Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M police romance from AE Via. NOTHING SPECIAL V is the fifth book in her Nothing Special series and features the love story for Tech, and a new member of their Task Force. I highly recommend the whole series–but I think you especially should read NOTHING SPECIAL #1 before this one, because NSV includes the viewpoints of God and Day on the verge of, well, something pretty special.
Atlanta’s notorious narcotics task force is at it again. They are stronger, bigger, and better than ever. Especially when a city councilman sends RECON Marine, Edwin Steele -who’s been blacklisted from his Oakland department – to join the team.
God and Day weren’t recruiting. They have a lot on their plates, like the fact they’re supposed to be getting married soon. They don’t have the time or the patience to integrate a decorated war hero with a slight chip on his shoulder into their well-oiled machine.
A hothead that’s uncontrollable and terrible with authority… but wasn’t that their team motto?
Steele was ready to hang up his shield. He was done fighting with bigoted bastards that couldn’t respect the job. He was good at fighting; he just needed the right team to fight with. When his uncle – City Councilman, Rasmus Steele – shows him a video of God’s team in action, he knows right away, it’s where his nephew belongs in order to restore his faith.
Steele pointed to the driver, a behemoth of a man wielding those massive firearms like a true beast…like a soldier. “And him. Who the hell is he?”
“That’s your new boss. Lieutenant Cashel Godfrey… they call him… God.”
Steele was skeptical about his new placement, but when he meets God’s technology specialist/computer genius, “Tech,” he’s willing to give it his all…
This story is a part of a series but can stand alone. It does not end on a cliffhanger and has a HEA. There are no multiple pairings in this novel.
How about a little taste?
Steele looked at Tech’s profile while he set out all the tiny pieces to make him an earpiece. His hands moved methodically over the delicate pieces, putting each item in its place. It was way outside of Steele’s scope of knowledge. The young man was a genius. As he looked around at all the sophisticated technology, he couldn’t help but marvel at the detective. This was something you’d see built by an engineer that worked for Bill Gates or something, making a six-figure salary, not in an Atlanta precinct, and he found himself wanting to know Tech’s story.
He looked sexy today in his fitted jeans and black, slim-fitted, ribbed turtleneck. The black, plastic framed glasses set off his entire “I’m a hot nerd” look, but the body didn’t quite match. He was fit and toned in a Peter Parker kind of way. Tech probably couldn’t get overly muscular, but it was clear he worked out. His biceps were probably the size of small apples when he flexed, and Steele hoped he’d get an opportunity to see them.
Tech finally moved to get to work, putting a piece of the gray putty on the end of the five-inch forceps. But as Tech’s hand got closer to the side of his face, Steele could see the slight tremor. Fuck. Steele slowly reached up and got a gentle grip of Tech’s narrow wrist, bringing his hand back down. He took his other hand and pushed back the long sleeve of Tech’s shirt, locating the spot on his wrist he could manipulate with a little pressure to help calm some of Tech’s anxiety over having to touch him – especially when they hadn’t approached the elephant in the room. He looked into Tech’s brown eyes behind those clear lenses while he rubbed his thumb in a small circle over the smooth skin. He lost himself in the movement; Tech’s skin was so pale and soft as he caressed him that he almost forgot why he was even touching him in the first place. Maybe because of their first interaction Steele felt an extremely strong pull towards Tech.
“Don’t be afraid of me, detective,” Steele whispered, watching closely as Tech’s long lashes fluttered over his intelligent eyes. “I’m sorry I hurt you. I truly am. I promise… I swear on my fallen brothers that I’ll never ever hurt you like that again. I wouldn’t’ve come back if I didn’t think I could control myself…especially around you. I’m ashamed of what I did.”
Tech’s breath came out in shallow gusts while he let Steele continue to touch him. “I’m sorry, too. I didn’t mean to offend you, either… or hurt you.”
“I know you didn’t.” Steele wanted to lean in closer, somehow get better acquainted in a different way, but he’d try to establish some trust between them first. He slid Tech’s sleeve up until it was bunched around his tight bicep. He stopped caressing the pressure point when he saw the dark purple bruise above Tech’s elbow. Oh no. He felt even shittier than last night. No words he’d thought of seemed good enough to speak, right now.
“I’m okay. Really. I’m stronger than you may think,” Tech said hoarsely, his eyes darting away. He looked upset, but for a different reason.
“I know you’re strong. I felt it. But I know the joint is swollen and aching in there.” Steele let Tech’s wrist go and reached for his backpack. “I brought something to help.”
Tech inched in a little closer and Steele took that as a good sign. Ignoring the delicious coolness of Tech’s cologne, he reached inside and took out the circular metal container. He didn’t take much with him as he moved from place to place but he did keep his array of natural remedies he’d acquired from doctors all over the world, from hypnotherapist to Ayurvedic physicians. The can of presoaked bandages was the best he’d ever encountered for aching muscles and joints. It was made of so many herbs and oils; he’d never be able to recite them all, but he knew of the primary ones.
He took off the tin lid and Tech’s neck jerked back at the potent smell that blasted their senses, even their eyes began to water. Tech put his hand up to his nose. “What the hell? Oh my god.”
Steele chuckled deeply, reaching out to cup Tech’s hand, pulling him back towards him until was standing between his legs. “I know. I know. It’s the Capsaicin. It’s an oil extracted from hot chile peppers. I think, mixed with the peppermint, it’s a bit overpowering, but all the properties together do wonders in reducing inflammation.”
“There’s no way I can walk around the office with these on. God’ll kick my ass out of here so fast.”
“No he won’t. Because after the bandages are on, I’m going to wrap it in plastic. It’ll contain the smell. Trust me.” He looked up at Tech’s eyes, realizing their close proximity. He’d done it on purpose, opening his legs a little wider. He wanted to show Tech he had a measure of gentility under all his strength.
Tech was quiet while Steele carefully wrapped both elbows. “It’s cold. Feels kind of good, despite the smell.” Tech’s smile was gorgeous and warm.
“It’s the Camphor cream. A lot of physicians say use hot temperatures for aches, some say cold. I’ve found cool works best, especially for acute pain.” Steele began wrapping the Saran wrap. “Out in the field, we’ll try just about anything to eliminate pain. Of course, we had our corpsmen; but taking narcotics was a last resort, we needed to stay sharp.”
Steele pulled down one sleeve and then the other. He closed up his canister and tucked it back inside his bag. He wiped his hand on a hand towel in his backpack and zipped it up. “So, what do you think?”
Steele knew the medicine well. Already knew it was working its way into the layers of Tech’s skin, giving him some much-needed relief. At least Steele was able to fix a little of the damage he’d done.
“Much better, actually. Wow, it’s like a miracle serum,” Tech said, bending his arm, testing the mobility.
“Keep them on overnight, if you can. It’ll really feel a lot better by tomorrow.”
“Okay,” Tech agreed, almost wistfully. He stood there rooted in place, just watching him for a moment and Steele saw his eyes drop to his mouth. Steele licked his lips.
Tech blinked, dropping his eyes down, moving back to the side, in front of his kit. “I better get this going. I’m sure your new partners will be ready for you soon.”
Steele tilted his head to the side when Tech reached for his earlobe again. He didn’t make a sound and he fought not to react, but the hot detective touching him on his spot was making it difficult. No words were spoken now, only silence and Steel’s shameless thoughts. He wanted to moan so badly when those agile fingers moved across the fleshly part of his ear, manipulating the soft substance to mold to his canal. Tech’s face was so close to his he could feel his exhale while he peered into the tunnel of his ear. His breath was a mix of coffee and something else sugary… like he’d had pancakes for breakfast. Steele turned inward, wanting to smell, wanting to taste.
“Hold still,” Tech whispered, close to him. “Won’t be long.”
That erotic voice. A mild tenor, lighter than bass but far from feminine. Absolutely perfect. Steele would love to hear it right here in Tech’s sanctuary. Standing in the midst of all he’d engineered with his brilliant mind. In the darkness, illuminated with only the flashing red and green signal indicators on Tech’s monitors, not the harsh florescent lighting over his head right now. Ahh. He’d hold that taut body close to him while he caressed the petite round globes of his ass. Would Tech fit to his body the same way he was curving that malleable paste to fit his ear?
Steele could feel his heart beating faster the more his fantasy played out in his mind. He closed his eyes and pictured himself coming back from a dangerous bust and Tech taking him into this room, keeping the lights off and bringing his adrenaline down with his lustful voice and feather light touches.
“Doing real good,” Tech breathed quietly, still so damn close. “This is going to be a little warm now, so I can mold it easier.”
“‘K,” Steele responded throatily, without knowing what he’d just consented to. He felt the slick piece of putty slide back into his ear; it was nice and toasty, like it’d been dipped in warm honey. Still, Tech blew on his ear like it was too hot for him to take. Oh, he could take the heat. “Mmm.”
“You okay?” Tech paused.
Steele’s eyes popped open, the bright lighting jerking him to reality. Fuck, did I just moan? good. Fine.”
“Alright. We’re all done,” Tech said, putting the intricately curved piece of goo in a plastic dish and closing it. “This’ll harden, then I’ll put the casing with the mechanism over it and you’re good to go.” Tech looked back and forth before his eyes landed back on him. “I’m real glad we’re square. This team… we’re a family ya’know, a unit. Everyone is partnered up… in love. We don’t take risks with anyone’s lives. It’d be devastating.”
Tech was preparing to walk away and Steele wasn’t ready for him to. He stood and walked up behind the smaller man while he stood in front of a row of shelves and put his kit away. When Steele spoke, Tech jumped slightly but settled right back down. “And who are you in love with?”
“My job. I don’t have time for all that,” Tech answered. Steele had a feeling that even Tech didn’t believe that answer.
Steele’s chin was over Tech’s shoulder. He didn’t grab his narrow waist but he wanted to. “How warm does this job keep you at night, detective?” Steele didn’t wait for an answer; instead, he turned and took the weapons Tech had placed out for him and left his space. But he made a mental note to revisit that topic real soon.
As he made his way back across the office, he hoped that Ack would approve. It’d been a long time since any other man gave Steele’s body this kind of reaction.
Edwin Steele is a decorated combat vet who’d served in the Oakland PD until his partner was gunned down; he’s sure it was related to Steele being “out.” He’s skittish to join another force–and suffers flashbacks and nightmares over the loss of comrades-in-arms, including the first man he ever fell for. The only reason Steele takes a chance with God and Day’s task force is the assurance that it’s a queer-friendly bunch. And, Steele’s mind is blown when he discovers that there’s several gay couples on the crew.
Detective Shawn Murphy–also called “Tech”–has never met a security system he didn’t want to hack. He’d served three years for doing just that in college. Now on the task force, hacks for the good guys–and he wants to spend time out on the streets, too. Though smaller than all the burly guys on the task force, he’s been training in MMA and close-quarter fighting for the past two years, waiting for his shot at a field operation. Eager to show off for their newest team member, Tech uncovers the classified closed-file of Steele’s final RECON mission–and that’s a big problem when it trips off Steele’s PTSD.
Not the stellar introduction.
Still, there’s a heat between them, and Steele sees what Tech hides, his desire to work in the field. Not only that, Tech’s there all the time, at all hours of the day, via his ingenious earpieces. It allows Steele to talk with Tech at times when he most needs someone, and results in some kinky interludes, too. I loved how Shawn was such a giving guy, and how he really tried to connect with Shawn. For all of Steele’s hang-ups, he’s a man who really wants a steady, loving partner, and he does what he can to make Shawn’s dreams come true.
This book is meant to wrap the series, but, honestly, it only made me hungry for more. We have a great insight to the whole team, because they all work and play together. God and Day tell large portions of the story in their own points-of-view. Don’t expect any multiple-pairings in this one; just some good old fashioned bachelor party hi jinks and a better look into the love lives of God’s little brother and his man, too. In fact, there’s an extended novella at the end that features Genesis and Curtis’s relationship. And, we have more couples on the horizon–though I think they will be spun off into a new series–plus, more. Yes, more. The plot moves like Spaceball I going at Ludicrous Speed. (Er, superfast, and a bit twisty for those who aren’t fans of the venerable Mel Brooks’ work.) The love story between Tech and Steele was a little rushed, as a result, but the introduction of several returning characters, and the culmination of so many plot threads made the ride very enjoyable.
I highly advise reading the books in order, though you could possibly read the first and fifth books as a mini-sequence.
Get the four book series here.
About the Author:
A.E. Via is an author in the beautiful gay romance genre and also founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books. Her writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.
When she’s not clicking away at her laptop, she devotes herself to her family—a husband and four children. Adrienne Via has tons of more stories to tell, but she really would like to hear yours. Via Star Wings Books is currently accepting submissions for established and aspiring LGBTQ authors.
Visit her site to learn more! Go to A.E. Via’s official website for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peak on upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next. You can also check out her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.