Sunday, November 9, 2014
Manipulation by Eden Winters
Author: Eden Winters
Purchase at Rocky Ridge Books
Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Genre: contemporary, action adventure
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, print (coming) ebooks preorder until Nov 1, 2014
Lucky Lucklighter has a new life. His old life wants him back.
He traded trafficking for taking down criminals with the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau, and a drug-lord lover for a man on the right side of the law. Bo Schollenberger found the way past the thorny defenses of Lucky’s heart, and made Mr. I-Get-Along-Fine-Alone think about his and his closets, stevia in the sugar bowl, and a picket fence—with a good lock on the gate.
Now Bo is missing, and a voice long silenced asks, “Did you miss me?” Lucky must deal with a devil from his past to get Bo back.
And if Bo isn’t willing to come? A drug ring needs its back broken before flooding the US with a designer high, seductive and undetectable. But there’s a fine line between good and evil, and a truckload of temptation urging Lucky to cross.
Bo’s cover hasn’t been breached when he’s taken to Mexico at the orders of the drug lord with big plans. But he’s there with no backup, no communications, nothing that an undercover operation should have, until Lucky charges down south. Lucky’s no longer willing to do things by the book, since Walter Smith, head honcho of the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau, has compromised his integrity in Lucky’s eyes. Nothing is exactly as it seems, and the world tilts farther sideways when Nestor Sauceda, a cartel leader and former associate of Lucky’s late lover, Victor Mangiardi, takes an interest in the new designer drug and the remains of Victor’s empire. (How Lucky goes from boy toy to a drug lord to narcotics agent is backstory presented in Book 1, Diversion.)
Deep undercover work is hard on Bo’s psyche—he still slides from one persona to the other, being Cyrus Cooper when he needs to be a tough leader of tough men, and wobbling through Bo Schollenberger when questions of right and wrong arise. Here, little is simple, and loyalties mean something different than they did back in the States. Add to that Bo’s forced dependence on a terrifying new drug, and it could all fall apart in a heartbeat.
The prose is strong and gritty, told from Lucky’s POV. He has to watch Bo’s disintegration, maintain his own ever more fragile hold on his new life, while still sinking just far enough into new criminality to convince the cartels that he’s going to help peddle their designer poison. He’s among those who “knew him when” and it would be so easy to slip into the role he’d been prepared for all those years ago.
The entire series is good reading, with action, law enforcement, a reluctant romance between two guys who love each other desperately and are terrified of needing each other, and thrilling twists through the drug trade going in unexpected directions. With this fourth book, the author seems to have found an even higher gear, with death breathing down Bo and Lucky’s necks at all times, and their reliance on each other both the stuff of strength and the stuff of heartbreak.
I can depend on the Diversion series for a pulse-pounding adventure with a heaping side of romance. Manipulation is the best yet. I'm greedy for the next book already. 5 marbles