Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M cozy mystery/romance from Julie Lynn Hayes. CIVIL WAR AND BROKEN HEARTS is the second book in her Rose and Thorne series. It’s the sequel to BAD DOGS AND DRAG QUEENS and features the continuing misadventures of Federal Agents Vinnie Delorosa and Ethan Thorne as they protect a starlet from a dangerous stalker.
Check out the excerpt, review and get in on the gift card giveaway below!
About the book:
Hollywood comes to Roanoke when a major film studio announces they’re shooting part of their Civil War film at a local plantation. Vinnie is dismayed to discover that the lead actress is none other than the beautiful and popular Caroline St. Clair. Ethan and Vinnie made her acquaintance in LA the previous Halloween, while undercover, and Vinnie still hates her for hitting on his man. Ethan reassures his partner that Roanoke is big enough for all of them to co-exist without running into one another.
But Fate has it in for Vinnie and Ethan, and they find themselves assigned to a new case involving the actress. Apparently she requested Ethan specifically, to Vinnie’s dismay. But he doesn’t have a choice, he has to play nice. It’s small consolation to Vinnie that his new undercover identity involves Hollywood heartthrob Troy McGarrett, who is very handsome and openly gay. Troy isn’t shy about letting Vinnie know he finds him attractive.
Jealousy abounds in the second book of the Rose and Thorne series, and time is not on Vinnie and Ethan’s side. If they don’t solve the case before the film shoot is done, there’s a good chance they’ll be separated for the first time since they were partnered. Assuming Vinnie doesn’t kill Caroline St. Clair himself.
The author is donating 10% of the royalties from this book to No Kid Hungry. Visit nokidhungry.org for more information about this organization.
A tasty tidbit…
“Hey, Vin, did you see who’s in town?”
I was slumped at the kitchen table, my head cradled on top of my arms. I was grumpy and sleepy—and maybe a few of the other Seven Dwarves—and I needed my first cup of morning coffee before I could even consider being slightly civil.
We’d spent most of last night sitting in our car, in the goddamn middle of nowhere, staring at nothing, assigned to a fruitless surveillance in a small town about an hour from Roanoke. As it turned out, all the real action was in a different small town in the complete opposite direction from where we waited, because our so-called informant couldn’t spell the name of the place correctly. What a difference one letter makes. So we’d ended up completely wasting our time, got lost trying to find the rest of the task force at the end of the night, almost got hit by a deer that came out of nowhere and took a sudden shine to our car, and then suffered the indignity on our return of being asked where the hell we’d been all night—and we still needed to do the paperwork. And now Ethan wanted to play Twenty Questions?
“Don’t know and don’t care,” I mumbled.
I heard him slap something down on the table. I forced one eye open, just in time to see him sashay toward the coffeemaker. Okay, for that ass, I’d open the other one too. I watched as he poured the blessed elixir into two mugs, added the appropriate amount of creamer and sugar to each, then returned to where I still watched him and set one in front of me.
Right next to the morning paper. Real subtle, Ethan.
This is the second book in a series, but can be enjoyed on its own. It’s a sweet and fluffy buddies romance between two long-term partners, Vinnie and Ethan, who also are work partners. What you need to know about the series: They are some type of fictional federal agents that go undercover to help the police. Essentially, Vinnie will get put into a dress, and Ethan will help him out of it. And, some other plot things will happen. That’s been the case for the first two books.
In this book, starlet Caroline St. Clair is in Roanoke to film some on-location scenes for the Civil War-era epic she’s working on. She recently split from her fiance, the director of the film who’s flaunting his new younger fiance right under Caroline’s nose. Ethan helps thwart a shooting when he and Vinnie find Caroline out and about in Roanoke. She thinks it must be her stalker, but no one can trace his (now deleted) threatening emails. Caroline gets Ethan assigned to serve as her personal bodyguard, claiming he’s her fiance to cover his appearance in her life. And this about sets Vinnie’s head to explode. Vinnie’s assigned as a personal assistant to Caroline’s beautiful, out-and-proud, co-star, Troy McGarrett. Troy’s helpful, but doesn’t mind helping himself to some of Vinnie, if the opportunity arises.
I pretty much had this one figured out from the start, but I liked how it all played out. There’s a ton of cattyiness, and Vinnie’s his usual chatty narrating self. Troy was super cool, a good friend and support to Vinnie, throughout. I also liked how our homophobic foe from the first book got a bit more humanized in this one. Ethan’s about beside himself, fending off Caroline’s unwanted advances and keeping Vinnie from making many, many professional mistakes, though we still don’t get a lot of his personality on the page. The next book seems to have a lot more of Ethan, however, so I’m looking forward to that. If you like low steam romance and fluffy cozy mysteries with lots of snarky banter, I think this will hit your sweet spot.
Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a gift card to Dreamspinner Press.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!
About the Author:
Julie Lynn Hayes first began publishing short stories and poetry in the 1990’s, when it was a different ballgame altogether, and Ebooks hadn’t been dreamed of yet. That changed in 2010 with the acceptance of her first romance novel. She’s come a long way since that first book appeared, and is finding the journey a very educational one.
She lives in St. Louis with her daughter Sarah and her cat Ramesses. She often writes of two men finding true love and happiness in one another’s arms, and is a great believer in the happily ever after. She likes to write in different genres, to stretch herself in order to see what is possible. Her great challenge is to be told something can’t be done—she feels compelled to do it.
When she isn’t writing, she enjoys crafts, such as crocheting and cross stitch, needlepoint and knitting, and she loves to cook, spending time watching the Food Network. Her favorite chef is Geoffrey Zakarian. Her family thinks she’s a bit off, but she doesn’t mind. Marching to the beat of one’s own drummer is a good thing, after all. Her published works can be found at Dreamspinner Press, eXtasy Books, and Wayward Ink Press.