Catch a Ghost (Hell or High Water #1) by SE Jakes

18401909Title: Catch a Ghost
Author: S.E. Jakes
Length: 254 Pages
Genre: Romance
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Heat Level: 5Scorching
Overall Rating: 5h5 Perfect hearts

Synopsis:  Everyone knows that Prophet—former Navy SEAL, former CIA spook, full-time pain in the ass—works alone and thinks only about the trouble he can cause. But his boss, Phil Butler of Extreme Escapes, LTD., has just assigned Proph not only a new partner but also a case haunted by ghosts from Proph’s past. Suddenly, he’s got to confront them both head on.

Tom Boudreaux—failed FBI agent, failed sheriff, full time believer in bad luck—is wondering why the head of a private contracting firm has hunted him down to offer him a job. Still he’s determined to succeed this time, despite being partnered with Prophet, EE, LTD’s most successful, lethal, and annoying operative, and even though the case is also resurrecting his own painful past.

Together, Prophet and Tom must find a way to take down killers in the dangerous world of underground cage matches, while fighting their own dangerous attraction. And when they find themselves caught in the crossfire, these two loners are forced to trust each other and work together to escape their ghosts . . . or pay the price.

Review: I loved the hell out of this book. It’s no secret that I love damaged boys and I tend to focus on characters and emotions more than the story itself at times. But in this one, both were excellent. It was Sexy, Snarky and Sad. Two broken men are thrown together only to find that the closer they become, the more their pasts threaten to strangle them because they begin to remember what it was like to feel. And with those feelings, comes every nightmare from their past that they forced themselves to forget. It was easier than dealing with them.

They both work for a company called Extreme Escapes, Ltd., (EE) as mercs for hire. They help when and wherever they’re needed, regardless of the danger or mission.

Prophet is a lethal ex-Special Forces/CIA operative with a shitload of issues. Scarred by war, captivity and his own personal demons, he’s never let anyone close since he lost his best friend and lover after they were captured a decade ago.

“Why do you push everyone away?”
“Because I’m a highly damaged individual with psychotic tendencies?”

I loved Proph. He copes through humor. His snark comes out when he’s off balance. And Tom’s able to throw him off like no one else. Add to that a murder that is somehow connected to his past and Prophet slowly begins to unravel, drowning in flashbacks until he’s unable to tell what’s real and what isn’t.

Tom is an ex FBI Agent who’s plagued by too many deaths at his hands – or so he believes. Overwhelmed by guilt, he feels he’s cursed and worthless, unable to trust that he can protect his partners until he’s given what is probably his last chance by EE Ltd. And despite this, he’s still drawn to Proph – even if his presence might get him killed he can’t make himself stay away.

There’s a quiet vulnerability to both of them that just breaks my heart. I wanted so much to ‘fix’ them, make them happy. The times that they were together and were able to let go for just a little while, made those moments so much sweeter.

“It was like trying to balance in quicksand – in the end, it was easier to give up and let yourself get pulled under.”

I kinda wanted to wrap myself up in those moments and not let go, because like Proph & Tom, I knew something bad was coming to take it all away.

Initially, this book reminded me very much of Cut & Run (probably because I just reread it last week). And on a very basic level, the relationship between Prophet and Tom still does. Their annoyance at being saddled with a new partner grew to respect, and then that grew to something deeper that neither was willing to admit. Watching that develop felt real and earned and refreshing in the wake of an instalove trend that I keep, unknowingly, falling into lately.

Still, with all that, they still fight against it and each other. And we’re left not knowing how it will turn out.

So, while we may not know what’s to come for them, I do know that I will definitely be reading the sequel when it comes out next month. This was a new author for me and well worth the read. The characters were well drawn, (I didn’t even seem to care that the whole company appeared gay as I was reading) even the secondary ones and the story engaging – I literally could not put it down.

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