Note: This ARC was provided by Carina Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
“You agreed—”“I’m changing the terms.” Walker’s gaze shone with love and determination. “I’m done fucking sharing. I want all the time I can get with you. Today just proved how short that could be.”Aidan closed his eyes, unable to watch the light, the love, die in Walker’s. “That’s why it has to end.”
Are you kidding me?! Gah! If I thought the cliffhanger in Single Malt was evil, the one here in Cask Strength was downright devious! I'm torn between wanting to chuck my e-reader in frustration and standing up and applauding such sheer genius on Layla Reyne's part because that cliffhanger is guaranteed to make fans and readers eagerly await the third and final novel, Barrel Proof (which I have sitting prettily on my hard drive as an advanced copy...go, me!), which will be released in a little over three months' time. Book one lured me in; book two has me hooked; and book three is bound to flay me open. Yes, I'm all about Layla Reyne's Agents Irish and Whiskey series and if you haven't gotten around to reading it, I'm begging you to please see the error of your ways and get on it. Chop, chop!
In a matter of months, FBI agents Aidan Talley and Jameson Walker, also known as Irish and Whiskey, have forged the kind of partnership that's become the envy of other agents. They works well and they work quickly, investigating and closing cases that land on their desks. But while they also share a more potent kind of chemistry outside of work, Aidan has chosen to keep things casual, a caveat to their personal non-relationship that bothers Jamie more than he'd care to admit. Aidan's loved and lost both his husband and his partner and the last thing he wants is to get too close to Jamie and risk losing him as well--a risk that's far too real, especially with them in the sights of a known terrorist, the same terrorist who appears to have simply vanished but feels to be watching them.
When a case involving identity theft and illegal gambling in a university requires Aidan and Jamie to go undercover and head to Jamie's home state of North Carolina, it's Jamie's past that comes into the forefront. His life prior to joining the FBI was all about basketball, a life he thought he had left behind. But being around the sport he loved has Jamie thinking about what could have been, as is the sudden appearance of someone who once meant the world to him. Seeing the man he's pushed away in the world he once thrived in and in the presence of an ex has Aidan contemplating the possibilities and opportunities that he's rejected on his quest for self-preservation. If Aidan chooses to risk his heart to love again, could it still end up broken once he learns the secret Jamie's keeping?
I'm not going to lie; there were times that Aidan tested my patience. I totally understand his hesitation in going all in when it comes to Jamie. Believing that rejecting any sort of committed relationship between the two of them will spare him any sort of heartache should something horrible happen to Jamie was really more wishful thinking on his part, so I was kinda glad that he got a taste of exactly what Jamie felt every single time he went on a date with some other man during the past several months they had been together. That isn't to say that I didn't like Aidan. I did, but he broke my heart alongside Jamie's every single time he was in denial about his feelings. He knows he wants Jamie; it's just a matter of him coming to his senses and laying claim to what's already his--Jamie.
I liked that this gave readers a better and clearer look at Jamie's past, especially since the first book was more about Aidan's and their looking for answers with regards to the deaths of Aidan's husband and partner. I also appreciate Jamie pushing back and not letting Aidan walk all over him and taking full control of their non-relationship. The case regarding the identity theft was really interesting and things certainly got intense close to the end. The search for Renaud is ongoing here, and it goes from bad to worse when Jamie starts connecting dots to find out who's involved and how. Remember that devious cliffhanger I mentioned in the beginning? It left me gobsmacked, so be prepared! Layla Reyne is now a favorite go-to author and Cask Strength receives five-plus stars.
Read my reviews for the Agents Irish and Whiskey series:
Single Malt (book one) - five-plus stars - My Review
Cask Strength (book two) - five-plus stars - My Review (posted above)
Release Date: 01 May 2017
Date Read: 01 May 2017
Learn more about Layla Reyne.