Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ★★★★★
Caesar Romano’s catering career is doing better than he’d ever dreamed. And so is his love life—even if his boyfriend’s house in Staten Island is way too far from civilization for his liking. But then in short order, Caesar is duped into helping his cousin propose, is tricked by his best friend and business partner into appearing on live television, and is harassed by a thug-like personal trainer and his far too beautiful wife. In fact, Caesar is almost too busy to notice that something is troubling his PI boyfriend, Dan Albright.
Laid-back, open, charming—that’s the impression hunky former NYPD Detective Dan Albright gives everyone. Caesar can add sexually adventurous and a bit of an exhibitionist. But he also knows that Dan is hiding something—something dark and a little dangerous—and when Dan’s silence over his mysterious past threatens to harm them both, it’s Caesar’s turn to save the day.
But then again, a break-in, a gallery party, an heirloom ring, a new suit, and a stalker with bad BO are all just a typical week for Caesar Romano.
In 2010, L. B. Gregg released a story, Catch Me If You Can (Romano and Albright, #1) which introduced me and so many other readers to Caesar Romano and P.I. Dan Albright. And I fell in love. The second novel, also 2010, saw that love affair deepen and become an addiction.
Then the stories stopped.
But I was hopeful. And patient. Now I’ve finally been rewarded along with all the other fans of this author and amazing series. Romano and Albright are back and better than ever!
We dive right back into confirmed city dweller Caesar’s life. He’s out on Staten Island, staying in boyfriend Dan’s house.
“Sunshine poured into the kitchen, warming a row of spiny potted herbs on the windowsill. Outside, the neat suburban backyard burst with green shrubbery and midsummer flowers. A plump gray bird sat on the clothesline and a squirrel frolicked in the grass, both a reminder that I needed to get the hell back to the city because honest to God, it was like the country out there.”
Yep, nothing suits Caesar so well as the smell of the city and the congested, exuberant life he leads there. To him, the quiet of a Staten Island neighborhood screams country, even though his beloved city is with well within eyesight. From that wonderful start, L.B. Gregg’s lively, snarky narrative takes off, her dialogs a perfect match for each and every one of her memorable characters. A mystery popped up almost immediately (this is Caesar and Dan) and we are off on another case and misadventure. I was grinning from the very beginning in anticipation and L. B. Gregg didn’t let me down!
Dan’s personal background has always been a bit of a question for Caesar (and the readers). Some of those are answered here. I had to double check the timeline and it appears its still been about 6 months since the first time they met, so that feels about right in a relationship still working on its foundation. The author’s characterizations are so good, her plots so well thought out, that everything just comes together just as it should. We know that Dan and Caesar belong together…no matter how scary it gets. And yes, it can get plenty scary here. But the action and suspense never overwhelms the relationship between Caesar and Dan, or any of the other interpersonal ties going on at the moment. Plenty of those too. The connections here are all about the family.
New York City and its neighborhoods is easily not just a setting but a character all of its own. Gregg’s familiarity with each borough and their unique “feel” gives this book another layer to flavor. This also carries over to Gregg’s characters, all of the Romano family (and they are many and varied) to the Albright upright clan and everyone in between. Lots and lots of in between. His cousin Joey and Caesar’s business partner, Poppy, uncles Tino and Vito, among the large and hugely entertaining cast. How I love them all.
But the heart of the series and this story will always be Caesar and Dan, a relationship that continues to flourish and grow. Here Caesar makes enormous emotional strides forward…even if it comes at the end.
I whipped through this story because I was starved for it, then started through once again. It got even better the second time around. I’m not sure I would call this a standalone. I’m sure you could read it that way but why would you? Don’t you want to see how it all started? Watch Caesar meet Dan, watch Dan loosen up Caesar more than a little? Watch Dan (a ex NYPD Detective) meet the huge Romano family whose connection to the law is somewhat loose and shaky? The humor in these novels will have you laughing out loud in places. Romano and Albright! A couple that sexy, intelligent, fun and full of action in the best sense of the word. What more could you want?
I highly recommend this story and all in the series. Now begins the wait for the next story. I can be patient. I know it will be worth the wait.
Cover art by L. C. Chase is absolutely perfect. Whether its Joey or Caesar (they look almost identical). Chase has them down.
ebook, 264 pages
Expected publication: December 7th 2015 by Riptide Publishing
original titleWith This Bling
Series Romano and Albright