyne
Published by: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by: Alex
What to Expect: A sporty, boozy, crime-solving partnership complete with Italian suit wearing older man who needs to stop dying his hair blond and resisting the basketball playing hacker who is sweet enough to make bees drown in their own honey.
Single Malt (the first in the trilogy) — Eight months after the car crash that changed everything, FBI agent Aidan Talley is back at work. New department, new case and a new partner. Smart, athletic and handsome, Jameson Walker is twelve years his junior. Even if Aidan was ready to move on—and he’s not—Jamie is off-limits.
Jamie’s lusted after Aidan for three years, and the chance to work with San Francisco’s top agent directly is too good to pass up. Aidan is prickly—to put it mildly—but a growing cyber threat soon proves Jamie’s skills invaluable.
Jamie’s talents paint a target on his back, and Aidan is determined to protect him. But with hack after hack threatening a high-security biocontainment facility, time is running out to thwart a deadly terrorist attack. They’ll have to filter out distractions, on the case and in their partnership, to identify the real enemy, solve the case and save thousands of lives, including their own.
Cask Strength and Barrel Proof pick up from there, hot on the trail of the real enemy established in Single Malt.
When I started reading this series, one of my first thoughts was reminiscing about another FBI tough as nails duo, one of whom was six-foot-five Texan, one of whom was a Southern Boy who joined the Marines, and I could only think to myself… please don’t be a repeat of another series. Not because Ty and Zane weren’t fantastic. No. I loved them, flaws and all. It was just that series was already written.
So, I’m happy to tell you that Jamie and Aidan are, indeed, a very different duo, with very different motives, with a very different chemistry than that other m/m romance featuring FBI agents having illicit affairs with one’s partner. And, yes, I am aware that technically there are others but this is only the 2nd series I’d recommend.
This was relatively low angst, some juicy bits, easy to read — a perfect book for “checking out” to.
What you may not like: The series–the first book more than the others–was idiom heavy, mixing metaphors with too-easy phrasing.
Not sure I really “got” why the basketball star needed to stay publicly closeted. I also got genuinely annoyed at the hot older man (not THAT much older) resisted the younger (to the point of being cruel) and then for berating himself. This is a trope I could never read again and be happy about it.
What you will love: In terms of stringing along the tension, this was one of the better ones in terms of achieving slow burn. They tended to be sweet and affectionate with each other (when Aidan decided to allow himself, that is). Liked how there was more than just the two of them who were gay, how the ex wasn’t evil (another trope I will never need to read again), how important family was to the both of them and Mel—who could kick the ass of everyone in the room, regardless of how populated it was
Alex claims to read more than any normal, healthy adult should though the rest of the Binge on Books team would beg to differ. You can read all of his reviews here.
Connect with Alex on Twitter: @Alex_deMorra