Vodka & Handcuffs by Brandon Witt #LGBT #ReleaseDay #DuoReview

MtSnow and Dana review Vodka & Handcuffs (Mary’s Boys book 2) by Brandon Witt (Published by Dreamspinner Press on April 26th, 2017) 124 pages.

Note: A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

To see RGR’s review of Nachos & Hash (Mary’s Boys book 1) click here.


A Mary’s Boys Novella

Vahin Arora, Hamburger Mary’s sexy bartender, plays the flirtatious role so well even his closest friends—his chosen family at Mary’s—don’t realize Vahin hasn’t had a hookup in months. Then Tall, Dark, and Handsome steps through the door, and Vahin’s libido races back to life.

Being a black cop on the Denver police force is no easy job—Marlon Barton can’t imagine adding being gay to the equation. And while Marlon loves his work as an officer, his life has taken a turn for the hellish because of his new partner, the nephew of a senator.

Fleeing his partner’s company one night, Marlon stumbles into Mary’s for the first time… and wakes up with a hangover in the bartender’s bed. The one-night stand heats up into a budding romance, but not without stress as Marlon’s partner’s actions threaten Vahin’s livelihood and Marlon’s future on the force. Can Vahin and Marlon face the challenges and hold on to the love, friendship, and family they’ve found?

Buy links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | B&N | Google  | Kobo    Add to Goodreads

MtSnow – To start off with, I didn’t originally realize this was part of a series, but as soon as I saw that, I went out and purchased the first book (see Dana’s review link above). It was cute and a great start to this series. I will say I’m not quite used to stories by Brandon being short, novella length, but the series works well in this format.

Having said that, I do miss some of the details and in depth storytelling I am used to from his other stories, but his character development is still top notch, and I came to love these guys. There is a bit of a feeling that things are skimmed over, and even a few fade-to-black moments that left me wanting more, but I’m sure that’s to be expected in a shorter length book.

As for the main characters, Vahin and Marlon, they were people I’d love to meet in real life. They were very authentic, caring and thoughtful to each other and everyone around them. I had to giggle at Marlon’s response to his first drag show and Mandonna!!!

On a serious note, some of the situations they were both put in due to their jobs, religious beliefs, or ethnicity were downright scary, and yet, sadly enough, I could imagine this type of thing happening. But, as always, Brandon handles all instances of cultural and religious interactions with grace and courtesy, all the while highlighting things we may never think about in our own day-to-day interactions with people.

Hamburger Mary’s is a place I am definitely going to try to check out while I’m in Denver for GRL this year. I can only hope that I might get the chance to see my first drag show live, and maybe get a peek at someone like ManDonna or Ariel… and those nachos sound fantastic!

Anyway, I can’t recommend this series enough. It touches on some serious topics, but has some lovely laugh out loud moments too. Hamburger Mary’s becomes a family for those that do not have one and I personally am very much looking forward to the next in this series.

9.5/10 Pots of Gold (95% Recommended) – Compares to 4.75/5 Stars

Dana – I really enjoyed book one of this series and was glad to get a chance to review book two. Nachos and Hash had been a low-angst, sweet romance. The author took me for a tour around some cool places in Denver. I kind of expected the same feel from the rest of the books in the series, but Vodka and Handcuffs showed me a different part of the city, a part that I didn’t like as much.

Both Marlon and Vahin came off as pretty strong characters right from the start. Marlon is a cop who is out to his parents, his old partner, and his chief. He isn’t shouting to everyone he is gay, but he isn’t denying who he is. Vahin works as a bartender at Hamburger Mary’s, a restaurant known for it’s drag queens. He is out to everyone, but not necessarily accepted. In varying degrees Marlon and Vahin have both faced disappointment from their parents regarding their sexuality. Still, they know who they are and seem to carry around a confidence because of that.

There is definitely an antagonist in this story. Andrew. Marlon’s partner on the job is a real piece of work. He reminded me a little of the character Percy in The Green Mile. He was part of the ugliness in the city. His racism, xenophobia, and homophobia make him an extremely unlikable character. However much I didn’t like him, he made the story feel more real. More relevant. The attitudes shared by Andrew and a few other officers could have been ripped from the headlines or at least a youtube video. He really created problems for Marlon and Vahin. They are strong, though, and they aren’t going down without a fight.

While I enjoyed book one of the series, I was more captivated by this more intense story line. I am a big fan of both Marlon and Vahin and loved their story. The surrounding characters that worked at Hamburger Mary’s and the chief of police were awesome. They became the families for the main characters and rounded out the story well. I definitely recommend this series and this book. I look forward to seeing what else the author has in store for us in the next book.

9.5/10 Pots of Gold (95% Recommended) – Compares to 4.75/5 Stars

Brandon Witt’s outlook on life is greatly impacted by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities. Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about….

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2 thoughts on “Vodka & Handcuffs by Brandon Witt #LGBT #ReleaseDay #DuoReview

  1. Pingback: Mascara & Bandages by Brandon Witt #LGBT #Review #ReleaseDay | Rainbow Gold Reviews

  2. Pingback: Deeds & Confetti by Brandon Witt #LGBT #Review #ReleaseDay | Rainbow Gold Reviews

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