Author: Eden Winters
Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books
Pages/Word Count: 264 Pages
At a Glance: Even though I wasn’t blown away by Manipulation, I would still highly recommend reading this series
Blurb: Lucky Lucklighter has a new life. His old life wants him back.
He traded trafficking for taking down criminals with the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau, and a drug-lord lover for a man on the right side of the law. Bo Schollenberger found the way past the thorny defenses of Lucky’s heart, and made Mr. I-Get-Along-Fine-Alone think about his and his closets, stevia in the sugar bowl, and a picket fence—with a good lock on the gate.
Now Bo is missing, and a voice long silenced asks, “Did you miss me?” Lucky must deal with a devil from his past to get Bo back.
And if Bo isn’t willing to come? A drug ring needs its back broken before flooding the US with a designer high, seductive and undetectable. But there’s a fine line between good and evil, and a truckload of temptation urging Lucky to cross.
Review: Manipulation, book four in Eden Winters’ Diversion series, is the continuation of Bo and Lucky’s story. For some background, both are narcotics agents for the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau, and they each come to their jobs with black marks against them. Lucky is a reformed drug runner who’s put behind his life of crime to find redemption, and Bo is also looking for redemption after his failure as a pharmacist who couldn’t pass up the temptation of easy access to drugs. As always, there’s a lot of baggage and, as in all good melodramas, it gets unpacked!
In the beginning of the series, they get paired up on an assignment, with Lucky mentoring Bo, but they soon fall into each others arms and embark on their journey together. The first book paints an interesting picture of the whole drug manufacturing/marketing landscape. It also sets up the dynamic between Lucky and Bo and how each one lets the other into his heart. I was totally drawn into their relationship and rooted for them to survive their ups and downs.
In this installment, Bo is deep undercover, and sometimes Lucky is not sure who he is dealing with: the real Bo or his undercover persona, Cyrus. Lucky references this split personality often, but I found it hard to relate to, maybe because I missed something, or maybe cause Bo is suddenly fluent in Spanish. Lucky’s past catches up with him, and he’s taken to Mexico where he’s forced to help his ex-drug-lord-lover’s nephew with a new drug operation. Bo is also there undercover, and they soon join forces to thwart the operation.
The plot of Manipulation seemed a bit convoluted to me, and at times I found myself lost. There was a lot of information about Lucky’s past, and I enjoyed reading about it but wanted it to be less confusing. There were crosses and double-crosses, and some of them were not convincing to me, just over the top. Lucky is a grouch and not a people person, while Bo is painted as the good guy, which is repeated a lot through the book. In the end, Bo revealed that his past was darker than we first thought, though I’m not sure why, maybe to make him a more exciting match for Lucky, but to me their pairing was just right, so I thought this revelation about Bo was unnecessary.
I have mixed feelings about Manipulation. I wanted to love this one, but it didn’t live up to my expectations. It had its moments but ultimately, for me, it didn’t live up to the first two books. I loved Diversion and Collusion, but even though I wasn’t blown away by Manipulation, I would still highly recommend reading this series. I think you will find it enjoyable.
You can buy Manipulation (Diversion: Book Four) here: