Reviewed by Tracey
Favorite Quote: “Then why are you leaving?”
“Caught that, did you?” Cradling his face, Jamie swiped a thumb over the corner of his grim smile. “I love you too, I know your kiss, and I know what goodbye tastes like.”
Blurb: FBI agents Aidan “Irish” Talley and Jameson “Whiskey” Walker can’t get a moment’s peace. Their hunt for the terrorist Renaud seems to be nearing an end, until a fire allows him to slip through their fingers—and puts Jamie’s life in danger. When Jamie is nearly killed, Aidan learns how many forms loss can take.
Aidan says I love you just moments before learning that Jamie’s been keeping a devastating secret about Aidan’s late husband. How quickly trust and love can go up in flames. When Aidan requests a solo undercover assignment, Jamie hopes Aidan will find a way to forgive him.
But the explosions are far from over. Aidan’s cover lands him in the heart of the terrorist’s conspiracy, and Jamie will have to put his life, his career and his freedom on the line to save the man who has become his entire world. Partners, always is a promise he intends to keep.
This is the #3 book in the Irish and Whiskey series by Layla Reyne, and you CANNOT read these books as standalones. The first two books are Single Malt and Cask Strength…buy and read these two first. Do you need to read this series? YES! It is quite the rollercoaster ride through the books, but it is a fun ride and I highly recommend you go for it, you won’t regret it. Both Aidan (Irish) and Jameson (Jamie/Whiskey) are FBI agents, and surprisingly more than half of the books are about the suspense, with enough sexytimes thrown in to make them very enjoyable reads. Each book seemed to end at the exact moment it needed to, and picked up in the next book smoothly always leaving those loose threads you need when dealing with suspense.
I won’t go into detail in this review, I really don’t want to spoil the story for you. Barrel Proof starts immediately where Cask Strength leaves off, and Jamie is still holding out on a secret which he knows will destroy Aiden. They are coming close to catching the terrorist they have been chasing, periodically, through the first two books. The first two books dealt with other cases, bioterrorism and gambling, but the terrorist, Pierre Renaud, was woven into the other two stories very smoothly. Aiden is a widower, whose husband and previous FBI partner were killed by Renaud. Aiden feels he is to blame for those deaths. The secret Jamie has kept from Aiden is exposed very early in the book, and Aiden is devastated by what he sees as everyone lying and betraying him…especially Jamie.
He wanted to rail. He wanted to beat the rest of the truth out of Jamie, out of this man who was supposed to have his back, who had his fucking heart in his hands. A heart that was shredding to pieces where he stood because of his lover’s his partner’s, silence.
It doesn’t even matter to Aiden that Jamie is almost killed and severely injured, he harshly turns on everyone.
His husband and his partner. They’d both lied to him. And his current partner had too. For months. The man he’d risked his heart to love again had kept the truth from him, had lied to him for virtually all of their partnership. All of the time they’d been sleeping together.
I will say I was a little bit irritated and disappointed in Aiden’s behaviour after learning the secret. I kinda wanted to smack him for being just a tad immature and pretty much a drama queen. I realize his anger was a device to move the narrative forward, but he was still irritating. Aiden just can’t be around Jamie after this secret is exposed. He is too angry, so he leaves to go on an undercover job while he gets his head on straight. There is angst for both men as they separate, there is pining, longing and sadness with both men being devastated for different reasons.
“Because as much as I love you, I’m angry as hell. At you, at Mel, at Gabe. I need to get away from everything for a while. Because I want to be able to come home to you, “ he said. “If I stay, my anger will ruin this.”
I very much enjoy Reyne’s style of writing, and I think she did a very good job on all three books. Her secondary characters were highly developed and engaging…you cared about all of them.
The answers to all the questions in the book unfold slowly and the resolution is satisfying. There is a global financial crisis, market manipulations, kidnapping, murder and treason the reasons for which all boil down to a very human cause…revenge. This was a very fun series which tied up very neatly and believable. I am hoping a few of the secondary characters show up in a following book….hello, Nic and Cam!!