Guest Review: Manipulation by Eden Winters

manipulation by eden wintersFormat read: ebook
Formats available: ebook
Genre: m/m romance, mystery
Series: Diversion #4
Length: 240 pages
Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books
Date Released: November 1, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, KoboAll Romance

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.

Guest Review by Cryselle:

corruption by eden wintersOh yay! Bo and Lucky are back for more stomach-churning, heart-pounding adventures. This fourth installment in the Diversion series lets Bo shine as an undercover narcotics operative when a figure out of Lucky’s past and current nightmares turns out to be behind the influx of drugs in their case from the third book (Corruption).

The author offers Lucky a vision of happiness with Bo, where their biggest problem is rekeying locks on a newly purchased home, but it’s still a dream. Lucky’s trademarked smartassery gets out in full measure here. The real estate agent probably needs a stiff drink or three after a day viewing houses with him. Humor surfaces in flashes elsewhere—Lucky doesn’t let fear, danger, or language barriers stop the snark, but even so, we can see him turning his wit. In caring for Bo, he sees the world differently, and a few of his observations will tear your heart right out of your chest. Some of the others will put coffee on your ereader.

diversion by eden wintersBo’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 (reviewed at Cryselle’s Bookshelf)

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 criminality to convince the cartels that he’s going to help peddle their designer poison. Lucky’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 plot 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.

Escape Rating A: I can depend on the Diversion series for an edge of my seat adventure with a heaping side of romance. Manipulation is the best yet. I’m greedy for the next book already.

cryselles bookshelf logoCryselle can regularly be found blogging and reviewing at Cryselle’s Bookshelf.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

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