Book: Smoke & Mirrors
Series: THIRDS (Book 7)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication date: July 8, 2016
Length: 279 pages
Reviewed by Erin
Life for Dexter J. Daley has never been easy, but he’s always found a way to pick himself back up with a smile on his face. Taken from his home, and the arms of his boyfriend and THIRDS partner, Sloane Brodie, Dex finds himself in a situation as mysterious and lethal as the Therian interrogating him. Dex learns what he’s secretly believed all along: his parents’ death wasn’t an accident.
Discovering the whole truth about John and Gina Daley’s homicide sets off a series of events that will change Dex and Sloane’s lives forever. As buried secrets rise to the surface and new truths are revealed, Dex and Sloane’s love for each other is put to the test, with more than their relationship on the line. If traversing the waters of murder and secret government agencies wasn’t enough, something inexplicable has been happening to Dex—and nothing will ever be the same.
I don't think it needs to be said that readers of Charlie Cochet's brilliant and entertaining THIRDS series have been desperately waiting for book 7. Talk about understatement of the year, huh? I mean, when we left our beloved Dex and Sloane and the rest of the Destructive Delta team at the end of Catch a Tiger by the Tail, Dex had been taken, Sloane was beside himself with worry and anger and the rest were bewildered and ready to do whatever it took to get Dex back. And in case you didn't know already, Smoke and Mirrors is NOT a standalone novel. It picks up immediately after book 6, with all the players and plot lines firmly in place so if you find yourself intrigued by the FABULOUS cover and blurb and haven't delved into the world of humans and Therians, then you need to start at the beginning.
With that being said, there isn't very much I can tell you that won't spoil this exciting, gripping, and completely enthralling book. And believe me folks, you want to do whatever you can to keep yourself spoiler free. Of all the books so far in the series, this one is beyond a doubt my favorite. It could be because SO many questions have been answered (but not all, so don't fear, there has to be more coming!). Or it could be, in true Charlie Cochet fashion and talent, Smoke and Mirrors is like a big budget action movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. It could also be because there were so many twists and turns, things I didn't see coming that I was constantly being surprised. Though, for me, while all the action and drama was gripping, and I thoroughly love and enjoy the team dynamic and all the members, it was Sloane and Dex that captured my heart and didn't let go. These two, man. I was SO happy to get back to Dex and Sloane. Yeah, they were present in books 5 and 6, but here, in Smoke and Mirrors, we finally get to see them really and truly together. They're adjusting to Sloane's marking of Dex, and all that entails. They're settling into their life as a couple living together. These two are not perfect. I got annoyed at Sloane more than a few times, and Dex, while he's as endearing and sweet as ever, he has his faults as well. But oh god, these two together are what every romance couple should be. Hot, intense and passionate, totally committed to each other, willing to work to make things right when one (*ahem, Sloane*) makes a mistake, and so in love you can feel it jump off the page.
Dex’s voice was so low that Sloane wouldn’t have heard him if the room hadn’t been silent.
“I’m here, sweetheart.” Sloane’s voice was hoarse, his eyes hurt, and his chest burned, but he was relieved. Dex trembled in his arms, and Sloane wrapped his legs around him, drawing him in closer against him, offering his body heat. Before he’d been burning up; now he was cold.
Dex looked up at him, but it was as if he couldn’t see Sloane. As if were in some kind of daze. Sloane’s hand was shaking when he placed it to Dex’s cheek. His body temperature appeared to be getting back to normal, and quickly.
“What did I say about those gray hairs?” Sloane tried to smile, but Dex’s weak laugh almost broke him. He buried his face in Dex’s hair and tried to find strength in the man he loved. Dex needed him to be strong.
“Tired,” Dex said weakly.
“I know.” Sloane kissed Dex’s cheek. “Close your eyes. I’ve got you.”
“Don’t let go.”
Smoke and Mirrors has a bit of everything that makes a perfect book. Sharp, clean writing, a pace that moves frenetically, but doesn't leave anything out, dialog that's both witty and emotional, humor and sex, but not too much of either. Characters that provoke strong emotions (and trust me when I say there are plenty of times your emotions will go through the ringer!) A plot that's as entertaining as it is suspenseful. And yeah, we can't forget the scorching sex scenes because Dex and Sloane are just ... *fans self* This book was pure enjoyment from the very first page until the last. Bonus for lots of Hudson and Seb, too! Smoke and Mirrors is a roller coaster people, so strap in and get ready for one hell of a ride!
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