Series: Ward Security Series #6
Author: Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott
Publisher: Drake & Elliott Publishing LLC
Release Date: May 21, 2021
Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex
Purchase at Amazon
Cole loves the city. He loves the noise, chaos, and having tacos delivered at 2 a.m.
He loves his job at Ward Security. He might look like a bodyguard, but there’s nothing better than being counted as one of the hacking tech triplets.
There is no way he will ever love horses, cows, and the great wide open of Texas.
At least, that’s what he thinks until JB Alexander rides into his life.
He can’t deny the burning attraction of JB’s easy smile and weird sense of humor.
And while they’re dodging gun shots, crazy neighbors, meddling family, and secret plots, Cole might be forced to admit that he’s found an even greater love.
Wicked Outlaw is the sixth full-length novel in the Ward Security series and is jam packed with crazy neighbors, wild gun shots, a horse named Dopey, llamas, code names, a bisexual awakening, and new beginnings.
He was about to put on his headphones for some music when Rowe’s red head popped around the doorway. “Cole, I need you in my office.”
Cole set the headphones down and stood. He followed his boss and settled in one of the chairs in front of the desk.
Surprisingly, Rowe’s area was one of the hot spots for the entire building. His large office with the big, comfortable black leather couch tended to become a random crossroads or meeting place. All throughout the day, people popped in and out to ask Rowe questions, bring him updates, or share a joke. And Rowe welcomed every last one of them, regardless of what they did at the company.
They had meetings there often and the cool, blue paint on the walls gave the room a comforting feel. Cole might feel more at home in the tech room, but this was his second-favorite spot at Ward Security. Rowe always greeted him with a smile or a teasing comment like they were old friends.
“How’s the hand?” Rowe asked with a wicked smirk. He dropped behind his desk and relaxed in his large leather desk chair. “You cleaned that man’s clock pretty good.”
“Sore, but fine,” he replied, once again flexing his hand in his lap. “He still in police custody?”
Rowe shook his head. “No, bastard got out. They couldn’t hold him for threats. Which brings me to the problem I brought up last night. Derrick Briggs is a piece of work, with dirty hands in several deep pots, one of which is the local mob.”
Cole’s heart skipped a beat. The mob. Shit. No wonder Gidget had been so hesitant to talk about it. This was definitely worse than he’d imagined. “You think he’s going to come after me?”
“I do. I’d like to put Sven on you for the time being—”
“No,” Cole interrupted. “I don’t need a bodyguard. Look at me.” He tapped both hands on his broad chest. “I’m nearly as big as Sven. I can take care of myself.”
Rowe shook his head, not looking convinced in the least. “Not against a bullet.” He paused and added with a wry grin, “And nobody is as big as Sven.”
“A bodyguard isn’t going to help with a bullet, either.”
“Sven also has years of training. He knows what to look for, and he knows exactly how to handle an armed assailant or assailants.”
Cole glared at his boss for a moment. He didn’t think he’d ever utter these words. Never truly thought about it, but he was feeling cornered. Maybe it was time, considering the line of work he was in. “Then train me.”
Rowe leaned back in his chair, eyeing Cole closely. Cole held his breath. He loved his job behind the computer, working at Ward Security. He’d never had any interest in doing what the bodyguards did.
At last, Rowe shook his head. “Like I said, years of training. We don’t have that kind of time. But I am going to remember this moment.” He pointed at Cole, his smirk returning for a heartbeat. “However, I came up with a different idea. You, laying low for a while. Out of town.”
Cole’s eyes flared open wide. “What? No, that’s not a good idea, either.”
“It’s an excellent idea, and it’s not a suggestion. I’ve already called a friend, JB Alexander, and set everything up.”
Cole vaguely remembered meeting JB a couple of years ago. Thin guy, about six feet tall with blond hair. “Wait, isn’t he from Texas?”
Rowe nodded, the corner of his mouth turning up in a half grin. “On a ranch outside of Austin. It’s the perfect place for you to hole up while I work on getting Derrick Briggs behind bars.”
“You’re saying you want me to go to Texas.” Cole scrubbed a hand over his face, trying to get his brain to process the insanity Rowe was force-feeding him. “Isn’t this a bit of overkill?”
“I don’t think it is.” Rowe leaned forward, placing his forearms on the top of his desk. “Last night wasn’t Briggs’s first encounter with the cops. He’s managed to sneak out of assault charges and more in the past. There are rumors a few guys have disappeared because of him.”
Cole could feel the blood drain from his face to pool nauseatingly in his stomach. A kind of cold clamminess clung to his skin. This was getting worse by the second.
“Not only did you come between him and what he sees as his property, but you made him look like a chump in a very public, very high-brow place. He’s gonna want you dead in the worst way.”
“I see what you mean,” Cole replied in a low, rough voice.
“Good. Then it leaves me with two choices. One is that I put Sven on you and possibly another guy, twenty-four seven. At least until we know this guy won’t come after you.”
But that meant putting friends and coworkers directly in the line of fire to protect his ass. No, that wasn’t an option.
“I still won’t go for that.”
Rowe held up both his empty hands in front of him as if to say Cole was taking the decision out of his hands.
4 of 5 Stars
This is a good addition to the series…this felt a little different from the previous books though. Cole had a possible threat to his life and JB had some weirdness on the ranch, but this felt more like romance than suspense with romance thrown in. It isn’t until the 80%-ish mark that we get the normal Ward Security Ops scene we all have come to love and expect in these stories. The security team ops scene is as good as the other books which I loved. The drama with the ranch is a bit predictable and underwhelming.
Cole discovers his sexuality isn’t exactly what he thought. He also finds he doesn’t mind being in the country as much as he thought. JB is looking for more than a casual affair and he falls hard and fast for Cole, who isn’t staying permanently. Fortunately, they don’t have a communication problem so there isn’t any unnecessary angst or lack of communication. Their relationship is a bit “instalove-y” but strangely, it felt organic in the development.
The ending was a bit abrupt…the obvious bad guy was clearly only harassing them for the obvious reason. This almost felt a little incomplete with a couple of things not fully resolved. Maybe they’ll get a novella or will appear again in a future book?
There are a couple of folks in the book who need their own story, so I’m interested to see if they get one in the future.
Meet the Authors
Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott have teamed up to combine their evil genius to create intense gay romantic suspense stories that have car chases, shoot outs, explosions, scorching hot love scenes, and tender, tear-jerking moments. Their first joint books are in the Unbreakable Bonds series.