Title: Infuriating (Elite Protection #4)
Author: Onley James
Heat: 3 Flames
Rating: 3 Hearts
Synopsis via Goodreads:
What he fears is love.
JACKSON AVERY has everything in life, except somebody to share it with. But as the owner of one of the largest private security forces in the country, he’s got plenty to keep him busy until he finds ‘the one.’ After spending the last year dealing with the fallout of his best security agents falling for their clients, the last thing Jackson expects is to take one look at feisty camboy, Dayton Daniels, and almost instantly know that he’s it for him.
DAYTON DANIELS has been on his own since he was just fourteen years old. He’s spent his entire life scraping by, doing whatever’s necessary to survive. A severe learning disability has left Day unable to read and forced him to find creative ways to make a living. Camming allows him to earn money while keeping his clients at a distance, and Day has grown used to keeping everybody at a distance…until he witnesses a murder and Jackson Avery walks into his life.
Guarding Day is supposed to be a favor, a simple off the books job until they find out who killed a prominent attorney, but Jackson quickly realizes there is nothing simple about Day. He’s beautiful, smart, surprising, and Jackson is all in merely ten minutes after they meet. But Day, he can’t imagine a man like Jackson wanting to spend his life with somebody like him, and he is determined to do anything to send Jackson running in the opposite direction, no matter how much it hurts.
When Day starts receiving threatening emails, Jackson enlists his team to hunt down the killer. Day doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life living in fear, but every day he’s with Jackson, he falls a little harder, forming cracks in the walls he’s worked so hard to build up around himself. Can Jackson solve a murder and find a way past Day’s defenses to convince him there is such a thing as love at first sight and that everybody deserves a happily ever after, even him?
Reviews: I have failed in finding any new vampire stories, so I went looking for my original love, hurt/comfort. If you’ve been here for any length of time, you know that this is a genre that I routinely come back to time and time again. While physical hurt is good, my favorite is emotional hurt/comfort. I often like my men broken and brought back to life by another. Something about the act of comforting another, finding strength in another, coming back stronger from something that has broken them, are some of my favorite things to read. I love the display of vulnerability, or the nurturing role brought out in characters where we wouldn’t expect it, especially in those that tend to be badasses. That display of softness in someone that rounds out their hard edges. It’s a great catalyst to bring characters together.
Dayton (Day) has had a hard life, he’s no stranger to adversity but he has found a way to stand on his own despite it all. Until one night he witnesses a murder. Enter Jackson Avery, owner of Elite Protection Services. As a favor to a Detective, Jackson takes on Day’s protection, but little does he know that Day will tick every box that Jackson has ever wanted in someone. He’s feisty, beautiful, and intelligent, and so very scared Jackson feels compelled to keep him safe.
Dayton is a brat, unapologetically. He’s caustic. He lashes out at everyone to protect himself, and others if he feels it necessary. There’s a scene at the beginning at a grocery store where a woman is made to feel inferior by a random Karen because she can’t afford her all of her groceries and Dayton comes to her defense, quite colorfully I might add, because he’s been in her place. Jackson recognizes it for the defense mechanism that it is, but doesn’t call him on it. Instead, he says,
“You’re like a rabid poodle. […] all frills and bows on the outside, but snarling and vicious deep down.”
“Sorry, but I refuse to be somebody I’m not.”
“Did I ask you to?”
“You just called me a rabid poodle.”
Jackson grinned. “Yeah, but I’m a dog person.”
Now in true Onley James style, our characters fall quickly for each other. Insta-lust, insta-love, both? They’re here. So there’s not much depth to their relationship. Typically, this annoys me, but I know it’s coming with James’ stories, so it usually doesn’t bother me. I know to suspend my disbelief. For example, our MCs have been together for a mere few hours when Jackson says,
He’d never tell a single soul that he had decided , while in line at the grocery store, that mouthy, brazen, beautiful Dayton Daniels was the one for him He especially would never tell Dayton. Still, if Jackson was a betting man, he’d put money on Dayton being his person.
Dayton sees himself as broken, by his family, by his losses, by life. He feels irredeemable and unworthy of Jackson’s time, efforts and love. (I’m not going to give everything away, you’ll have to read if you want to know why. ;)) Jackson disagrees, and we spend the rest of the story offering comfort and support until he’s willing to consider otherwise.
I didn’t entirely buy the plot in this one because I didn’t see that character that is responsible as having the capabilities that were required to pull it off. There are so many things he would’ve needed to accomplish against a highly-trained military team in order to do it, and I just don’t see it. So. meh. They are definitely smarmy though. Ms. James nailed that one. Vague? Yes, but I’m trying to avoid spoilers. If you’ve read it, you’ll understand.
This is a Daddy/boy romance with some good heat, humor, and a lot of h/c. If you have a daddy kink, you’ll be pleased. 😉 I liked Dayton right out of the gate, he brings a playfulness to the story despite his own emotional turmoil. Jackson grew on me. He’s a more relaxed version of his character in other books, and I’m reading out of order because this one grabbed me for some reason.
If you like hurt/comfort and broken men, you may like this one. It’s not quite Sloane Kennedy level of angst and h/c, but it’s a decent dose. TW: There is some brief child abuse and violence portrayed in this story.
The ending will make you smile though.
Purchase Link | Amazon