Review: Prevailing Winds (Separate Ways #4) by Laura Harner

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

PrevailingWinds8x12“Please don’t go.”

Words that would haunt Lord Jamie Mainwaring long after he boarded the plane departing Phoenix, Arizona.  After the deaths and destruction of the past events, Jamie feels that leaving is his only recourse, even if it means leaving once more the man he loves, Det. Remy Remington.  Jamie watched Remy’s mouth form those words at the airport as he went through the doors to get on the plane.  But it  was too late for them  and for the love that had followed them across oceans and continents for the last two years.

Brokenhearted and grieving, Remy watches Jamie leave him once more.  But returning home, he finds that Jamie isn’t the only person leaving him.  Toby is confused, shattered and angry…at Remy and the world.  Toby flees his home and safety looking for answers to his past.  What Toby finds in Las Vegas is nothing but trouble,

Fate has a way of pulling Jamie and Remy back together.  Jamie’s is asked to get involved in one more case for the British special agency he used to work for.  Remy leaves home looking for Toby and both paths intersect in Las Vegas where a corrupt prince, the lost boys from London, and Toby are intertwined in a mess of abuse, pain and potential death.   Jamie and Remy must put all their past issues aside and come together to find and rescue Toby before the prince can destroy them all.  Will Remy and Jamie finally prevail and find a future together for them as a family?  Or will the coming storm destroy them once and for all?

Prevailing Winds, the Separate Ways series finale, is that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the icing on the cake and the cherries on top of the sundae!  This is the story that is the salve for the wounds left behind by the tumultuous events and anguish of the last three books and I couldn’t be happier.   For three bloody, suspense filled, painfully frustrating stories, Laura Harner has been developing her rollercoaster ride of a relationship between Lord Jamie Mainwaring and Det. Remy Remington.

From the moment they connected in London over missing boys, to the betrayals on the ocean cruise and the devastation of the events in Phoenix, the relationship dynamics between these two has been fascinating to watch as the men connected, fled, reconnected, and separated again and again.  What has made it so endlessly addicting is that we understood why the separations had to happen, the mental and emotional changes each character had to undergo in order to make a relationship (any relationship) work, and all the obstacles that life and their jobs as well as nationalities placed in their paths.  It wasn’t just one thing that kept them apart….but a boatload.  Harner carefully built up wall after wall between these two wonderful characters. Walls made up of Remy and Jamie’s childhood issues and abuse, requirements of their individual jobs, and even personal outlook on long term relationships and ties.  Throughout each story we waited for the barriers to start to fall.  And they would start breaking down, a few bricks here and there.  Only for us to watch the walls firm up again at the end of each story.  Frustrating, authentic, and it made great reading.

And as skillfully as Harner built up those barriers, then she had to slowly and realistically break them down.  And that took time.  And three, no four books to accomplish that because Remy and Jamie are still working on their problems and expectations for each other and a long term partnership well into Prevailing Winds.   This time, its Toby on the run and Remy following in his wake.  And their paths intersect with Jamie on a mission in Las Vegas.

The point of view flows back and forth between Toby and Remy and Jamie.  Toby’s scary predicament is heightened by this format as the danger increases the deeper the investigation goes and the closer the men get to finding Toby.  Gut wrenching at times, the anticipation is overwhelming towards the end as we rush towards the denouement!  Plus there’s not just one, but several here. Loved this part of the story.  In fact, loved it all!  So will you.

The writing is taut, smooth and fluid. The plot’s mechanisms are lovingly orchestrated for maximum excitement and anticipation.  Oh, and for our total satisfaction as well.  But you must read these stories in the order they were written, in order for the character development and situations to make sense.

This is one heck of a series and a great way to end it!  Love the book, love the characters, and Las Vegas was the perfect place to bring it all to a head!

I highly recommend this story and series to all lovers of action, adventure and a long denied romance that finds it’s happily ever after!

 

Buy Links:              All Romance eBooks (ARe)            Amazon    Prevailing Winds 

Cover Art by Laura Harner. This cover is very different in design from the other three but it works great for the story.

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 198 pages
Published July 23rd 2014 by Hot Corner Press
ASINB00M3AV0YA
edition language English
url http://lauraharner.com/series/separate_ways_series/
seriesSeparate Ways #4

Separate Ways Series in the order they were written and should be read:

Continental Divide by Laura Harner and Lisa Worrell
Oceans Apart (Separate Ways #2) by Laura Harner
Moving Mountains (Separate Ways #3) by Laura Harner
Prevailing Winds (Separate Ways #4) by Laura Harner

Review: Oceans Apart (Separate Ways #2) by Laura Harner

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Oceans Apart coverTwo years after the events in London, Detective Remy Remington has returned to Phoenix, along with his friend, former cop Miguel “Miggy” Rojas.  Miggy needed to get clean after years undercover saw him hooked on drugs. Remy was needed to support his old friend and did so by leaving the Phoenix PD, and with Miggy as a partner, started their own detective agency.  When  their  biggest client sends them a diamond dealer in need of security for a huge diamond sale, the men quickly agree.  But there are several twists to this delivery starting with the fact that it is to be made on board a gay Caribbean cruise the diamond merchant is sailing on. Remy and Miggy will be going undercover as a couple on a cruise that advertises clothing optional and Miggy is straight, isn’t he?

Lord Jamie Mainwaring and his partner Special Agent Ryan Whiteside are investigating high seas piracy for Interpol. Their case leads them to a gay Caribbean cruise, a ship that just happens to be the same ocean liner where Miggy and Remy are supervising the diamond transfer.  Going undercover as a gay couple isn’t a problem for Jamie and Ryan as they are already romantically involved.  The surprise will be the couple already on board, one half of whom Jamie still  loves deeply even after two years apart.

Four men, two couples, a complicated past history, and soon the lines of investigation and romance are blurring into trouble.  Dangers are everywhere, both emotional and professional.  And someone will pay the ultimate cost before the cruise is over.

Intense, surprising, and over the top fantastic.  Those are just a few of the words I would use to describe Oceans Apart, the second story in the Separate Ways series by Laura Harner.  As mentioned, this story takes place two years after the combined investigation into slavery case in London where Jamie and Remy met.  Both men have picked up their lives.  Remy more so than Jamie who still mourns the loss of Remy and their love for each other.  Laura Harner alternates the point of view as the reader is given glimpses into each man’s  life since London and their journey to a new reality for them both.

It is clear that Remy has moved on more successfully from the events and emotions in London.  Together with a Miggy in recovery, Remy has emerged as a different man than the one we met in London.  Harner has deepened and matured her characterization of Remy in Oceans Apart.  The two years have realistically reformed Remy into a person who has accepted new responsibilities as well as the prospect of family and a new romance.   I loved this new Remy.  His new maturity and openness is not only appealing but allows his character to widen his outlook on life and his future.  Miggy Rojas has figured greatly into that transformation.  What a great new character and what a set of complications he brings to the series.  Miggy lives with Remy, he is his partner in the business they started and together they found one of the young men they rescued in the aftermath of London and adopted him thereby forming a family.  That young man, Toby, also brought another satisfactory element to this story as I had wanted to know what happened to him in London.  This story supplied that answer in a way that made me deeply happy.  Everything about the Phoenix group feels real.  It’s messy, complicated, funny, and down to earth.  I loved all of them.  And so of course, their happiness made me fear for the future.

Less content, feeling dissatisfied in his life in almost every way is Lord Jamie Mainwaring. He has rebounded in his mother’s affections and the regard of London society.  He is in a romantic relationship with his partner Ryan Whiteside and feeling successful at his profession.  And Jamie is deeply unhappy.  Jamie’s character is one that if not given depth and insight would come across as whinny and ungrateful for his position as a wealthy lord with a mother who adores him and a partner in love as well as business.  But Harner’s characterization invites understanding and compassion for Jamie in his current reality.  Jamie is that person who realizes that he let the love of  his life get away without trying to stop him.  His current romance is lacking, at least on his side and his return to his duties to his mother and society are as underwhelming as they were to begin with.  I think readers will relate to Jamie as almost everyone has been at this point in their life where everything is off and the path to change is uncertain.

Harner then takes  all four men and throws them into the deep, professionally, emotionally and of course, romantically.  The reader, of course, knows the men are on the same ship before they do which ramps up our anticipation of that moment of discovery.  And from that instant on, the author’s plot takes off running, leaping, swimming, a constant motion of frenzied action, unexpected developments and heart racing suspense and anxiety for the men we have come to care for.  Harner’s narrative provides both a complicated, ever-twisting plot while making her characters even more realistic, especially given the events that occur on and off the cruise.   The story is fast paced, smooth, and action packed. Towards the end as all the secrets start to come out the story becomes unrelenting in the turmoil it creates.  It’s white knuckled action all the way to the shocking denouement.  What an outstanding ride!

Is this a romance?  Hmmm, sort of.  It is called Separate Ways for a reason.  The romance between Remy and Jamie is going to be a long, drawn out affair, despite the white hot beginning.  They parted for a reason, one that remains valid here in this story.  Jamie’s world is England.  Remy’s is in Phoenix and there is not valid, logical way for them to be together now.  Harner understands the complications of each man’s life as well as their priorities and her series reflects that.  Life has a way of intruding no matter what we may want to happen.  The humor, the sadness, and the unexpected elements that arise to throw these men off course.  I love the authenticity of this series from the heartrending moments to those of quiet joy.

Harner has at least four books planned for this series.  Three are out now with the fourth to be released 2014.  If the first two stories are any indication, its going to be a “wild and bumpy” ride, albeit an outstanding one.  It hasn’t disappointed me so far.  I love all the characters and the twists that keep appearing.  I can’t wait for more.  Follow me to the next one Moving Mountains (Separate Way #3).

If you are new to the series, go back to the beginning Continental Divide and start there, a must to understand these men and the events that occur.  Catch up with us and settle in for an astounding ride, fraught with emotional fissures and hot sexy men.  Consider this one of Scattered Thoughts Best of 2013 series and one I highly recommend.

Books in the Separate Ways series in the order they were written and should be read are:

Continental Divide (Separate Ways #1) written by Laura Harner, Lisa Worrall
Oceans Apart (Separate Ways #2) written by Laura Harner
Moving Mountains (Separate Ways #3) written by Laura Harner
Untitled Fourth Book coming in April 2014

Cover art by Laura Harner.

Buy links:  Amazon, ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published October 19th 2012 by Hot Corner Press
ISBN13 9781937252298
edition language English

Mid December Thoughts and The Week Ahead in Reviews

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Winter trees longs

It is mid-December and the end of 2013 is only weeks away.  So many people are still rushing around, making last minute trip preparations, fixing the holiday menus or getting gifts for those you love.  This year I find myself just so grateful to have my Dad still with us, after suffering a huge illness and operation.  My mother has stayed by his side, sleeping in chairs and wherever possible, in the hospital or rehab center.  For all their years together this has been the most they have ever been apart.  And now Dad is back home where he belongs, just in time for the holidays and his birthday.  Never have I felt so happy to be able to write those words.  Dad’s recovery and homecoming are all that I or anyone in my family  want or need for Christmas.  We have been given the best gift of all and we know it.  And are so grateful.

But there are so many others out there right now that need our thoughts, and if you are religious, our prayers for them and their loved ones.  And maybe something more, a little assistance if you are able.  LGBTQ Youth Shelters need our financial assistance, especially in the winter, when the cold drives so many inside in need of beds, food, and emotional support.

And if you love or have been touched by the books of Eric Arvin or TJ Klune or the men themselves, you may not be aware that Eric is ill and they could use our help and thoughts.  There is a fund set up to help Eric and his family offset the cost of his medical bills.  That is listed below as well as the links to the LGBTQ Youth Shelters. The holidays are a time of  love and giving, to all of those we are connected to by blood and by choice, and by need:

And now for the week ahead in reviews:

Monday, Dec. 16             Christmas Serendipity by Liam Livings

Tuesday, Dec. 17:            The Brothers Grime: Eddie by Z.A. Maxfield

Wed., Dec. 18:                  Model Love by S.J. Frost

Thurs, Dec. 19:                 Kick Start by Josh Lanyon

Friday, Dec. 20:              Christmas Guest Blog at Andrew Q. Gordon’s

Sat., Dec. 21:                    Oceans Apart by Laura Harner

Review: Continental Divide (Separate Ways #1) by Laura Harner and Lisa Worrall

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Continental Divide coverBumped to Missing Persons after an argument with his Captain months prior over a case he solved,  Phoenix PD Det. Remy Remington knew he was onto something big when he discovered that his latest missing persons report for a young boy was just one of 6 young men to have disappeared in the Phoenix area recently.  Although the boys had been reported as runaways, the details and timing of the disappearances made Remy’s cop instincts twinge and not in a good way.  Not trusting his Captain after past events, Remy starts to dig deeper on his own into accounts of missing boys elsewhere in the nation and comes to the attention of  an international squad already deep into the same investigation.  One phone call later and Remy finds himself on the way to London and a case that will change his life forever.

In London, Inspector Jamie Mainwaring is looking at the cases of 6 young men who have disappeared in the London area in recent weeks and immediately he knows something is terribly wrong.  As he starts to research the disappearances of young men in other areas, his computer searches send out a signal to a special branch of Interpol and soon Jamie finds himself assigned to Interpol who needs Jamie’s name as Lord Mainwaring as much as they do his skill as an inspector who spotted the pattern.

Remy and Jamie must find a way to work together even as their personalities and social status serve to drive them apart…at least at first.  The men find their attraction to each other growing stronger as their case gets larger and more evil in scope.  Soon it’s a race against time to recover the boys and solve the case, before the criminals and the boys disappear from England.  When it all comes down to culture and cowboys, can the two mesh their approaches and put aside their feelings to catch the criminals and bring the boys safely home?

I was introduced to Laura Harner through the Pulp Friction group and loved her Triple Threat series .  So I was really looking forward to the Separate Ways series and I have not been disappointed.  Continental Divide,written with Lisa Worrall, marks the start of a tumultuous relationship between American Remy Remington and British Lord Jamie Mainwarring (that’s Mannering to us in the US).  And how diametrically opposite these two characters are.  Remy, the Phoenix PD Detective,  is all brash cowboy in outlook and approach.  He likes working alone as his dark past has taught him little about trust and working with others.  Only his high solve rate and intelligence have kept him on the force to date and that’s about to change.  Remy is quite the dark character and this case only makes things worse, from old nightmares reappearing to being a “fish out of water” after landing in London with a partner he underestimates from the start.  Remy is someone people are afraid of at first meeting and later afraid for when they get to know him, an absolutely wonderful characterization.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Jamie Tristen Mainwarring, forty-second Earl of Fordham, and to his mother’s dismay and disapproval, an Inspector at Scotland Yard.  Under constant pressure by his high-powered and influential mother, Lady Mainwarring, to marry, settle down and run the estate, Jamie has persisted in going his own way.  That includes being out about his sexuality and becoming an Inspector.   Cultured, intelligent, and loyal, Jamie goes out of his way to avoid conflict with his mother while still trying to be his own man away in London, a balancing act he is not always successful at.  He’s also very pretty and that combined with all his other titles and characteristics lead Remy to underestimate him and his skills as a police officer.  It might take the reader a little longer to relate to Jamie given his social status and attitude towards his overbearing mother.  But once the reader accepts Jamie, then the man works his way into the reader’s affections never to leave.

It’s that clash of cultures and backgrounds that ignites first an attraction and then love that is so realistic, so believable that it hurts. It is so easy to see how that rough, gruff American cowboy with his boots and well worn jeans  manages to attract the urbane and civilized Lord Jamie.  Jamie has never met someone like Remy before and the authors show us how completely Jamie is unseated by someone outside his social range who never “fawns” over him as others normally do.  Of course, the flip side to all this is Remy with a background of child abuse so dark and so horrific that you almost bleed for the man the more his pain filled past is revealed.

Tying the men together is a case so chilling, so appalling that you will feel a bit nauseated as the case unfurls.  I think one of the things that makes this case so dreadful are the recent articles on sexual slavery world wide that are appearing in the media.  Harner and Worrall get it right. The authors steadily increase the anxiety and dread the readers are feeling as more details about the boys situation come to light and the race to rescue them unfolds across a London background.  Another element I appreciated, while hating the authenticity of it, is that the authors understand and chronicle the reality that nothing will ever be the same for the rescued boys. That those boys that were found are profoundly damaged and will require long term psychological and emotional help if they are to even make a semblance of recovery.  Too often I have seen this aspect of abuse glossed over and I was happy to see this issue treated so responsibly.

Now about that romance.  Yes, there is one, a romance as complex and intense as the men themselves.  It is also one that can’t last, at least at the moment.  That is just not realistic considering each man’s responsibilities and continent of residence. Note that the series is called Separate Ways and is four books long and that will tell you volumes about what is in store for Remy and Jamie.  This is a love that has a long path to travel before the men can be together or at least I am assuming that ending.  We won’t know for sure until Spring of 2014 when the final story in the series is released.   Is it worth the journey you will take with them?  Absolutely!  These men are going to tear you apart, make you bawl gallons of tears, shock you and make you laugh as well as shout in anger.  I have done all that and more and still find myself breathless in anticipation for that last story.

The only reason this story did not rate a 5 rating is because I know what’s coming.  Harner is taking this series to  even greater heights with Oceans Apart and Moving Mountains.  Trust me, it just gets better and better, deepening in complexity while changing and widening the relationships of Jamie and Remy as their saga continues.  So consider Continental Divide a solid, compelling foundation for the suspense and gripping stories to come.  I highly recommend this book, this series and these terrific authors who told it so well.  Follow me over to the next in the series, Oceans Apart (Separate Ways #2). You won’t be sorry, shocked, angered even, but not even remotely sorry!

Books in the Separate Ways series in the order they were written and should be read are:

Continental Divide (Separate Ways #1) written by Laura Harner, Lisa Worrall
Oceans Apart (Separate Ways #2) written by Laura Harner
Moving Mountains (Separate Ways #3) written by Laura Harner
Untitled Fourth Book coming in April 2014

Book Details:

ebook, 225 pages
Published March 9th 2012 by Hot Corner Press (first published 2012)
original title Continental Divide
ISBN13 9781937252120
edition language English
series Separate Ways