Jake Chivis is the descendant of Fire Elementals with a gift for psychometry, the ability to see memories from touching objects. After a bad breakup and trouble at work, Jake gave up his career as a detective in Detroit and moved to England to join a research program studying Elemental gifts at University College London. It seemed like the perfect way to escape his past and start over, and this time he’s vowed not to fall into the trap of dating a coworker. At least that’s the plan, until he meets Doctor Ilmarinen Gale.
Mari Gale is blond, sexy, relentlessly academic and comfortable in his own skin in a way Jake envies. After a handful of embarrassing encounters, Jake is ready to resign himself to staying under the radar, but when a colleague’s brother goes missing, he and Mari must work together to find him. As they dig into the inexplicable disappearance, Jake is impressed with Mari’s competence and unique skills, and even more impressed by his ability to wrap Jake around his finger. Together the unlikely pair discover murder, betrayal, secrets and just how high Mari can fan Jake’s flames.
When my evil mastermind partner in crime and book hoarding enabler, Lisa Arbitrary, approached me about doing a Gay Guy/Straight Girl co-review for Breathing Betrayal I must admit I was somewhat hesitant about it. My TBR list is kilometers long and I’m trying to get with the deadlines… and then I read the blurb. Drats, foiled again because PNR !!! I am such a sucker for a good PNR story and the blurb read really good, so off I went. Man, am I glad I went! I am now hooked in for the remainder of this series as I want to see where it goes from here and also because good sex! Need I say more?
I think I’ve found a new series to follow. A character driven murder mystery that captivated me more with relationship development than plot, but it all fit well together.
Lester in the print room said he was American, though Mari thought there was a slightly Hispanic look to his rough-cut, thick black hair and darkly handsome features. Maybe Romani, even? He couldn’t be sure. He was well built without looking chunky, except when he was bundled up in several layers of damp running gear, and almost as tall as Mari’s six-foot-two-inch frame, which was a plus. It got embarrassing trying to flirt with men who were forced to look up at him all the time. Not that he had any idea if Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome was even that way inclined.
Ilmarinen (Mari) Gale:
Now during his morning runs, he was distracted by looking around to see if he’d catch sight of a particular slender figure whose long legs ate up the distance like the wind. Jake told himself that he was only looking so that he could avoid him, and thereby avoid having to make polite conversation. It definitely wasn’t because of the way the ridiculously tight Lycra leggings he wore outlined every muscle in his lean thighs or the way his perfect ass looked so tasty in them. No, not at all.
Both of these guys are surprisingly fresh. They are believable, unique and flawed. The romantic relationship surprised me over and over. It isn’t perfect and that made it special.
“We keep finding the most inappropriate places to make out, you know.”
Dr. Ilmarinen Gale (Mari)
What a name, right? And right from the start I liked him. He’s flamboyant, flirtatious, continental, mouthy, brilliant and secretly reserved. Fabulous contrasts in his character. His gift: Human-cyber Interface
And I just love Mari’s mom!
Sometimes it was a pain in the ass to be both a psychic and a skeptic.
Sturdy, solid, steady, stable, SEXY and quite un-confident. American. Not Mari’s typical pick. His gift: Psychometry, clairvoyance.
Ilmarinen (Mari) Gale and Jake Chivis find themselves at crossroads in their respective lives, both of them wanting to move on from previous, ill fitted, and ill fated, relationships and looking for new starts in their lives. Mari, one of the precious few pure human-cyber Interfaces—men and women able to engage their minds directly with telecommunications networks and the worldwide web and Jake, whose Elemental prowess is the psychic ability to relive past scenes by touching objects – experiencing the scenes through the eyes of the person who had held the object at the time in question, end up working at University College London as part of the Six Elements Worldwide Network (SEWN) universities program under Dr. Anthony Weston, whose brother, Phil, has mysteriously disappeared.
As Mari and Jake get drawn into finding the missing Phil Weston with their paranormal Elemental abilities, they are inexorably drawn together and caught in a web of deceit, mystery and espionage.
I must say, as story plots go, this is one of the better ones I have experience for a good PNR.
Dr. Ilmarinen Gale and former detective, Jake Chivas, are pressured to collaborate on a work related mystery. The two men have previously “noticed” each other running in the park and after a brief but flirty encounter they are both uncomfortable being put on such a task. But when the big boss makes the request it’s hard to say no. They’re just going to be professional, do the minimum, and get back to their normal routines. Yeah. Right.
As they delve deeper into a mysterious disappearance, they also delve deeper into each other’s pants. The mystery pales in the background for a good portion of the book while we get to explore these men and they explore each other. But it picks up eventually and it winds along with a couple of twists and turns. I can’t say it was this aspect of the book that riveted me, but that’s okay, because the relationship development held my interest. To be clear, the mystery was fine, fully fleshed,just not earth-shattering. The characters though, they rocked my world.
The writing caught me totally flat footed. I truly did not expect such good storytelling craftsmanship as I found here. Right away, right from the Prologue into the story, it just flows smoothly making for a pleasant, well edited book. One gets to know the characters and what makes them tick, their desires and fears and hurdles they’ve experienced in the past. The writing is imbued with a good sense of humor and I could feel Mari’s pathos from his previous relationships and the performance hurdle he can’t seem to overcome. The sex scenes are smoking good and the role reversal between the two MC’s is delicious. All of the characters have a sufficient development to not leave us hanging and the exquisitely detailed descriptions of each character is so refreshing! The ending is perfect for a continuing series. I highly recommend this for a good, PNR read.
One suggestion, if I may be so bold, to these two talented authors: perhaps in future books the paranormal abilities can be involved in the MC’s sex scenes? I found myself craving this. It was kind of like a missing, tantalizing piece.
A straightforward and uncomplicated writing style made this a readable read. It wasn’t heady by any stretch. I particularly like the believable complexity the authors added to the sex scenes. I wasn’t expecting to find something surprising there. Well done.
No doubt about it, I’ll be looking for the next book in the series.
THE THREE QUESTIONS
1) Team Ilmari or Team Jake?
2) Talk to me about the sex scenes – whatcha think? Plusses/minuses?
3) Do you think Mari’s future will be interwoven in upcoming episodes?
1) Did Mari’s “different” sexual needs work?
2) Cordiline? More of him? Yes? No? (Really, that’s one question.)
3) Believable PNR or hogwash?
Originally hailing from Detroit Michigan, Bellora now resides on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida where a herd of Dachshunds keeps her entertained. She got her start in writing at the dawn of the internet when she discovered PbEMs (Play by email) and found a passion for collaborative writing and steamy hot erotica. Soap Opera like blogs soon followed and eventually full novels. The majority of her stories are in the M/M genre with urban fantasy or paranormal settings and many with a strong BDSM flavour.
Sadie Rose Bermingham
A storyteller since before she started school, Sadie also enjoys reading, photography,
live music and long walks on the beach. Sadie has worked as a bookseller, a pedigree editor for the racing industry and a local and family history researcher. Originally from the north of England, she has been working her way across the UK ever since. She currently resides on the south east coast with her long term partner, where she hopes to buy a mobile home and establish a whippet farm.
I would like to thank Bellora Quinn and Sadie Rose Bermingham and Pride Publishing for providing OJ He Say with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.