Monday, 3 September 2012

Winter's Knight (New Amsterdam #2), Kelly Wyre and H J Raine

I loved revisiting New Amsterdam. Another great read from this duo.

- Review by Kazza K

Lucian Gray was a secondary character in Hearts Under Fire, Clark and Daniel’s book. He is Hendrick Gray's son; the rather corrupt Mayor of New Amsterdam and, while Lucian plays rough himself, he does so with an eye on making New Amsterdam a better place. He also has a strong sense of loyalty to those he calls friends and the underdog. Clark and Daniel make appearances in book 2 and I loved seeing them, particularly Clark. 

There are a few devices driving Winter’s Knight, Lucian Gray’s desire to solve some rather nasty murders going on in his town, closing down a shady BDSM club, Haze, and getting back in touch with the only man to have held his love and affection, Shea Ollivander.

It has been three years since Lucian and Shea have seen each other. Lucian believed Shea no longer wanted to be part of his family’s business and dropped out of his old life to make his own way, in his own style; which included dropping out on Lucian, however Lucian tried to stay in touch –

But Shea didn’t call, and that was not so well and good for Lucian. Granted, their lives were busy and very different, but they usually got in touch at Christmas. It was a tradition they’d begun back in college on the West Coast…. Shea, though, always went home for the holidays, and Lucian followed. Back in their familiar stomping grounds, they’d meet in a bar, get drunk, talk about how their lives were going to be different from their parents’, and that was how they’d celebrated. It was far nicer than his estranged father’s empty penthouse or, later, Lucian’s quiet home. The tradition had lasted….December twenty-fifth meant a night of platonic companionship with Shea instead of a lonely night of longing and that meant the world. Shea meant the world, had always been there as long as Lucian could remember…

Then, surprising Lucian, Shea answers his phone call. Lucian manages to get Shea to agree to meet him at a bar, for “tradition” of course - 

Three years. Lucian swallowed bile and wanted to laugh at himself. Corporate climbing, speeches, charity functions, shady deals, meetings to discuss the nastiest parts of the city he claimed as his own and tried to save from his father's network, and a dinner date with a man he had known for a lifetime made Lucian feel sixteen and virginal.

I liked both Hearts Under Fire and Winter’s Knight although, for me, there are some distinct differences. While both books deal with trauma, they are different in delivery. Book #1 had more of an emphasis on two psychologically damaged men who had just met. There was much that came under the banner of PTSD, and a lot more inner dialogue. This time the two protagonists have known each other for a long time, had previously had a strong friendship, but there was more underneath that Lucian tried to deny, and Shea didn’t know. Yes, Lucien has issues with his father’s...methods, and guilt and hurt over the death of a former lover. Shea, too, has some deep seated issues of pain, he is not the same geeky, thin guy Lucian knew before. It all ties nicely into the story, but I don’t want to say anymore as the story should be read and enjoyed.

This book was more character to character dialogue, action, and, at times, ensemble driven. It was a bit more humorous –

“Shall I go fetch Chance from the world's longest piss, sir?" Clark asked, fingers entwined with Daniel's on the tabletop. “I heard that," Chance bellowed before entering the room. "Fucking impatient bitches."

… and sexier too, in my opinion. I loved the way Lucian and Shea spoke to one another; it just pressed my hot buttons. ”Prince Luke,” “sweet Shea”, “mine,” “yours.” "Oh....God. Luke. My Prince Luke" included. They also took a leaf out of old-world-speak from time to time, and I liked that, a lot!  It took them awhile to get together. Lucian started "dating" Shea first, as they got reacquainted; and Lucian had to take a softly, softly approach, but it was definitely worth it.

I liked that it was obvious who was in control in the bedroom and driving the relationship. I do like a strong hand, and Lucian was definitely in control, mmm, mmm –

You will tell me when it feels good. You will tell me what you want. You moan for me. You get hard for me. And you will come only for me."

"May I be as vocal as I wish?"

 "There are few things that please me more than responsiveness, sweet Shea. I want every sound, every breath, everything you can give me."

There was more BDSM in this book but it’s BDSM light, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. They also have some vanilla moments too, which I like. In the real world people can/do tend to mix it up. Something I also liked - the time of year, the significance of it to Lucian, and Shea and Lucian, combined with Lucian's Princely demeanor, and the relationship both protagonists had, tied into the title, Winter's Knight, perfectly.

I have read both book 1, Hearts Under Fire, and 2, Winter's Knight, and I now sit here waiting patiently for more in The New Amsterdam series as it’s become a must read for me. While both books can be read as standalones I recommend reading both as they are very good reading.

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