Single Malt by Layla Reyne is book one of the Agents Irish and Whiskey series. FBI agent Aidan Talley is back at work after a life-altering car crash and extended absence. His new partner (smart, athletic and handsome, Jameson Walker) is a distraction that he desperately wants to ignore but can’t. However, time is running out to thwart a deadly terrorist attack and both men need to stay focused on finding their enemy. Thousands of lives, including their own, are at stake. I received one copy of Single Malt by Layla Reyne at no charge in exchange for my honest reviews but all opinions expressed here are my own.
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Single Malt by Layla Reyne
(Agents Irish and Whiskey Book 1)
Release Date: February 27, 2017
Publisher: Carina Press
Length: 194 pages/68,000 words
Praise for Single Malt by Layla Reyne:
“Sexy, smart and suspenseful – this book has it all.” –HelenKay Dimon, author of Mr. & Mr. Smith
“With sharp writing, compelling characters, and an engaging plot, Single Malt is the M/M romantic suspense series I’ve been waiting for.” — Santino Hassell, award-winning author of the FIVE BOROUGHS series
“Single Malt is full of explosive chemistry, captivating characters, and edge-of-your-seat suspense. A must read for any romantic suspense fan!” — Megan Erickson, USA Today Bestselling author
Single Malt Book Blurb:
Eight months after the car crash that changed everything, FBI agent Aidan Talley is back at work. New department, new case and a new partner. Smart, athletic and handsome, Jameson Walker is twelve years his junior. Even if Aidan was ready to move on—and he’s not—Jamie is off-limits.
Jamie’s lusted after Aidan for three years, and the chance to work with San Francisco’s top agent directly is too good to pass up. Aidan is prickly—to put it mildly—but a growing cyber threat soon proves Jamie’s skills invaluable.
Jamie’s talents paint a target on his back, and Aidan is determined to protect him. But with hack after hack threatening a high-security biocontainment facility, time is running out to thwart a deadly terrorist attack. They’ll have to filter out distractions, on the case and in their partnership, to identify the real enemy, solve the case and save thousands of lives, including their own.
Single Malt by Layla Reyne Teaser:
“Easy, Irish.” Walker removed his baseball cap and ran a hand through his hair, ruffling the flattened waves.
Walker’s blue eyes sparkled like he’d solved an impossible puzzle. “The cufflinks, the brogue in your voice that slips sometimes…” He leaned forward and Aidan fought not to react to the heady tropical scent of White Cristal cologne. “And I’ve only ever seen eyes that color on natural redheads.”
“What color is that?” Aidan asked, putting aside the fact Walker had seen through the disguise he’d worn for three decades.
“Autumn,” Walker answered, voice dropping an octave. “Like a pile of fall leaves back home, right after it rains. Dark brown swirled with brick red and flecks of gold.”
Single Malt Review:
(5 STAR REVIEW – Single Malt by Layla Reyne is a FABULOUS BOOK!)
Single Malt by Layla Reyne is book one of the Agents Irish and Whiskey series. This is the first book by this author that I have read and I can honestly say that she will be an autobuy for me from now on. This is the first part of a much larger story so while you get a wrap-up of the current plot, there are elements to the story (major elements!) that will be drawn out into the next book. I will be reading that one as quickly as I can get my hands on it!
So, basic summary of the plot: FBI agent Aiden lost his husband Gabe and partner Tom in a car accident 8 months prior to the start of the book. He is going back to work finally but is still heartbroken over the loss. He is being partnered with a new agent who is an ex-NBA star and computer genius. Jamie is 12 years younger than Aiden and being assessed for field work. There is more to their new pairing than that but you will learn as you read. There are a lot of twists and turns in the book!
Aiden and Jamie have to get to the bottom of a series of hacking attempts at a facility that houses several nasty biological agents. As they investigate the case, they are slowly succumbing to the pull between them that has nothing to do with work. Aiden fights the growing attraction, his heart isn’t ready to love again. Jaimie is compassionate and caring and completely understands Aiden’s turmoil. He doesn’t push but brings just the right amount of encouragement when needed.
Some random notes I took while I was reading to give you more of my thoughts on the story:
You start the story 8 months after Aiden’s loss. You get enough info in the first chapter to understand the basics of who died and who was left behind but there is clearly much more to the story and it is intriguing.
Both characters are intriguing. Jamie is a past basketball superstar who is apparently brilliant with computer and cars. He is gay but not fully out and Aidan has no clue at first. He is a little bit cocky but also quick to blush and the whole package is just the right blend of sexy and adorable.
Aidan is the experienced FBI agent but is trying to recover from the loss of his husband and partner in a car accident 8 months previous. An accident that was not actually an accident after all. He is hurt and cautious and guards his heart fiercely. He is confident at work but is really just going through motions…he lost his heart and is afraid to risk it again.
These two seem to have an automatic camaraderie between them with the occasional hint of awkwardness and misunderstanding. It is realistic…no manufactured drama at all. They have this undeniable tug between them. Aiden is held back by heartbreak and guilt and trying to do the right thing. And Walker is just trying to make Aiden’s choices easier for him. There is not a lot of romance for a lot of the book but there is clearly emotion and attraction between these guys. At about 75% of the book, they had only one brief kiss. You do get more heat and passion in the last 25% of the book but it isn’t the major focus of the story. When they do get together, the chemistry is amazing and it is just the right blend of needy, hot, romantic, sweet, and downright passionate.
I like that there are multiple layers to this story. In the beginning of the book, they have their everyday cases, life, etc. and you have their developing relationship. They have to work after hours on the most important case of all…they mystery of that accident that cost Aiden so much. This case has to be kept off the record and is a small part of the overall story. Aiden and Jamie have a major terrorist event to prevent! But, the additional plot line makes for a well rounded and in depth story.
The author goes into just the right amount of detail about hacking, computer security measures, BSL 4 containment labs, bioterrorism, etc. Enough details that it makes the story believable without it becoming dull facts and technical data. There was obviously a lot of research done for this story. Cyber crime is not boring…there is plenty of action to keep the story going! This is an incredibly intriguing plot. I had no clue who the bad guy could be and was really looking forward to seeing how the author wrapped up the story. I kept turning page after page to unravel all the plot twists she expertly created. The author does a great job of giving you tidbits of the plot and a few of the bad guys without giving away everything as you move close to the end of the story. Seriously, I was holding my breath during the critical scene at the end. Intense!
Family plays a big role in this story. All of the characters have strong family bonds and you get to see that tender, caring side of each main character when they talk about and/or interact with their family members. Great development of secondary characters and there are several that I would love to see have their own books!
The end of the book isn’t the end of the story. There is more to come in the following books and I honestly cannot wait to read every single one. This was a 5 star read with an amazingly well thought out and realistic plot. The romance and heat were there but part of the background, letting the plot take center stage. While they wrapped up the bioterrorism plot, the underlying story of Aiden’s accident 8 months ago still needs to be figured out and Aiden and Tom will stay on as partners to dig into it deeper. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!
About the Author:
2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist, Layla Reyne, was raised in North Carolina but now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline fueled suspense and heart-pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.