Title: A Shot of J&B
Author: Lou Sylvre
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 214 Pages
At a Glance: This book wasn’t perfect, but it was still a fantastic story.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Six years ago, Brian Harrison helped save the life of Jackie Vasquez, and he’s never really forgotten him. After the rescue, Brian ended his employment with Jackie’s uncle Luki and left the US for England, aiming to distance himself from the confused feelings—not lust, but not brotherly—that then sixteen-year-old Jackie engendered. Now Jackie has become a man, and when they meet again by chance, lust with a dose of D/s rope kink is definitely on the list of possibilities. As they get to know each other, though, lust shows every sign of growing into love, deep and true.
When Jackie moves to London for graduate studies in criminal psychology, he and Brian hope they’ll be able to enjoy each other’s frequent company. But they haven’t factored in the claim Brian’s police job with Scotland Yard will make on his time, especially when the “Gaslighter crimes” sap investigative resources. An abandoned aide dog named Soldier leads to a breakthrough clue, and a chain of discoveries fall like dominoes. As Brian rushes to beat the criminal’s game before it escalates to true terror, he comes to an undeniable conclusion: Jackie Vasquez, the man he loves, is in mortal danger.
Review: I was so excited when I found out that Lou Sylvre was going to give Jackie and Brian their story. Anyone who has followed my reviews knows I’m a BIG fan of the Vasquez & James series, and, like so many other fans, I knew that Jackie had more to say, and we hoped his story would include Brian. So, here we are with A Shot of J&B. The story takes place six years after Brian helped save Jackie’s life, and, as the blurb suggests, when they meet again, it’s obvious neither one has been able to forget the other.
Lou Sylvre has shown us time and time again that she can craft a great story. She writes wonderful characters, gets us to fall for them, and then takes us on a ride which often includes a super creepy villain whose head you don’t really want to be in, yet you’re enthralled whenever he – or, in this case, SHE – is on the page. A Shot of J&B follows this formula, and for the most part, it works. The beginning is very strong: the introduction to the antagonist, the perfect glimpses of Luki and Sonny, the initial surprise meeting of Brian and Jackie, all are set up perfectly to get you sucked into the story.
I really enjoyed getting to know our two main characters better, particularly Jackie. His strength is amazing. I loved seeing him as an adult, especially with the context of what he’s already been through in his short life. The work he has done to get to where he is able to cope as well as he does is so admirable, and that he has chosen to study forensics is beyond cool. Jackie knows himself so well, and does a wonderful job articulating to his family, and to Brian, what he needs. And, I don’t want to give anything away, but I think I can also safely say I loved that Jackie gets to sort of be his own hero towards the end. He doesn’t just shrink in the corner waiting for Brian to come save him. So, yeah…I love me some Jackie Vasquez.
Brian is also a great guy. Solid, confident, and still completely in love with Jackie after all these years. He has worked hard to become a respected Dom, and is thrilled to see that Jackie is every bit the submissive he suspected he was. The D/s aspect of their relationship in the story also started out strong. I loved the first scene where they are alone together, down by Luki’s rock at the river. So sexy. Strong D/s lines established. Unfortunately, this part of the story didn’t stay consistently strong. That part of their relationship needed to be more consistent and defined. I wanted to see more of Brian actually being a Dom and giving Jackie what he needed as a sub. It brought some flavor to the story, and I enjoyed what the author set out to do – I get that it’s an integral part of who they each are – but I just wanted more.
Another thing that just didn’t work for me, which is directly related to everything I have stated above regarding these strong characters and the roles they play, was the dialogue. I’m sorry to say that it just didn’t fit these guys at all. All of the endearments, the very formal style, and, frankly, the overtly feminine ‘voice’, did not fit the characters of two strong, twenty-something males. Excessive use of exclamation points throughout all of the character dialogue was also a bit distracting.
One last thing I have to mention, and then enough of the concrit… ;) There was a MAJOR time zone error in the book, wherein the time at Luki and Sonny’s house is stated as being two hours later than the time in Nebraska at Kaholo’s house. I don’t know how an error of this size got left in the book – but, sadly, it did take me out of the story and had me shaking my head for a while.
Listen, this book wasn’t perfect. BUT, it was still a fantastic story, with a unique and compelling antagonist, two main characters you will love, and a few cameos from some dear old friends. As always, I can’t wait for Lou Sylvre’s next book, and to see where she takes Jackie and Brian.
You can buy A Shot of J&B here: