Saturday, April 21, 2012

Title: White Lightning
Author: Adrianna Dane
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 118 pages

In Kentucky, where loyalty means everything, secrets and disloyalty can kill, Linc, the son of a mountain moonshiner, and Whit, the son of the local banker, had dreams of a future together far from the Kentucky hills. But one dangerously foolish act culminated in Linc's need to make a painful decision in order to protect his secret lover. Whit left, and the years have made Linc a hard, dangerous, and lonely man.

When Whit left for college, they’d made a promise to each other. Whit would have stood by Linc no matter what, but Linc shut him out. Years later, a successful New York entrepreneur, love still eluded Whit. Those very hills and the memory of his Kentucky lover called him back to find closure, one way or the other.

Whit couldn’t have picked a worse time to return to Kentucky as a murderous war was about to erupt. Moonshine and bad choices tore Whit and Linc apart a long time ago. Can Linc protect Whit, the man he still loved, from being drawn into the power struggle between moonshiners and drug lords, or would they both die when the smoke cleared, never having a chance to reclaim the love they thought lost?

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Linc and White managed to hide their relationship from their sharp-eyed families, who would have taken it ill that their boys cared for one another. Some old mountain customs are alive and well here in the hills: feudin’, moonshinin’, and disappearing the bodies into old mine shafts. “Revenooers” are hated as much as during Prohibition, and the stills remain profitable. Blood is still thicker than water, or should be.


Whit was always destined for a life outside the small mountain community where his father came to salvage the community bank. His dreams of Linc coming with him crashed and burned when Linc was intercepted with a load of illegal whiskey. Trapped in a situation by an unscrupulous Federal agent where Whit is in danger if Linc doesn’t cooperate fully, he has no choice but to break it off without a word.

Ten years later, Whit’s still dreaming of the mountain boy he lost. A man now, Linc’s ruled by outside forces, and now that a Mexican cartel has plans for the mountain, the danger is back, and from more sides than ever. Whit hasn’t a clue, nor does Linc enlighten him, though they are in each other’s arms and bed faster than you can spit.

The chemistry between the men is still hot, and they clearly want to be together, so Whit is completely confused as to why his lover won’t rejoin him. He finds out the hard way, in brisk action scenes, where more treachery than he can imagine is unveiled. I enjoyed the heat and the tension of the secrecy, which was still necessary for Linc to maintain, although very frustrating. It’s quite plain these two should be together; it just won’t be easy.

Linc had the bulk of the POV scenes—the big conflicts were mostly his, and the tone wasn’t overwhelmingly “mountain-y.” If anything, it could have used a little more down-home-ness to stay even; Linc sounded a lot like his Boston College-educated lover at times.

Where I wasn’t quite so engaged was a subplot involving the Federal agent and Linc in a non-law enforcement and rather dub-con relationship;  at least it was understated and mostly off-screen. It had some ramifications later between Whit and Linc. Your mileage may vary on this part, but I found it tacked on and unpleasant.

Once the tension resolved, this story could have reasonably ended, but there’s one last wrap-up chapter that’s a combination of a little too sweet to blend in and containing the tacked on element I didn’t care for: I would have been more content with the tale had it ended after Chapter 11, and the cost of the HEA sex would have been a small one to pay. The story had been very gripping until then, and the impact was unfortunately diluted: a sudden influx of “darlings” in the dialog broke the characterization, and more sex doesn’t always improve the story.

Still, I mostly enjoyed this book, and would recommend it with those few reservations. 3.75 marbles
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