Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Review: Rough Trade by Sidney Bell

Rough Trade
(The Woodbury Boys #3)
by Sidney Bell
Release Date: December 3, 2018
Genre: M/M Romantic Suspense

Quick-witted hustler Ghost is no stranger to living dangerously; survival has always been the name of the game.

He’s just always gone it alone.

Now he’s got the wrong people breathing down his neck, and the only way out demands placing his trust in the unlikeliest of heroes: Duncan Rook, a gruff cop whose ethics are as solid as his body.

Cozying up to a criminal is hardly what Duncan’s reputation on the force needs—especially when that criminal is temptation personified. Ghost is Duncan’s polar opposite, and the last person he expected to fall for.

So then why does every imaginable scenario for taking down their common enemy end with Ghost in his arms?

I didn't even read the first two books in the series and I still fucking love this story of Ghost and his hunk of a man, Duncan. Ghost is barely twenty, yet he had overcome so much in his life. He is a prostitute and although he appeared to be proud of his way of life, we get the gist of his childhood of what makes him that way. His best friends are Tobias and Church from the previous two books, but even he keep them at arm length. Ghost like to turn on his charm, deflect and pretend in front of everyone until he meet a goody cop, Duncan who could see through his bullshit.

The drama/suspense/danger involving a group of crooked cop is an engaging plot by itself, but what fascinate me most in this story is the interaction between Ghost and Duncan. Somehow, Ghost ended up seeking help from this straight laced cop and it turned out to be a life changing experience.

Duncan is my favorite kind of hero, strong, silent and so damn honorable. He is a total opposite from Ghost, who had no respect for the law and reading about them arguing about everything is the best kind of entertainment. I absolutely adore their slow burn relationship and it really fucking slow without much sexual innuendo and lack of smut. I love my mm romance to be smutty, but the lack of sex in this book really fit the narrative here and it actually make this much more appealing. Due to Ghost past, he had never been interested in anyone sexually with feelings at least, and Duncan knew enough to know not to even fucking touch him without consent. Their relationship is the best kind of slow burn that have me hanging by their every tentative touch and gentle kisses until 5 freaking am. 

I love the way the story show Ghost's journey to self discovery/redemption. There is no magic cock with magic cure, just pure determination and willingness to better himself and seek for the happiness he deserve. And not to forget the epic grovel towards the end! This is my first read of Sidney Bell and definitely a winner!

He turned around with his jaw set and put both hands on Duncan’s chest. He pushed gently, so gently that Duncan couldn’t interpret it as anything but a question, and a nonthreatening one at that, so he found himself playing along until his back hit the concave wall of the tunnel. The cement seeped cold through his own thin, sweat-dampened T-shirt, making him shiver.
Or maybe it was Ghost nudging at Duncan’s feet with his toes until Duncan widened his stance, making room for Ghost to step closer still, until their thighs brushed, until Ghost’s tilted-up face was only inches away, his breath on Duncan’s lips. Ghost’s hands trembled against him. That small vulnerability made Duncan hurt deep in his belly, hot and sweet and aching.
“What are you doing?” Duncan whispered.
“You asked why.” Ghost cupped the back of his skull, trying to coax him to lower his head, and Duncan stupidly, stupidly, went along with it. Ghost’s mouth, when it pressed against Duncan’s, was dry and tentative and awkward.
He should move. He should push Ghost away. It was an act. It was bullshit. At the very least, it was manipulation. It had to be. He should run for his life and sanity and soul, but he couldn’t. He was stuck in place by nothing more than two hands resting on his sternum and the slow realization that this was Ghost kissing him, not the sly seducer, not the innocent victim, not the wry pal up for a convenient good time. This wasn’t the empty distance of disconnection that Ghost had given him before when he’d gone doll-still and creepy. It wasn’t the confident, knowing, arousing seduction of the kisses that had preceded Ghost’s fugue that last time, either.
This was new and uncertain and heavy. It reminded Duncan somehow of climbing down the outside of the parking garage, the terror of looking at a long drop and a messy landing if he couldn’t figure out what he was doing.
It was the waiting, maybe, that made it so overwhelming. He’d been waiting for this all along, wanting this all along. He’d tried not to think about it, but it’d been there, and now that Ghost was here and it was happening, he felt strung tight as a rubber band, on the verge of snapping, because this tiny, tentative, closemouthed kiss, was a cup of cool water after a day in a desert, enough to tempt, but not nearly enough to sate.

Sidney Bell lives in Colorado with her amazingly supportive husband. She received her MFA degree in Creative Writing in 2010, considered aiming for the Great American Novel, and then promptly started writing fanfiction instead. More realistic grown-ups eventually convinced her to try writing something more fiscally responsible, though, which is how we ended up here. When she’s not writing, she’s playing violent video games, yelling at the television during hockey games, or supporting her local library by turning books in late.

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