04 November 2014

No Boundaries by S.E. Jakes

 Phoenix Inc, Book 1

When your past closes in, running isn’t always an option

The jobs Marcus Lowry works for at Phoenix, Inc. Investigations are quick and easy, and they don’t give him the nightmares his days as a CIA operative did. That is, until he gets involved in a case that grabs him by the throat and won’t let go.

Cole Jacobs left behind his old life on the streets to make a name for himself rebuilding high-end and vintage cars and bikes. But when a stalker threatens to kill him—and to hurt anyone who stands in his way—his past closes in on him, and he’s not sure where to turn.

The last thing Marcus wants to do is take on a charity case, and to say that he and Cole don’t see eye to eye at first is putting things mildly. But when the first attempt on Cole’s life nearly kills them both, Marcus realizes that Cole is in real danger, and Cole is forced to reveal everything. Almost everything. Because Cole’s deepest secrets could destroy them both.
I am going to love this series.  How would I know this already?  It is the group of characters that make up Phoenix Inc. They are sexy men who know how to serve and protect those in trouble and yet they can be lovers to each other and the criminal’s worst nightmare. For this book we focus on Marcus and a victim named Cole.  Cole comes to town a few months ago and lands a job as a mechanic specializing in old vintage classics.  His story before he came here was a sorted mess of heart break and selling his body and soul for money to live on.  When he decided he had enough of this life he ran out on a “client” and started traveling to find a place he might be able to start over again.  When notes containing threats started appearing at his job, Styx stepped up and offered the services of the Phoenix Inc. to find the stalker and keep Cole safe. 
Styx and his partners in business and lovers in life, Law and Paolo decided that Marcus was perfect for this job.  Marcus was a former CIA agent who had witnessed the worst of crimes and lives with the nightmares and depression that came with what he felt were failures in his past.  He was jaded and didn’t believe in anyone’s innocence so his first few meetings with Cole were a disaster.  Cole needed to be believed and didn’t want handouts but he was wise enough to know he couldn’t do this on his own so he agreed to work with Marcus. 
When Marcus becomes a victim to this stalker, he and Cole need to go away and hide out till Styx and the crew can come up with a plan.  In the meantime this gives Marcus and Cole a chance to work through their defenses and find a way to not only gain the information from Cole’s past, but they find a way to grow together in a relationship.  Now I won’t go on with a description of the story because the rest of the story needs to be read and not described. I can say that the whole book felt consistent to me and the conclusion did leave me sitting up and taking notice because it was so well written.
I hope in the next books, we get to find out more about Styx, Paolo and Law’s background and past.  Hints were given throughout the story but not enough for me.  I already feel a connection to each of them and love how caring and protective they are towards each other.  I also love how they seek out young men who are in trouble and try to save them.  The author’s style was smooth and fast paced.  I was able to see the scenes in my head as I read and could feel some of the emotions that they were going through.  If I had one suggestion to the author it would be to give us more developed emotions so we can really attach to the heart of the characters and feel the empathy more.
I can hardly wait to see where she is going to take us in the next book.  We are really given a set of heroes that you are sure to fall in love with and after reading this one, I can predict the story plots will continue to be full of mystery and suspense with a high dose of love and passion.  What more could you want? 
I gotta get it out of the way. The final scene of the book, BLEW. MY. FREAKING. MIND! I can’t talk about what the scene was but holy crap on a cracker that was HOT!!! Now the other thing I need to get out of the way is that I really hope that the formatting issue in my pre-release copy is fixed in the final version. There were no blank-line breaks to indicate scene changes, thus requiring me to re-read sections several times throughout the book when I realized that the scene had changed. Normally I wouldn’t comment on a formatting issue in my review, but I feel compelled to tell potential readers so that they know to stick with the book should the final copy still contain the formatting issue because the book is soooo worth it. That said, I’ve read Ms. Jakes’ work before and books from Samhain Publishing, so it’s likely a moot warning.

Now for Cole and Marcus. No Boundaries was an intense, action-packed, romantic suspense read that kept me glued to my Kindle. The chemistry between the two is absolutely electrifying. There were times I could imagine being able to see the sparks literally fly between the two of them. So when their first hook-up was spurred on by anger, I was not the least bit surprised and these two do angry sex oh so good. And Cole and Marcus weren’t the only ones getting their sexy fun times on either. Styx, Law, and Paulo had their fair share of ménages play out in the book and their bedroom activities were just as Kindle-overheating as Marcus & Cole’s were.

Despite this plethora of hot man-on-man(-on-man) action, the romantic suspense angle definitely kept me on the edge of my seat as Marcus and the men of Phoenix, Inc. worked to find out who was stalking Cole, while protecting him from the escalating threats. Ms. Jakes does an excellent job of infusing the characters with emotion that pours off the page – I could feel the men’s frustration and anger when the stalker kept slipping through their grasp. The resolution to the situation was immensely satisfying for me, as was Marcus and Cole’s journey to get there.

Prior to reading No Boundaries, I was unaware that Styx, Law, and Paulo’s story was already the subject of a book in another of Ms. Jakes’ series. As such, I will be going back and reading Bound by Law because I REALLY want to see how these three got together. I suspect it and No Boundaries will quickly become a back-to-back re-read duo when I’m in the need of some hot m/m and m/m/m romantic suspense. I’m looking forward to the re-read already while I await the release of the next book in the Phoenix, Inc. series.


Post a Comment