Mixed emotions, betrayal, and lots of snarky banter! — Book Review: “Stranded”, by Helenkay Dimon

dimon-strandedStranded, by HelenKay Dimon
Riptide Publishing (November 23, 2015)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Buy Link: Publisher

* I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review. *

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There are a few stories that I will buy without hesitation. Assassin boyfriends trying to kill each other over misunderstandings? Totally one of those plots!

Cabe got out of the gun-for-hire business the hard way—by nearly dying. Except then his former boss calls in one last favor for one final job. The mission should be simple: get a message to a retired operative in Alaska. But it puts Cabe face-to-face with the one man he doesn’t want to see and can never forget. Not after all the secrets and lies. Not after Brax almost killed him.

Brax Hughes lived hard and retired young to a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Well, that was the plan, but before he can hang up his sniper rifle, he has one last mission: win back Kyle Cabe. Brax wants another chance, wants to come clean, but after months of lying to Cabe, he knows he could face a bullet—or worse—when they meet again. And they will meet. Brax made sure of that.

With a storm moving in and someone lurking outside the cabin, time is running out. Brax needs to talk fast and keep his weapons ready. And his best weapon is the truth.

Brax and Cabe used to work together, and spent their off hours in bed together. For two hardened killers, the idea of having a weakness– someone they love– is terrifying. But Cabe fell in love with Brax, and then had his heart broken when Brax shot him point-blank in the chest.

“You don’t get to decide how I love you.”

I love the mixed emotions that HelenKay wrote with these characters. The betrayal that Cabe feels, and Brax’s desperation to explain… but also the fact that they’re two stubborn, tough men who are totally emotionally constipated! Brax thinks he’s doing the right thing, protecting the man he loves, but Cabe doesn’t want or need protection.

“You almost sound like you care.”

“You know I do.”

The snarky back-and-forth was also very well done. There wasn’t a very strong conflict, though, but I don’t feel like it was that kind of novel. Just two men trying to work through years of training and a series of misunderstandings to come back together.

“You’re telling me I should shoot you.” Cabe looked far too happy to oblige.

“I’d prefer a punch.”

“That’s not near enough.”

This is a short novel, but a fun read. And 20% of proceeds from sales of it are going to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center!

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