Tanja reviews `Serve and Protect` by Shelly Connors (Published by Publish Green; September 17, 2014; 183 pages).
A copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
It’s been five years since twins Kolby and Kaleb Bailey moved north from Texas. Kolby trying to escape her abusive husband and Kaleb trying to get out of a corrupt business partnership. Detectives Dean Davis and R.J. Kennedy live and breath their job, and as partners they spend most of their time together working. The twins and detectives lives intersect when R.J. forces Dean to go on a double date with him and they decide to take their dates to the Baileys’ restaurant.
Here To Serve is a different kind of establishment that has great food and dancing. On the Friday night of their double date R.J. and Dean both find something that they didn’t realize they were looking for. A confrontation with a disgruntled patron, and one of the Here to Serve employees being beaten in the parking lot, leads to the Baileys seeing a whole lot more of the detectives. Even though R.J. and Dean aren’t working the case, they can’t seem to keep their hands out of it. One accident leads to another and then to tragedy, but through it all Kolby and Kaleb continue to run their restaurant while trying to help their friend, Jason, recover from his beating and his loss. As Jason lies in a coma his world is turned upside down while the detectives work to find out who put him in the hospital.
Sifting through the evidence causes both the twins and detectives to deal with past and present emotions. Can Kolby separate R.J. Kennedy, the handsome detective, from her abusive husband? Can R.J. come to terms with his past and move forward into a relationship with Kolby? They both have their reasons for trying to stay far away from each other, but sometimes the sparks between them are too much of a pull to be avoided.
Detective Dean Davis moved north from Atlanta after his co-workers found him at a gay bar and decided they didn’t agree with his alternative lifestyle. After his experience in Atlanta, Dean hasn’t told anyone his secret and keeping it was easy until meeting Kaleb Bailey. Kaleb let his interest in Dean be known, and the feeling is mutual. If Dean succumbs to his feelings, will he get the same treatment he received in Atlanta? If he shares his secret with R.J. will he lose his friendship and respect? The group of strangers are brought together for a reason, but it takes loss in order for them to find the courage to move forward and understand why it’s so important.
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Detectives Dean Davis and R.J.Kennedy are partners of two years and altough R.J. didn´t want to have a new partner, they are getting along great. I loved their easy banter, the humour and generally who they are. Of course they are described as gorgeous but their inner self matches the outside. They are such caring persons which shows in so many ways….I want to have them in my life.
Kolby and Kaleb are twins who owns the restaurant Here To Serve. That name fits properly since it´s not just a restaurant where you can eat but also an establishment where server and patrons interact with each other through dancing. Because of that, they help a lot of people not only having fun but also getting out of their loneliness. A great bar where you want to spent the evening. The twins and their staff are like family, they watch out for each other and stick together, come hell or high water.
The story starts more or less with Dean getting dragged on an double date by R.J., again, but this time he dictated the location, which was Here To Serve. He already was at the restaurant a few times and had an eye on Kaleb. Since Dean had to leave his last job for being gay he is extremely careful not to get caught again….so ogling Kaleb from afar is was he does. That changes after Jason, a server was first confronted with a disgruntled patron and later beaten severely and left in the parking lot. From that point on the lives of Dean, R.J., Kaleb and Kolby are interwoven with each other.
As the story progresses more incidents happens, lives are in danger and you get caught up in the whole mystery part. You learn more about the characters and their past lives, they draw you into the story like moths are drawn to light. I really liked all of them, be it the main or the secondary characters even the villain of this story fits this role perfectly. The whole whodunit is good, there were a few leads but in the end I was surprised who was behind it all.
Last but not least the romance part of this story. There is chemistry between Dean and Kaleb as well as Kolby and R.J. from the moment they met. Both Dean and R.J. are avoiding a serious relationship for different reasons but as the story moves along, they had to face their demons. There is no sex on page but a few glimpses about what went on behind the scenes, well at least between Dean and Kaleb 😉 . The romance is subtle and well interwoven with the other parts of this story but I wished there would have been more conversations between Dean and Kaleb. I was dissapointed about that, since I had the feeling Kolby and R.J. had more on page time together.
This story is about friendship, love, loss and forgivness. I laughed a lot but it was also sad at times. It was overall well balanced and I read it in two sittings….only because I HAD to sleep. If you enjoy a story about a bunch of people who are sticking up for each other with a good mystery interwoven into it, then this story is for you.
8/10 pots of gold