Release Date: August 7, 2018
Received From: Review copy from the authors
Rich Cody joined the U.S. Marshals to hunt down bad guys, not babysit witnesses. Orders are orders, though, and now he’s protecting a hacker with ties to the Albanian and Sicilian mobs. It’s just another exciting day in WITSEC.
Leotrim Nicolosi was born into a world of crime and bloodshed. When that bloodshed hits too close to home, taking down Leo’s boyfriend—the son of a notorious mob boss—Leo is determined to destroy the Grimaldi family. He’s got evidence that will send every last Grimaldi to prison, he’s got the family’s wealth in an electronic chokehold, and he’s got a vendetta that can only be settled with the blood of the man who killed his lover.
When a routine transfer to a safehouse goes horribly wrong, Rich and Leo narrowly escape with their lives. With the Marshals compromised and Leo being framed for murder, he and Rich are on the run from criminals and law enforcement alike. They have no one to trust except each other, and nowhere to go that their enemies can’t reach.
And the only way out might mean making a deal with the Devil.
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: homoromantic
TROPES: cop x criminal, enemies to lovers
TAGS: adult, contemporary, romance, romantic suspense, queer romance, queer characters, law enforcement
WARNINGS: mafia/mob, violence, death, mental illness (PTSD, panic attack), vomiting, corrupt law enforcement, ableism, nightmares, queerphobia mention, anti-fat phrasing, nonbinary exclusionary language, slurs, gendered slurs, suicide mention, combat flashbacks, parental death, rape mention / rape threat, torture mention
DOUBLE OR NOTHING is yet another great romantic suspense novel from writing duo LA Witt and Cari Z! The stakes are high, the story is fast-paced, and the romance earns an A+.
With a Mafia soldier turned against the organization, and entrusting himself and information in the hands of law enforcement, it’s almost guaranteed to be a wild ride, and the action in this book is nonstop from the very first chapter. When they attacked during a witness transfer, the two main characters–Rich and Leo–are forced to go on the run together, trusting next to no one along the way as decades of corruption is exposed in the race to kill or capture Leo. At every turn, they’re faced with new sets of complications and must find ways to work together and survive. Witt and Z do an excellent job of keeping the action consistently high stakes while also interspersing moments of quiet and downtime, moments where the heroes are able to connect, communicate, and form a relationship.
They were extremely successful in creating an environment and narrative where I could absolutely believe that Leo and Rich would come to trust only each other and take advantage of their feelings for each other when they could. There no gratuitous sex scenes–nothing to make you wonder why they think this particular moment is appropriate–and the affection and care they have for each other are developed in such subtle ways as to be impressive.
Though the book contains lots of violence, and sometimes fairly graphic descriptions, there was really only one scene that made me uncomfortable, due to the power dynamics at play. While they’re on the run, at one point, Leo and Rich find a building they assume to be abandoned, but when they enter, a black man and a white man confront the two, saying it’s their squat and to leave. In response, Rich pulls a gun on them and says they aren’t leaving yet. And while nothing comes of it, you can’t ignore the fact that white law enforcement officials frequently pull weapons on black people, more often than not resulting in dire consequences. As Rich doesn’t have his badge at that point, thus the man doesn’t know he’s law enforcement, you have to acknowledge the power imbalance and unease, or even fear, black readers may experience in this moment, brief though it may be.
Overall, the story was enjoyable and a fun ride! Fans of Witt and Z’s previously published BAD BEHAVIOR series and/or Layla Reyne’s AGENTS IRISH AND WHISKEY series will very likely enjoy this novel.
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies.
She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…
Visit her website at http://www.gallagherwitt.com/.
Cari Z. is a Colorado girl who loves snow and sunshine. She has a wonderful relationship with her husband, a complex relationship with the characters in her head and a sadomasochistic relationship with her exercise routine. She feels like Halloween should happen every month, which is why you get this picture of her, and hopes that you enjoy reading what she’s put out there as much as she enjoyed writing it in the first place.