Taking Love AGAINST THE GRAIN–A Review

Hi there! I’m so excited to get back to my THIRDS fixation. I started this series about a year ago with HELL AND HIGH WATER, then BLOOD AND THUNDER, RACK AND RUIN and I had savored every minute of RISE AND FALL, but it was a while before I got AGAINST THE GRAIN into my hands!

How I missed my sexy shifters! This series follows a squad of THIRDS police agents made up of humans and Therians–who have the power to shift at will into ferocious animals. The first four books of the series focused on the relationship between human Dexter J Daley and his partner and commander, a jaguar Therian Names Sloane Brodie. This fifth book is filled with the love story between lion Therian Ash Keeler (Sloane’s best friend) and cheetah Therian Cael Maddox(Dex’s adopted brother. And it is SOOOOO good.

Against the Grain (THIRDS #5)About the Book:
As the fiercest Defense Agent at the THIRDS, Destructive Delta’s Ash Keeler is foul-mouthed and foul-tempered. But his hard-lined approach always yields results, evident by his recent infiltration of the Coalition. Thanks to Ash’s skills and the help of his team, they finally put an end to the murdering extremist group for good, though not before Ash takes a bullet to save teammate Cael Maddock. As a result, Ash’s secrets start to surface, and he can no longer ignore what’s in his heart.

Cael Maddock is no stranger to heartache. As a Recon Agent for Destructive Delta, he has successfully maneuvered through the urban jungle that is New York City, picking up his own scars along the way. Yet nothing he’s ever faced has been more of a challenge than the heart of Ash Keeler, his supposedly straight teammate. Being in love isn’t the only danger he and Ash face as wounds reopen and new secrets emerge, forcing them to question old loyalties.

My Review:
This books is best enjoyed after reading the previous books in the series. When this book opens, Cael and Ash are still healing from wounds sustained in the previous story. That said, they are finally developing the bonds that Cael has long hoped to build. Sure, they had been the closest of friends, and definitely affectionate, but it had never gone past the occasional tender kiss, or cuddling. Cael wants more, and Ash wants more, but Ash has a long history of self-loathing.

As a child, Ash had feelings for another boy, and a series of tragic incidences chased him far from his love and all the people he held dear. He grew up in a testing facility for cast off Therians, alongside Sloane Brodie. Ash survived the emotional and physical testing to later join THIRDS as one of the first agents in the program. He’s kept his heart held tight, but now he’s thinking there’s one person who would keep it safe: Cael.

This is a definite hurt/comfort story, with both Ash and Cael working toward the kind of relationship they have always desired. In the background we have another diabolical plot hatching–one which had first come to light in BLOOD AND THUNDER but the full extent is only now being revealed. Someone has been developing a drug to control Therians in their animal form–creating drones with ultimate killing capability and no consciousness or conscience to stop them. Ash and Sloane are among the targeted, due to their history as Therian test subjects. It’s a dangerous and covert business, getting control of the drug before it’s used, and might put Cael in specific danger, as well.

I really enjoyed the cafeul relationship building. Just because Ash and Cael have been close for several years, Ash is stunned to learn of Cael’s tragic pre-THIRDS history. Ash knows he needs to tread carefully, but it’s not that long before he recognizes that he can’t be the man Cael needs without taking chances on love. There’s a lot of vulnerability here, and super sweet steps toward coupledom. I think THIRDS fans will be well-satisfied.

Interested? You can find AGAINST THE GRAIN on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press (eBook & Paperback) All Romance eBooks, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Charlie CochetAbout the Author:
Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Website | THIRDS HQ | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram | Charlie’s Newsletter | Email: charlie@charliecochet.com

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!