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Summary

Teancum Leon, who goes by Tean, is a wildlife veterinarian. His life has settled into a holding pattern: He loves his job, he hates first dates, and he only occasionally has to deal with his neighbor Mrs. Wish’s cat-related disasters.

All of that changes, though, when a man appears in his office, asking for help to find his brother. Jem is convinced that something bad has happened to Benny, and he thinks Tean might be able to help. Tean isn’t sure, but he’s willing to try. After all, Jem is charming and sweet and surprisingly vulnerable. Oh. And hot.

Then things get strange: Phone calls with no one on the other end of the line; surveillance footage that shows what might be an abduction; a truck that tries to run Tean and Jem off the road. As Tean and Jem investigate, they realize that Benny might have stumbled onto a conspiracy and that someone is willing to kill to keep the truth from coming out.

But not everything is as it seems, and Tean suspects that Jem has been keeping secrets of his own.

©2020 Gregory Ashe (P)2021 Gregory Ashe

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He's done it again!

I was given the audio book as an advanced listener.

I have already read the book so you can see my view on the storyline further along in this review. However, I want to focus on the the narration and I want to say that combining Jeff Harding with Gregory Ashe's writing is a combination made in heaven. Harding's narration brings an added richness to an already good story and is the perfect fit for engaging you with the key characters.

As to the storyline, Gregory Ashe has already given me Hazard and Somerset and Shaw and North to live and now he has given me Tean and Jem. I didn't think he could create another pair for me love.

This book was a hard read because Tean and Jem's character were so well developed that although there are some great moments of humour both of them are working through some complex emotions. So I had to read this book over a few weeks which is not normal for me with one of Ash's book but I had to protect myself from swinging emotions such as pain and anger. I was thankful for the lighter moments. Once again even though I knew what was coming the audiobook took me longer than usual.

As always there is a good crime story where the pace is gradually cranked up. Unfortunately, Ashe does a good job of creating some evil and selfish characters that you have to stop and remember that there are many good people in the world. That includes Tean and Jem even if I know Jem does not believe that about himself.

I am hooked and I have already downloaded the next two books in the series to see where the adventures and relation takes Tean and Jem. I hope the next two audiobooks are not too far behind

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A great start to a new series

I'm a fan of more flawed characters than the sweeter, happily ever after novels and this had me binge listening over 2 days.
Although it wasn't all doom and gloom, there were some very sweet moments mixed in there, and having the lives of an oddball ex Mormon vet and a scam artist with a difficult history colide made it really interesting, two different worlds indeed.

Such excellent narration really brings the story and characters to life, J.F did a wonderful job.

Definitely looking forward to the others in this series.

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  • Alicia Z. Ramos
  • 21-02-21

Goshdarnit

I hate Gregory Ashe a little bit. I had a full day's work to do today, I got up early to do it, and I found a review copy of this in my email. So I FOOLISHLY decided to listen to a little bit while I ate my breakfast.

Thirteen hours later... I had managed to do about one hour's work. And listened to the whole darn book.

So thank you, Greg, for the copy, and curse you for the hours I'm going to need to make up this week. I don't know whether to hope the next book comes out quickly or not. Dratted amazing slow-burn damaged heroes that you write SO WELL.

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  • Riva
  • 20-03-21

Great start of a new series

This is the first book in a new series by Gregory Ashe. I am a big fan of this author’s Somerset & Hazard series. This book is a little different in tone; it is NOT a slow burn!! GA is known for his torture of his readers with the romance happening over multiple books, this is not that. The book still revolves around a really sad murder mystery, but the relationship between Jem and Tean happens, although complicated by a third presence. Jem & Tean are brought together through Jem’s love for his foster brother. Jem has had a very hard childhood and the bond he has with his brother, Benny, is beautiful. The fact that Jem could love despite all he has been through is a big part of his appeal.

Tean is a “fallen” Mormon (this is set in Salt Lake City, UT) who has “issues” of course. He is very dark, but not like Batman dark, like Deadpool dark. He is fond of spouting negative statistics about most things and is definitely a glass half empty guy. However, despite this veneer, he has a heart of gold and his banter with Jem is priceless. It is obvious Jem is what Tean needs, but things happen. Tean thinks he still loves his childhood secret love who is still in the closet Mormon and has a wife and kids. Like I said, it’s complicated. The mystery is very intriguing and I did not guess the killer because GA throughs a bunch of red herrings.

J.F. Harding delivers another fantastic performance and really brought the story and this romance to life. I look forward to the next audiobook in this series.

I was given a free copy of this audiobook in return for an honest review.

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  • Dana Piazzi
  • 14-03-21

I am excited for this new series

I came to know Gregory Ashe's work through a different series featuring two police officers doing most of the sleuthing. That made sense. When I read this blurb, I was trying to figure out how and why a wildlife veterinarian would be asked to help find a missing brother. I was a little incredulous, but I do enjoy all of this author's other books so I was curious to find out when I was offered an audiobook copy to review.

Jem's missing brother is schizophrenic and a big environmentalist. He is known for going to the Division of Wildlife Resources where Tean works, and making complaints about a number of things, some of which might be a condition of his mental illness. He isn't always taken seriously, but upon his disappearance, it brings Jem to Tean's office seeking help. So I guess it wasn't as big of a stretch as I thought it might be when the two work together to find out what happened to the young man. As usual, the mystery this author created was really good. There were many suspects and who exactly was involved in the taking and murdering of Tean's brother as well as one of Tean's co-workers ended up being a surprise to me.

This author usually creates really good and flawed characters. This series isn't an exception. I don't want to call Tean flawed, necessarily. He is a helpful neighbor and a loyal friend. He is involved with a married detective, waiting for the day for him to leave his wife, though, and he is filled with stories of despair about animals and loneliness. You can tell he is unhappy with his situation, but not really eager about changing it. Jem is a former foster kid with history of being abused. He lives his life conning and blackmailing people the way his foster mother did. There were moments I didn't want to like him, but with his past and his dyslexia, I found there were reasons for his bad behavior. After a fight between him and Tean, I ended up feeling all the compassion for him.

Like this author's other books and series, though, despite the attraction these two main characters feel for each other, their relationship will be hard won. I think both Tean and Jem need to learn to love themselves a little more before they can get a romance off the ground. They have solidified a friendship by the end of the book, and that makes me happy. I definitely feel a lot of hope for them and I look forward to the slow burn in future books.

A quick bit about the narration. I have listened to JF Harding many times and I really enjoy his narrations. Overall the story was a winner for me, I liked the mystery and the dynamics between the two main characters. I hope the next book releases on audio soon, I can't wait to find out what happens next.

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  • Karri
  • 03-03-21

Excellent !!

First let me start out by saying this book was so refreshing, the story entices you right from the beginning. Both MC's are beautifully flawed. Tean is quirky, offbeat, funny and I suspect is on the low spectrum of Asperger's. Jem a caretaker, codependent and hustler. An all around "good guy" in my book. In my opinion Mr. Ashe offers three-dimensional characters and great attention to detail . Knowledge and actual research done in creating these characters, their work, lives and world make this an absolute delight to listen to. This is my first Gregory Ashe book I've ever purchased. The reason being, J. F Harding . He is a fantastic narrator and a definite GoTo for me. I probably own over half the books he's narrated. I'm positive I would enjoy the other books Mr. Ashe has offered through Audible but to be honest I absolutely will not purchase anymore books narrated by Charlie David, and I'm on the fence with Tristan James. Keep using Harding and I'll keep purchasing your books.

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  • Eugenia
  • 26-02-21

Astounding!! I love these two!!

Wow!
Simply, wow!

These two characters are so very different from each other: one a wildlife vet, the other a grifter.

What they have in common is trying to find a missing man: a friend to one, a brother to the other.

The mystery of missing Benny leads them into dangerous territory. As much as this aspect of the story hooked me, what really drew me in was how the two men interacted with each other.

They were awkward, funny, real, and shielded. I kept waiting for secrets to drop, for tidbits of truth to come out & it had me on a wonderful edge.

Tean, the vet, made me laugh with his constant grim statistics. Jem, the con man, delighted me with his quick thinking. Both men held pain in their past, and they slowly, so very slowly let it out.

The two do solve the mystery. The two do get together. Tean does find out about Jem’s past. Do they get past it? In a way.

Are they still together at the end? As Jem said, like two rovers on the opposite sides of Mars.

Can I wait for the next audiobook? No!! I may have to read the next one straightaway!!

Things to watch out for:
1. Tean’s ex/not ex/but is married/and Mormon. He’s a piece of work.
2. Tean’s inability to say no.
3. Jem’s lies & cons.
4. Trivia.
5. SLT traffic.

Great performance by JF Harding, although a few times I had trouble telling Jem and Tean apart.

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  • Sadie G
  • 23-02-21

Another great series.

I was so excited to see JF Harding was narrating another series by Gregory Ashe. I really liked this book. It had everything you’d want in a Gregory Ashe book. Twisty turny mystery being solved by two broken men. I’m rooting really hard for Gem. I cannot wait for the next book.

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  • Ioana
  • 22-02-21

Affinities

I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
The story is not the standard love story: two people meet, they match each other’s needs perfectly, as if they were neighbouring pieces in a puzzle, they have perfect sex, and that is the masterplan for eternity.
This book is about imperfect people who built a relationship of sorts, support each other in their hardest times, have a fallout, and then - after the imbroglio is revealed - move toward building mutual trust and friendship.
One of the MCs (Gem) has survived abuse while in foster care and in the juvenile detention system. He is a hustler, a professional seducer, a man who has learnt how to make himself agreeable in a world which has been more than unfriendly towards him. He is a survivor.
The other MC (Tean) is a vet, he is good at his job, and he is also an existentialist. His hardest moment was coming out to his parents. Still bound by the memory of youth, his is stuck in a sort of abusive relationship with his high school crush, now a married man. Tean has self confidence issues which he expresses by pointing out the horrible aspects of existence.
These two meet and, while getting to know each other and using heavy bantering, end up trying to solve a missing person mystery.
The relation between the two evolves — from necessary and superficial connection, through liking each other, to what will become friendship. It is a compelling story and one of growth.
Aside the characters, the reader gets to see a peak of Utah - both the cities and the landscape. It is a fine story, built carefully around interesting characters.

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  • Michelle
  • 07-04-21

New Series by a Favorite Author

Gregory Ashes writes great characters with complex relationships that are slow burn and a joy to read/ listen to. Having finished one of my favorite series (Hazard and Somerset), I was excited to be able to dive into something new by this author. And narrator JF Harding does a fantastic job bringing this story to life. I can't wait for the next one!

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  • Lisa
  • 31-03-21

Gregory Ashe and J.F. Harding are the perfect audiobook match

Audio reread/listen March 2021

Even though I just read it two months ago, I loved it just as much if not more this time around. And I am ecstatic that I'm getting the amazing J.F Harding's narration of who are absolutely going to end up being two of my very favorite men from Gregory Ashe. I genuinely loved listening, and J.F. Harding's voices for Tean and Jem *and Ammon 😡* are so on point. One thing I liked from the audio as opposed to the print version was getting to hear the calm, quiet strength and confidence in dangerous situations from an otherwise very awkward and unsure Tean come though so clearly, as well as Jem's obvious affection for Tean's lovable weirdness. Loved it, loved it, loved it! 🥰 So much. I'll definitely be listening to this again.

And now the inevitable question *as soon as I turned it off*, where's the next one?? *GIMME*

Disclaimer: A copy of the audiobook was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

First read - January 2021

4. 5 stars. Ug. 🤦🏼‍♀️ Ashe is going to do it to me again, isn't he? He almost had me fooled, with all the humor and the sweet, emotional moments with Jem & Tean. And then the inevitable *for GA* hammer fell. *sigh*

Gregory Ashe is unparalleled at writing complex, difficult characters that work their way under your skin in spite of themselves. They're sometimes problematic, and make terrible, questionable decisions and do things that make you want to actually smack them silly. But yet he manages to show you the heart of them, and that's where he hooks you.

In addition, the mysteries he wraps his characters in are almost mesmerizing. Once I start one of his stories, I find it hard to look away and pay attention to anything else. His excellent writing and pacing pull you along until the very end.

I completely loved Tean & Jem, who are a bit unusual *or at least I think so* as MCs from Ashe. What isn't unusual is that they both have things in their lives that they suffer with, that they each cope with in much different ways. I loved how, as they peel each others layers back, they grow closer almost despite themselves. It still doesn't stop them from hurting each other, however unintentional *or not* it may be.

The ending isn't a cliffhanger at all but there is much left unresolved for both men, so of course, what can I do but go right to the next one? ❤️

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  • DJR
  • 22-03-21

Not exactly a cliff hanger but close

Should have known Gregory Ashe wouldn't write a happily every after story.
The story itself was engaging with good character building and just different enough to be interesting. My biggest complaint is that to know how the relationship develops, you have to listen to the next book, or next several books - which aren't yet on Amazon.
JF Harding does a great job, as usual.