Blog Tour and Giveaway: Collateral Damage: J.T. Cheyanne
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Released May 31, 2016
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Fleeing the questions and horrific memories in Miami-Dade, Trevor Garrett accepts a deputy position in the small town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi. Plagued by anxiety attacks and an abhorrence to being touched, Trevor rebuffs his best friend’s attempts to set him up. He has no desire for any type of relationship; until the local golden boy strolls into his line of sight at the neighborhood dive…
Logan Andrews just wants to take care of his mama. After years of serving his country in the Army Special Forces, Logan resigns when he learns his mother is suffering from advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease. A night out with old friends turns heated when the newest deputy in town catches his attention…
When a sexually deviant killer sets his sights on the gay men in the area, Trevor is assigned the case. In a wicked twist, all evidence points to Logan. Can Trevor’s past be repeating itself? In a race against a killer, Trevor struggles to overcome his own insecurities and clear the man whose touch sets him on fire. Will he succeed or will their budding relationship become Collateral Damage?
Prior to this obsession I’ve developed for reading M/M romances, one of the genres I enjoyed a good book from on occasion is that of a murder mystery/thriller. So when the opportunity presented itself to read and review a book that combines the two, it was a no-brainer. Collateral Damage is my first exposure to J.T. Cheyanne, but while it is the first M/M-cross-mystery/thriller I have reviewed for the site, it isn’t the first I’ve read.
After a bitter betrayal by the man Trevor Garrett had been about to propose to, he leaves his position with the Miami-Dade Police Department because the memories are too painful to endure. With the help of his old college roommate, he takes a position in the most opposite of locales at a small-town department in rural Mississippi. The trauma Trevor suffered in Miami-Dade has resulted in him having absolutely no desire for any type of relationship. Even the act of being touched results in him having violent physical reactions. At least this is true until he crosses paths with the town’s favorite son, Logan Andrews, who is back in town to take care of his ill mother after serving many years in the Army Special Forces. Logan’s touches soothe Trevor’s demons, causing him to fight his reluctance to stay out of any sort of entanglement. Before long, Trevor is assigned his first big case since moving to the area: a killer appears to be targeting gay men in the town. And in an apparent ugly replay of Trevor’s past, the evidence points toward Logan.
My experiences with M/M romances that combine with some other genre have often left me wanting. Typically, the blend of genres isn’t smooth in that one of two things tends to happen: either one of the story arcs tends to be lacking by the time the novel is complete, or the two arcs don’t seem to mesh very well so that one or the other feels like it’s shoe-horned uncomfortably into the overall story. Or in the very worst case, both of these things happen. I am pleased to report that one of the best parts about this novel is that it doesn’t suffer from either of these problems. In fact, the pasts of the two main characters become important to both story arcs in a way that makes both interesting and compelling.
The two mains are both alpha types—physically, if I could pull Logan off the page and out of my mind’s eye and have him standing in front of me… woof!—so the interactions between them are often charged with the sorts of things you would expect from two macho studs: not the best communication skills, hiding and/or being embarrassed about emotional things, and hiding the significant things that have hurt them in the past. It’s the last one that forms the backbone of the story here, both for the romantic aspect and the thriller. Trevor’s past is revealed early in the book, the discovery that the man he loves is part of a drug cartel, though the manner of the betrayal would be a spoiler, so I’ll leave that for you to read. Logan’s story, on the other hand, is exposed slowly through flashbacks throughout the book and also deals with losing a man he loved. Both of these stories alone are interesting, but the way the author weaves them into the plot really shines to make this a book I didn’t want to put down. I did have to, though, because it was too long for me to stay up all night to read. Nothing wrong with that: two good nights of reading for the price of one!
Based on the descriptions of the two main characters, I was truly hoping for the chemistry between them to be explosive, especially as the blurb indicated that the men would spend a large part of the novel at odds with one another. Now don’t get me wrong, they were hot together, but something was lacking to keep it from being truly hot-as-fuck. I can’t put my finger on it though. It boiled there under the surface but never quite reached the point of spontaneous combustion. Outside of this, I really enjoyed the characters and found their individual struggles to be real, though at times, their “alpha responses” seemed a little too stereotypically hard-headed. I can’t knock this too much though: it’s a cop and an ex-special-ops guy. Really.
There is one other thing that grated on my nerves, though, and it was bad enough that my initial impression of rating this book as 4.5 stars had to be adjusted downward. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal what it is without it being a huge spoiler, but suffice it to say that the surprise in the epilogue fell way flat for me. It’s a trope that bugs me even in the best of situations, but in this case, I didn’t understand the logic behind it, so it left me with a sour note upon finishing the book. Not a good thing.
Overall, Collateral Damage is a great read. The plot flows well, the perspective is generally clear, and the characters (both main and secondary) are developed and realistic. It is one of the better examples I’ve read in M/M romances that have a secondary genre, and for that, I look forward to being able to read another of J.T. Cheyanne’s works.
The author generously provided me a complimentary copy of Collateral Damage in exchange for this fair and honest review.
Forty-five minutes later, he lay back on the bench press. Sweat slicked his body and his muscles sang with adrenaline. For the first time since arriving in Mississippi, Trevor felt something other than apathy. Disappointment dwelled in his gut. He refused to attribute it to the fact Logan had not shown up. He was at the gym to work out, not scope out the local hero. And, there was the fact he still hadn't asked questions about the missing tractor.
Trevor closed his eyes and huffed out an agitated breath. Screw that. Logan was exactly why he was there and it was downright frustrating the man hadn’t appeared. Without opening his eyes, Trevor reached up and closed his fingers around the barbell. He sucked in air for the initial lift.
“Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to lift without a spotter?” Trevor’s eyes popped open and the air rushed from his lungs. Logan’s sexy drawl was enough to make a man’s knees weak, but with his ‘package’ displayed in skintight biker shorts mere inches from Trevor’s suddenly dry mouth, he floundered as if pole-axed. Logan grinned, obviously aware of the effect he was having on Trevor.
Trevor swallowed. “So, spot me,” he rasped. If possible, the mischief in Logan’s electric blue eyes intensified. He shifted position. Powerful thighs bracketed Trevor’s head. Logan squatted, back straight and hands on either side of Trevor’s on the cool metal. The position put the enticing bulge directly in Trevor’s line of sight. All thought of weights and lifting vanished. He licked his lips and wondered at his body’s fierce reaction to the man. Under the guise of adjusting his grip, he brought their hands into contact. No revulsion, no panic, just unadulterated lust.
“You’re buying me dinner tonight,” he blurted. Logan’s eyes went hot and hungry. “And, I expect a bit of…” The pause pissed Trevor off. He was a fucking man; the emo shit had to go. “I expect entertainment of the sexual variety.” A predatory look passed over Logan’s handsome face.
“Then, I suggest we get the workout done and make early reservations,” the man stated and forcibly lifted the barbell free of the rests. The reps passed in a blur, and they switched places. He mimicked Logan’s earlier pose and nearly came in his loose basketball style shorts when Logan’s hand—slipped. The brush of knuckles against his cock sent pure electricity flashing into Trevor's brain. He glanced around the room at the other men. None paid them any attention. It was the nature of the gym. Spotters and lifters were symbiotic and no one gave a second thought to stray touches or contact.
By the time Logan finished his workout, Trevor felt like a beginner training with a power lifter. The man knew his way around a set of weights and a barbell. Mostly, Trevor watched Logan while he cooled down. It only served to heighten his lust. Trevor didn’t know what it was about Logan that pulled at him, but he wasn’t fighting it. He hated the icy numbness he’d been living with, but even more he detested the fear and anxiety that overwhelmed him at another’s touch.
As if sensing his regard, Logan locked eyes with him. His broad shoulders bunched under the weight suspended across them. Massive quadriceps bulged when Logan squatted and returned to his six foot, four inch height. His shirtless torso gleamed with sweat. The eight pack of solid muscle clenched above the gorgeously defined V muscles pointing toward his crotch. The Mississippi sun had nothing on the heat Logan was putting off. Trevor was drowning in the waves of it.
Abruptly, he stood to relieve the tension in his shorts. The towel across his shoulders slid off his shoulders with a tug to cover the growing bulge. He edged closer to Logan who still sported the massive weight. Determined brown eyes met mesmerizing blue.
“Pick me up at six-thirty. I’ll make reservations for us in the city. Come prepared for an all-nighter. It’s been a while for me,” Trevor ordered, using up the last of his composure. The heat pouring off of Logan’s sweaty body intensified the arousing aroma of the man’s skin. So much so, it tied Trevor’s gut in knots. If he didn’t get his ass out of the gym, he was going to out them both right there on the spot.
Logan’s eyes and nostrils flared, sensing Trevor’s undisguised arousal. “I won’t be late. Business casual?” Trevor nodded and walked calmly toward his bag and the front doors. He felt Logan’s intense gaze every step of the way. His balls tightened and he gave in to the urge to bend over and give Logan a good long gander at his ass. Heavy weights crashed against the mats followed by an animalistic growl. Trevor grinned at his Nike bag, zipped it and left the building without looking back.
#1 Best Selling Author of Grand Slam, J.T. Cheyanne is a genre crosser who writes romance and paranormal in the m/m and m/f genres. J.T. Cheyanne resides in the beautiful state of Alabama. J.T. lives with her two sons and daughter. An avid reader since fourth grade, she has only just started writing her own stories. She also has several works in progress with a co-author. When she’s not writing, she enjoys coaching cheerleading in her local youth organization.
Prize: 5 ecopies of Collateral Damage by J.T. Cheyanne