Melissa reviews Hard Line (The Woodbury Boys #2) by Sidney Bell published April 2nd 2018 by Carina Press, 352 pages.
Premed student Tobias Benton is making amends for his past. He keeps his head down, mouth shut and colors within the lines. But when his close friend Ghost goes missing, Tobias will do whatever it takes to get answers—including using blackmail to enlist some help. The last thing he’s looking for is romance.
Private investigator Sullivan Tate isn’t above a little breaking and entering to solve a case, but when Tobias catches him in the act, it’s almost game over. Their uneasy alliance only gets more complicated when Sullivan learns that Tobias shares his interest in kink. Mixing sex and work could kill Sullivan’s career, but Tobias’s acceptance of Sullivan’s darkest urges is nearly impossible to resist.
Side by side, Tobias and Sullivan spend their days searching for the truth and their nights fulfilling their respective fantasies. But the answers they seek are far more dangerous than they realize, and soon they find themselves fighting for more than just each other.
A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: After reading Loose Cannon, there was no way I wasn’t reading book 2.
Hard Line is book 2 of The Woodbury Boys series and I don’t think you should read this as a standalone. Could you? Sure. But I think if you skip book 1 you are going to miss out on a lot of back story and other relevant information that is discussed in Hard Line. At the end of book 1 we know that Ghost has promised to do “Mama” a favor in exchange for helping Church. Hard Line is predominantly about Tobias searching for Ghost who been “missing” for a long time. I have to say, after reading Loose Cannon, I was not expecting to see this side of Tobias. During his search he runs across Sullivan, a PI who is working on a cold case about a missing girl from 1992. I was very much impressed with how these two seemingly unrelated cases did in fact converge and tie together thru Ghost and Mama. I wasn’t expecting any of the drama that unfolded for the case. Be warned that the mystery of Sullivan’s missing girl is solved, but there is another element to this who thing that isn’t solved and I believe the next book in this series (Ghost’s story) will be about tying up those loose ends.
As for the relationship between Sullivan and Tobias, that came out of left field for me but it totally worked – for me. Tobias has always been uptight and repressed and despite his one outburst that sent him to Woodbury he’s been good, does what he’s told and what his parents expect. All that pressure and rebellion has been building up – Tobias is like a pressure cooker just waiting to explode. And when Ghost disappears and when Tobias finds a letter from his birth mother in the trash, the explosion is huge! Tobias runs away from his family (but not far), and thru Sullivan, Tobias finds a release for his emotions. Submitting to Sullivan and finding subspace is heaven for Tobias. They are a lucky match because how likely is it for two strangers to meet under those circumstances and be exactly what the other needs? Despite the improbability of this I still liked it and was totally absorbed in those moments between Sullivan and Tobias.
Once Tobias got his head on straight and knew what he wanted, which was Sullivan and all that a relationship between them would entail – he 100% went after it. He told Sullivan exactly what he wanted (and I kind of enjoyed Sullivan’s freak out at the end 🙂 ) and then he also sat down with his parents and explained what was going on with him and why he reacted the way he did when he saw they had thrown out his birth mother’s letter without telling him.
Back to the mystery of this book related to Ghost and the missing girl – whew! That is so detailed and you do have to pay attention. I have no idea what Ghost was really thinking during his time “away.” I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I need to keep this vague. Ghost’s actions (which Sullivan and Tobias spied on thru an open window doing PI stuff) were not in any way something I could believe were true, but on the other hand, I just don’t know. Ghost is an odd one and I don’t think he shows his true self to anyone.
I can’t wait for his story! The mystery element is still open as I’ve mentioned, so don’t expect everything to be tied up in a neat little bow. Things between Sullivan and Tobias are great, and we get an epilogue 18 months in the future which is awww-suumm!
I give this one 5 stars/10 pots and am on pins and needles thinking what Ghost’s story could possibly be like/about.
*Note: I was provided an ARC and so I didn’t expect this version to be polished and clean, so I didn’t officially mention any of that in my review. I did encounter several editing issues and the formatting for my MOBI copy wasn’t correct and I had sentences hanging out on their own and section breaks weren’t clearly defined, etc. I hope the final published version has all those details fixed.*
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.