Title: Bulletproof (A Matter of Time #5)
Author: Mary Calmes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Jory Harcourt, Sam Kage
POV: 1st Person
Sub-Genre: Crime Drama/Contemporary Romance
Jory Harcourt doesn’t have to go looking for trouble. Wherever he goes, it seems to find him—particularly when his partner, Sam Kage, is working undercover on a federal task force.
After the recession forces him to close his business, Jory goes to work as a matchmaker and event planner. From there, it’s only a matter of time before his big mouth and up-front attitude make him the rope in a tug-of-war between a trust fund baby and a drug-smuggling criminal. Then, as if that situation weren’t delicate enough, Jory’s undercover lover shows up working for the smuggler.
Between the men who want him and the men who just want him dead, Chicago is getting a little crowded for Jory, so on the advice of his brother, his boyfriend, and the FBI task force, he heads for Hawaii… where a serious accident threatens his quality of life. Can Sam and Jory keep the faith and prove that their relationship really is bulletproof?
Jory Harcourt and Sam Kage are back in Bulletproof, the fifth—and final?—chapter in the “A Matter of Time” series, in which Sam finds himself deeply embedded in an undercover sting, and Jory finds himself questioning his husband’s commitment to him and their relationship after a four month separation has left the demon of doubt gnawing at Jory’s mind and heart, wondering if Sam’s extended absence and silence is his way of disconnecting from their partnership.
Detective Sam Kage is a complex man. When he’s working, he’s whoever he needs to be at the moment, which, in this current case, has absolutely nothing to do with being Jory’s partner and everything to do with being Jason Bradley, the man who needs to work his way into the inner circle of drugs and arms dealer, Cristo Liron. Being Jason is easy for Sam because no Jory exists for him. Being Sam Kage, however, is the far more difficult of the two, because for Sam, Jory is everything. The moment their eyes meet after their months of separation, Jason is in deep trouble because everything Sam is calls out to the man who owns him, heart and soul.
Three years have passed since Jory and Sam married, but a ring on Jory’s finger only serves to remind him of how much he misses his husband, who’s working with the Feds to put Cristo out of business. Liron’s not the kind of man you want to have as an enemy. He’s not exactly the kind of man you want to have as a friend either, but Jory manages to gain the criminal’s attention when he saves Cristo’s brother Eddie from a long and deadly drop to the pavement. That bit in the blurb about Jory not having to look for trouble because trouble always finds him? So. True. Jory’s had a long line of men who’ve wanted to possess him over the years; that hasn’t changed in Bulletproof. Cristo Liron has just taken a number, and he wants to cut directly to the front of that line. The man wants Jory. Badly. And he doesn’t take kindly to rejection.
Jory’s uncanny knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time hasn’t improved with age, illustrated by the fact that he finds himself at a party with Cristo, a party he’s at not five minutes before he looks up and sees Sam playing the role of Liron inside man, to the hilt; no wedding ring in sight and a woman draped over him. It’s a do or die moment for both of them, knowing that Sam’s cover could be blown with one wrong move, one wrong word, a single glance, and doing so would prove fatal for both of them. But if there’s one thing Jory is, it’s cool under pressure. Whether running from killers or staring down a ruthless criminal, he always manages to engage the hemisphere of his brain that thinks clearly, even in the deadliest of situations, and does so with precision timing. And where Jory is concerned, those potentially deadly situations seem to pop up everywhere.
One look at Jory, and it doesn’t take long before Sam’s desire to be with his man overwhelms his need to remain fully immersed in his mission. It’s a risk he knows he shouldn’t take, but it becomes imperative for Sam to reassure his partner that there is nowhere else he’d rather be than home, not at the place he considers home but with the person who is Sam’s refuge.
Things get hairy, and more than a little bit scary, when Jory rejects Liron and the man becomes suspicious that Jason Bradley isn’t who he says he is. Jory’s quick thinking again defuses the situation, but not before Sam pays a hefty price, and not before Jory goes a bit too far to prove Cristo wrong.
A quick exit is the only way Sam and Dane Harcourt see to keep Jory safe, and the farthest place they can think of to send him quickly and easily is Hawaii. But this is Jory Harcourt we’re talking about, after all; trouble would follow him to the ends of the earth and back. And it’s not only Cristo Liron who’s determined to cause issues for Jory—trouble will always find him, it’s just a matter of differing degrees. Liron’s merely the only one who wants to see Jory dead.
The Grim Reaper and Jory become far too intimate this time around; Death does not become him, not in the very least. And “bulletproof”? That’s very much just a figure of speech that brings till death do us part a bit too close for comfort. But now there is no running away. There is no leaving for each other’s own good. There is no more undercover work that will take Sam away from Jory. There is only staying and loving and supporting and planning for a future that will bring them so far from where they began.
Mary Calmes has taken this series and these characters on a fully evolved journey, from the first anxious days of Sam’s denial of Jory and his feelings to the final moments in Bulletproof, to a time and place when Sam knows that life would mean little if Jory weren’t there to share it with.
Dr. Seuss once said, “don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.” I hope Mary won’t mind if I do a little bit of both.
Reviewed By: Lisa