Title: The Last Guy Breathing
Author: Skylar M. Cates
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 254 Pages
At a Glance: Great couple, good mystery, unconvincing procedural
Blurb: Henry Clueley doesn’t want to be in Glamour, not after moving far away to overcome a difficult, if privileged, childhood. He’s no longer that pudgy kid desperate to escape his hometown, but it still holds painful memories. When his recently widowed mother needs him, however, “dependable Henry” does the right thing—even if it means leaving the IRS to take a boring corporate position. Things don’t stay boring for long. Soon Henry helps the local sheriff’s department unravel a crime. Posing as half of a fake couple seems like a fun idea… until Henry learns he already knows the deputy playing his other half.
Deputy Locke may be new to the Glamour Sheriff’s Department, but he’s fought his way up in the world and is determined to make a good impression. He keeps his private life quiet, even from his beloved younger brother. Locke knows better than most the need to protect what’s his.
Henry resents the arrogant, gorgeous cop, and Locke thinks Henry is sheltered and spoiled. Their secret and steamy encounter only adds to the animosity. As they join forces, Henry thinks a relationship with Locke would be catastrophic, but the white-hot passion between them makes it hard to resist.
Review: This is the third book in a series from Skylar M. Cates ,and I have to admit I was looking forward to it greatly. She writes books with a great deal of humor and very good dialogue between her characters. She is also talented in fleshing out her characters, they are solid and real, and she develops the secondary characters well also. In a series you revisit previous couples, and that is fun in this book too, and one of the features of a series that I enjoy the most.
In Last Man Standing, Henry and Locke are no exception. Henry is a man in transition. He is changing his habits to be healthy and fit; he has returned home to assist his mother upon the death of his father, and so has a new job that he is doing very well in, well enough to have already been promoted. He has good friends and is out and proud; however, he does not have a positive image of himself. He thinks he is boring and not very attractive, he is tired of being the good boy his mother sees him as, and he really wants a boyfriend and a loving relationship.
Deputy Locke ended up behind a badge through a conscientious decision. He has a rough family background and has tried to be a good man as an example for his younger brother. He is strong and assertive and very attractive. Locke is a master of the hook up, avoiding relationships. He is mostly still in the closet and his outing to his brother is one of the funniest scenes in the book. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing these two men rub up against one another and develop a relationship. It’s not insta-love and the conflict between them is fun to be a part of.
A fraud investigation at Henry’s workplace is the backdrop to this story, and why Henry and Locke are pushed together. The mystery is good and there are lots of twists and red herrings, but the police procedures are weak and there was a disconnect for me. From the initial collision when Henry hit deputy Locke’s police cruiser and only got a ticket, to when Henry went to the initial meeting at the police station to set up the undercover operation, there did not seem to be a convincing feel to it. I simply didn’t feel like I was observing legitimate police activity. Perhaps it was the construct of the story or the lack of technical police details, either way Locke’s character never firmly gelled for me as a police officer. Due to this disconnect, the middle of the book felt like it didn’t flow very smoothly, and I had to concentrate to get past this to finish the book.
I will read it again. Henry and Locke are a great couple to be a fly on the wall for, I will just choose to ignore the police stuff and concentrate on the romance. Skylar does write a great romance and I truly love the dialogue she comes up with.
You can buy The Last Guy Breathing here: