Hi there! Today I’m sharing my review for a new contemporary M/M romance from GB Gordon. OPERATION GREEN CARD is a new book in the Bluewater Bay universe–which is loosely connected to the other books in the series (including WHEN TO HOLD THEM also by this author) but fully enjoyable as a standalone. I’ve loved other GB Gordon books, SANTUARIO and THE OTHER SIDE OF WINTER, so I was excited to read this one!
Check out my review below and head out to a pal’s blog to enter the $10 GC giveaway!
About the book:
Arkady Izmaylov is a family man. He’s also gay. In Russia. His sister Natalya has been telling him to get out for years, but it’s only after an attack in the street that he finally concedes and says yes to her desperate plan of him marrying a stranger for a green card.
Jason Cooley was taught from birth that he’s no good to anyone. Then the military taught him he was good enough to save other lives, but that purpose got amputated along with his leg. He’s now working security at Wolf’s Landing and sending monthly checks to his ex for their daughter’s education. When Natalya asks him to marry her brother, Jason knows right away he’ll do it more for the mission than the money she’s offering. But when he actually meets Arkady, his mission turns complicated.
Jason quickly discovers he’s not as straight as he thought. He’s also the man of Arkady’s dreams. Arkady must convince Jason that he’s worth loving, and that Arkady won’t disappear from his life like everyone else. Because Arkady has always wanted a family of his own, and he’s not letting go of this one.
Jason Cooley is a war veteran and amputee. He lost his lower leg and foot in his last rescue mission as an Army Ranger. It crushed the fledgling sense of purpose he’d gained from joining the armed services, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, father and late mother–who was killed in action when Jason was two. His father had little to do with him from then on, and he was raised in the love-bereft home of his mother’s parents, who treated him as a burden. He joined up straight out of high school, and now works as a security guard on the set of Wolf’s Landing, a long-running TV show filmed in his home town of Bluewater Bay. He still lives in that childhood home, though his grandparents are gone, and it’s cramped and run-down. Jason has a five year old daughter, Lily, conceived literally on the eve of his deployment, with his high school bestie, but they were never truly romantically linked. She’s married and her hard-working husband has formally adopted Lily. Jason sends whatever money he can to support Lily, but he’s not really involved in her life; he’s sure that’s for the best. Only, even after working double shifts, and hardly spending any money on himself, Jason still can’t afford the gifted school Lily’s being recommended for enrollment.
Arkady is living on borrowed time. The situation in Russia is grave, with men accused of homosexuality being literally disappeared to prison or shallow graves. No matter how circumspect he is about his sexuality, he’s a target. He’s been attacked before, and saw his best friend murdered years ago for their “crime”. His sister, Natalya, has been trying to get him a job in security–or whatever–at Wolf’s Landing, but the work visa is not coming. Hearing that Jason needs money, Natalya proposes a solution that could benefit her beloved brother: green card marriage.
The idea seems preposterous on its face, but the more Jason ruminates, the more he envisions this scheme as a new mission in his life. He can pay for Lily’s school, and save Arkady from a death sentence. It appeals to his latent hero complex, and it’s not as if he’s never shared intimacy with a man; it was a down-low practice on some of his deployments. When he says he’s down, Arkady makes plans for a “trip” to visit Natalya. His whole family knows this is code for his defection. Arkady had thought he would never have a loving relationship or family, but coming to the States ignites these desires. He finds Jason incredibly attractive, and that feeling, well, it’s mutual. Jason is stunned at Arkady’s masculine beauty and his growing desire for his “roomie” is confusing. They have a real role to play in convincing all their witnesses that they are having a whirlwind romance, but neither of them expected to get so caught up in it themselves.
Jason’s frustrated that Arkady might not even care about him beyond getting his paperwork managed, and Arkady’s heart is so open to Jason that whenever he perceives Jason pulling back, it hurts, and hurts bad. They do find a way to become intimate, and again, the reality is far brighter than the fantasy—but it crashes and burns when they adhere to the idea that this is a temporary situation, to simply get Arkady’s permanent residency card. For both men, this relationship has become important, and breaking up is unthinkable, so they guard themselves against further vulnerability, until they can’t bear it any longer and the honesty bursts forth.
I loved the tenderness and commitment each man showed for each other’s well-being. It was so fun to watch this marriage of convenience to grow into a passionate romance. Arkady’s joy over building a real family, with Lily and her parents, is immeasurable. The HEA is fantastic! And yummy sexytimes as Jason and Arkady learn to share themselves more and more. Expect a wedding that’s somewhat bittersweet, and a love that is built to last.
Go Over to my pals at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words to leave a comment and be entered to win a $10 Riptide book credit!
Good luck and thanks for popping in!
About the Author:
G.B. Gordon worked as a packer, landscaper, waiter, and coach before going back to school to major in linguistics and, at 35, switch to less backbreaking monetary pursuits like translating, editing, and writing. Having lived in various parts of the world, Gordon is now happily ensconced in suburban Ontario with the best of all husbands.